One of the most popular and oldest sports of the Olympics, Gymnastics has been a part of 'the games' since ancient times. The sport traces its origins to Greece where athletes received physical training in a special arena, in addition to many other disciplines including the arts, philosophy and literature. 'Gymnos,' the Greek word for naked, is the origin for the word gymnastics. Competition events fall into one of three categories, Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline.
Artistic events are performed on an apparatus. Men compete in floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bars. Female gymnasts compete on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor. The competition includes individual all-around events and team events, also scored over each apparatus. Romania's Nadia Comeneci received a perfect 10 score at the 1976 Montreal Games. This being the first perfect score ever awarded, it is still remembered as the sport's epitome of achievement for most fans.
Rhythmic gymnastics, also referred to as 'modern gymnastics,' is strictly a women's sport. The gymnasts, perform on a 13-meter-square floor area to the accompaniment of music. This performance includes the use of rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.
The use of a trampoline can be dated back to the 1800s.Trampoline competitions recently debuted at the 2000 Sydney Games featuring both men's and women's individual events.