The Events: There is a compulsory and a voluntary routine performed in Olympic competition. Each consists of ten skills, and is done on the same type of trampoline. Double mini (gymnasts use a smaller, two-level trampoline) and synchronized (two athletes perform at the same time on different trampolines) are competitive events in the US, but not in the Olympics.
Competition: There is an individual event for women and for men. There is a qualifying event to reach the medal round, but the scores do not carry over.
Watch It: 2004 men’s Olympic champion Yuri Nikitin
TumblingPower tumbling is performed on a spring runway much bouncier than the floor exercise mat used in artistic gymnastics. Because of its spring, athletes are able to perform very complicated flips and twists in succession.
The Events: All tumbling is done on the same strip. The gymnast performs two passes in each stage of competition, with eight elements in each pass.
Competition: Tumbling is not an Olympic event, but is part of the Junior Olympic program in the United States and is competed internationally as well.
Watch It: Power tumbling at Canadian nationals
Acrobatic GymnasticsIn acrobatic gymnastics, the athletes are the equipment. A 2-4 gymnast team performs all types of handstands, holds and balances on each other, while members of the team throw and catch their teammates.
The Events: Acrobatics is always performed on the same floor exercise mat. The events competed are men’s pairs, women’s pairs, mixed pairs, women’s groups (three gymnasts) and men’s groups (four gymnasts).
Competition: Acrobatic gymnastics is not an Olympic event, but is also part of the US Junior Olympic program and is competed internationally.
Watch It: A montage of acro gymnastics
Group GymnasticsGroup gymnastics in the United States is usually performed competitively under the name TeamGym. In TeamGym, athletes compete together in a group of 6-16 gymnasts. The group may be all-female, all-male or mixed.
The Events: In the US, participants in TeamGym compete in the Group Jump Event (performances in tumbling, vaulting and mini-trampoline) and the Group Floor Exercise.
Competition: TeamGym is not an Olympic event, but is competed in the United States and abroad in invitational meets, as well as local, regional and national competitions. There are also international group gymnastics events such as the World Gymnaestrada.
Watch It: The Hawth gymnastics team
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