Women’s gymnastics is a big deal, despite only being made up of four events. Here, Everest Gymnastics’ coaches open up about these exciting exercises.
Q: What are the four events in women’s artistic gymnastics?
Everest Gymnastics: In any women’s gymnastics competition, you will find floor exercises, the balance beam, vault, and uneven bars.
Q: What do judges look for on the vault?
Everest Gymnastics: While each judge may place greater emphasis on different aspects of these events, they are mostly looking for proper alignment and form. Judges also pay careful attention to the distance traveled and the height at which the athlete peaks. They will further rate an athlete on the number of saltos and twists she performs.
Q: How often must a gymnast perform on the vault in a gymnastics competition?
Everest Gymnastics: Typically, only once. However, a gymnast that desires qualification as an event finalist will have to perform a second time with a different vault skill. This is only at the elite level, and Junior Olympic athletes perform two vaults, with the highest score being used.
Q: Do you consider the vault a difficult event?
Everest Gymnastics: It can be, yes. The vault takes place very quickly. It requires an extreme level of concentration combined with speed, power, and the ability to quickly evaluate surroundings.
Q: What does it take to excel on the uneven bars?
Everest Gymnastics: Upper body strength is an absolute must as is the ability to make split-second decisions.
Q: What is the most dangerous aspect of the uneven bars?
Everest Gymnastics: Honestly, the most dangerous part of any event is fear. Beginning gymnasts are often afraid of the bars, and for good reason. It requires that an entire routine move fluidly, and there is no room for mistakes. As a gymnast learns to overcome her fears, she is better able to swing higher and engage in more impressive routines. As her confidence grows, so will her skills and ability to keep herself safe.
Q: How tall are the bars?
Everest Gymnastics: At the elite level, the low bar is 5.4 feet, the high bar is 8 feet, and there is a 6-foot distance between the two. Height and distance can vary at the Junior Olympic level.
Q: Is the balance beam difficult?
Everest Gymnastics: Many gymnasts believe that the balance beam is the most difficult event in any competition. This is because there is only four inches of support under the athlete. Although the beam event lasts 90 seconds or less for each participant, it is often the most intense minute and a half of the day.
Q: The floor exercise has been called the most personal of all events. Why is that?
Everest Gymnastics: A routine on the floor is an opportunity for the individual gymnast to let their personality shine through. Unlike other events where the crowd tends to remain silent, a burst of applause is often the fuel a gymnast needs to explode on the floor.
Q: Out of these events, which is the most demanding?
Everest Gymnastics: They are all strenuous in their own right. Some gymnasts exert more energy on the uneven bars while others direct the majority of their skills and willpower to the vault. That is a question that only each gymnast can answer for his or herself.