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A gymnast on the vault at a tournamentA gymnast on the vault at a tournament Gymnastics is a sport made up of various events in which athletes run, jump, tumble, somersault and balance using equipment such as bars, beams, rings and vaults. Its origins are in the military training of the ancient world. Today, three groups of gymnastic events are included in the Olympic Games: artistic, rhythmic and the trampoline.

Minoans bull-leaping, an early form of the vaultMinoans bull-leaping, an early form of the vault


The word "gymnastics" comes from the Greek meaning "exercise naked". Gymnastics events such as running with weights, climbing ropes and jumping hurdles were part of the ancient Greek Olympic Games. For centuries, armies practised similar skills to train soldiers for the battlefield. Gymnastic display of strength and agility gradually became a sport, and it was included in the first modern Olympics of 1896, with women’s events being added in 1928.

The pommel horse event originated in soldiers practising how to get on and off their horses.

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