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You are in: Sports > Gymnastics > Information

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is said to date back to ancient Greece and there is evidence to suggest the Chinese may have also practised the sport in the 2nd century BC. It was a prominent feature of the ancient Olympics from 776 BC but gradually fell out of fashion in favour of more bloodthirsty gladiatorial events once the Romans arrived on the scene.

It returned to prominence in Germany in the 19th century and was introduced to Britain by Frederick Ludwig Khan, a German whose compatriots set up the UK's first gym club in London in 1860 and the first gymnasium five years later.


The British Amateur Gymnastics Association, now known as British Gymnastics, was formed in 1888, seven years after the establishment of the International Gymnastics Federation.

And over the next 20 years, several gym clubs were set up throughout the country as the sport's popularity mushroomed. The first national championships were held at Northampton in 1896 and the first triangular match involving England, Scotland and Ireland was staged in Dublin in 1899.

In 1913, a membership scheme for BAGA was introduced with clubs asked to pay the princely sum of one penny per gymnast per year for the 6,250 members. Nowadays membership of BAGA in the UK is over 100,000.

Gymnastics has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Games were held as a men's event in Athens in 1896 and for women at Amsterdam in 1928. And it really took off on the international stage with the emergence of superstars like Russia's Olga Korbut in the early Seventies. Korbut, Nadia Comaneci, Nelli Kim and others gave the sport a massive profile worldwide and it remains one of the most popular events at all major Games.

Gymnastics first appeared at the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton in 1974 and has featured in the last three Games at Auckland, Victoria and Kuala Lumpur. And competition is bound to be intense when the action starts at Manchester's G-MEX Centre. So count yourself in!

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British Gymnastics

*Gymnastics Schedule
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*History
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