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Women’s Artistic Gymnastics

A History Lesson

An A-moo-sing Start
 
Gymnastics can trace its origins back to ancient civilizations in Asia and the Middle East. Although the ancient Olympics performed by the Greeks were exclusively for men, both men and women would attempt to achieve symmetry between their minds and bodies by jumping over charging bulls. The athlete would run toward the bull, grab its horns, and when tossed in the air, would perform aerial movements before landing on the bull’s back and then dismounting onto his or her feet on the other side of the bull. A great deal of courage, grace and maybe even a bit of foolishness was required. Who said exercise was bad for you?
 
Putting the Art in Artistic
The term, artistic gymnastics, was first heard around the early 1800s as a way to distinguish free-flowing gymnastics styles from military training techniques. Artistic gymnastics were first performed at the Olympics in 1896, but women were not allowed to compete. Women finally got their chance to shine during the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, where women’s artistic was a team event. Since the origins of women’s artistic gymnastics, this discipline has become a world recognized sport, and the most popular form of gymnastics.
 
 4 Ways to Shine
Women’s artistic continues to be fascinating and popular among girls of all ages, likely due to the constant  challenge it provides and its ability to develop an  athlete’s coordination, courage and flexibility.

The 4 events in women’s Artistic gymnastics are the  vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
 
Vault:
In this event, a 25 metre run leads to an  explosive jump off a springboard, where the athlete  launches over the vaulting table. While in flight, the  athlete performs multiple twists and rotations before  sticking a solid landing. It takes control, stability,  strength and aerial mastery to execute this high-flying sequence.
 
Uneven Bars:
Two bars means twice the challenge, with the lower bar being 170 cm tall and the higher one being 250 cm with 180 cm between the two. A gymnast needs strength, precision, rhythm and courage to execute twists and somersaults with grip changes, releases and high flights. The wind-up and dismount are among the most breathtaking moments of any routine.
 
Balance Beam:
At 10 cm wide, the balance beam is the most precarious and challenging apparatus for women. But with the challenge, comes incredible acrobatic displays that seem to gracefully defy gravity. With zero room for error, the gymnast performs a series of leaps, turns, steps, waves, flips and balances. A gymnast utilizes the entire length of the beam to show off her grace, strength and balance.
 
Floor Exercise:
Considered to be the most expressive event, the floor is where each athlete’s personality shines. The routine is always accompanied by music, and combines dance movements, acrobatics and tumbling. The whole floor area is used, and the routine often changes to match the music’s mood and speed. These are gymnasts and artists.
 
 

Ortona’s Programs

The Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) program is made up of several levels of developmental and competitive streams. Younger gymnasts begin the WAG program in levels that focus on introductory gymnastics, learning and training to compete, and skill and ability development.
 
Each program is open-ended so that the coach can alter and adapt the program to best suit the needs and abilities of each athlete. The programs are also tailored to match the child’s strengths and weaknesses. This tailoring ensures that each child gets the best training possible and results in a unique experience for each athlete.
 
Athletes in the WAG program advance through these levels which are ordered by age and ability.
 
Ortona Gems- WAG Developmental Program- LTAD 1/LTAD 2/LTAD 3/LTAD 4
This is the first level of the WAG program, and is for 4- and 5-year-old athletes who are beginning their WAG focus.
 
The second level of WAG still focuses on developmental training, and is for girls ages 6 to 8. The athletes build upon basic skills and develop their strength, flexibility, coordination and balance.
 
 
Interested in a Program?
These programs are invitation only. We also host Tryout dates throughout the year, check out our website for upcoming dates. You can also Request an Assessment.

Men’s Artistic Gymnastics

 

A History Lesson

 From Bovine Beginnings
Gymnastics can trace its origins back to ancient civilizations in Asia and the  Middle East. These men and women sought perfect symmetry between the  mind and the body through gymnastics exercises. Around 2,700 B.C. ancient  Greeks would vault over the backs of charging bulls. The athlete would run  toward the bull, grab its horns, and when tossed in the air, would perform  aerial movements before landing on the bull’s back and then dismounting  onto his or her feet on the other side of the bull. A great deal of courage,  grace and maybe even a bit of foolishness was required. Most gymnasts are  probably glad that modern gymnastics is bull-free.
 
 
The Origins of "Artistic"
The term "artistic gymnastics" was first heard around the early 1800’s as a way to distinguish free-flowing gymnastics styles from military training techniques. Gymnastics began to grow in popularity at schools and athletics clubs across Europe. As the oldest form of modern gymnastics, men’s artistic was first introduced to competition when the Olympics were revived at the 1896 Athens Olympics. In 1954, enormous changes to the sport saw the introduction of events like the floor exercise, pommel horse, vault, rings, high bar and parallel bars. These 6 apparatus’ now form what has become one of the most popular sports on the planet.
 

6 Events; 6 Times the Challenge

Think hockey is tough? Try mastering 6 pieces of equipment. Each piece is different, but they all take a combination of coordination, endurance, flexibility, speed and strength. Two words to describe an elite male gymnast: hard work!
 
The 6 events are the floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
 

Floor Exercise:

Athletes perform a series of acrobatics and tumbling sequences across a 12x12 area. A routine can involve somersaults, twists and flips. Each movement demonstrates strength, flexibility and balance. Touches of personal elements lets each gymnast show off his individual strength. The floor may be flat, but the routines sure aren’t.
 

Pommel Horse:

This event is one of hardest pieces of men’s apparatus to master. We’re not horsing around. An athlete performs circular and pendulous swings with straight legs, all while holding himself up right. The athlete will often travel along the horse, to utilize every part of the equipment. This event takes strength, flexibility and balance. Could you do it?
 

Rings:

Held aloft at 2.80 metres, the rings require excellent control, strength, balance and body tension. At that height there is little room for error. The rings are free-moving, making it hard for the athlete to remain still during hold elements. The dismount is the gymnast’s chance to show off his aerial skills. Feeling dizzy?
 

Vault:

In this event, a 25 metre run leads to an explosive jump off a springboard, where the athlete launches over the vaulting table. While in flight, the athlete performs multiple twists and rotations before sticking a solid landing. It takes control, stability, strength and aerial ability to master this high-flying sequence.
  

Parallel Bars:

Loved the swings as a kid? How about swinging on, across and between two bars? These bars stand 2 metres from the floor and give under the athlete’s weight, allowing for a combination of swings, somersaults and twists. The dismount is always an eye-popper. This event takes strength, control and a strong stomach. That much flipping is dizzying stuff.
 

Horizontal Bar:

You know this event is intense if one of the moves is called giant. This single bar stands 2.75 metres from the floor which allows athletes to perform multiple swinging circles, releases and catches, and dismounts that defy the imagination. A gymnast must not touch the bar with his body. You need strength, body control and aerial mastery to swing your way to victory.
 

Ortona’s Programs

The Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) program is a competitive program that is divided into 6 levels. Each level is based on Gymnastics Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework. LTAD ensures the optimal development for gymnasts of all ages, interests and abilities and in all gymnastics disciplines and helps every athlete reach their full potential. 

Aspiring gymnasts enter the program between the ages of 6 and 8. At the lower levels of the program athletes learn the basics of MAG, and as they move forward they are taught the skills needed to compete at each level. The higher the level, the harder the elements and skills.
 
Athletes who excel at an earlier age are able to go into the high performance stream which consists of higher difficulty skills and routines. These athletes can eventually be named to the National team.
 
The MAG competitive program runs all year. Lower level athletes train between 6 to 12 hours a week, while the higher level athletes train between 16 to 24 hours a week.
 
Each of the 6 levels correspond to the LTAD program established by Gymnastics Canada.
 
Level 1: Active Start
Level 1 is an introduction to Men’s Artistic Gymnastics competition and to the basics of using all 6 of the men’s apparatuses: the floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. Athletes are taught basic rolls, develop their strength, agility and balance, and learn proper safety techniques.
 
Level 2: Fun, Fitness, and Fundamental Movement Patterns
At this level, the athletes continue to develop their skills on each of the 6 apparatuses. They develop their physical capabilities including their strength, core strength, flexibility and balance. Basic handstands and swings are also introduced.
 
Level 3: Building the Skills of Gymnastics
Level 3 focuses on further developing strength, balance, coordination and body symmetry and flexibility. The athletes develop balance skills and learn swinging techniques and strength maneuvers.
 
Level 4: Specialization in a Gym Discipline
At this level the athletes will have firmly established all key gymnastics skills. Spatial orientation, speed, flexibility and endurance will continue to be trained. Challenging skills for each apparatus will begin to be developed. Developing routines for competitions is also important at this level.
 
Level 5: Becoming a Consistent Competitor
By now an athlete’s passion will be his driving motivator as he continues to develop the challenging techniques for each apparatus and focuses on building routines for provincial, national and international levels.
 
Level 6: Winning at all Levels
At the final level of the MAG program, athletes can do everything from double to triple saltos, travels up and down the pommel, iron crosses on rings and high flying releases on the high bar. The athletes have learned the skills they need to compete and excel at provincial, national and international levels.

 

Interested in the Program?
These programs are invitation only. We also host Tryout dates throughout the year, check out our website for upcoming dates. You can also Request an Assessment.

Trampoline & Tumbling

High-Flying History

Lift Off
The gymnastic discipline of trampoline comes from the circuses of the 1930s, where stretched out safety nets became makeshift trampolines that allowed performers to fly through the air. George Nissen and Larry Griswold once watched this aerial display which inspired them to build the first trampoline around 1934 at the University of Iowa. They eventually began producing and selling these trampolines. From this the sport of trampoline took off.
 
To Bounce or Not to Bounce
Trampoline, as a sport, began with competitions held at schools in the United States and Europe. These events had no specific rules or criteria. Some routines were incredibly long, and if the performer fell off, he just got right back on jumping and competing his routine.
 
Today, the sport is now a refined discipline, and, since the 1950’s, competitive trampoline events have followed a 10-bounce routine which gives athletes 10 bounces to perform daring aerial tricks. The first World Trampoline Championships were in 1964 in London, and Canada sent its first trampoline team to the Championships in 1972. In 2000, the trampoline became an Olympic event, which goes to show just how incredible the feeling of flight can be. Since then, Canada has won a medal in Women’s Trampoline at every single Olympic Games, including the only gold medal Canada won at the Olympics in London in 2012.
 

From Height to Speed

Head Over Heels
Speed, rhythm, power, and even more speed. Tumbling is a fast-paced and complex display where a gymnast executes a series of acrobatic bounds in succession from hands to feet, feet to hands, or even feet to feet. Tumbling became a World Championship event in the 1880s. Back then, the mat was thinner and made up a 25 metre long track. Tumbling routines involved 8 fluid elements without any change in rhythm. This discipline was only an Olympic event once in 1932, but World Championships are still held annually.
 
Putting the "Power" in Power Tumbling
As time went on, the mats or track used for tumbling became thicker and eventually springs were added, evolving the sport into power tumbling. This evolution now added a new component to a routine: the end skill. Normally the end skill involves an impressive skill such as a double or triple back somersault. The track is now 26 metres long, but the routine still has 8 elements. There is a long list of tumbling moves that an athlete can perform which includes cartwheels, round offs, back handsprings, layouts, tucks, hurdlers, and fulls. Blink and you’ll miss it.
 

T&T

In terms of gymnastics training, trampoline and tumbling are often combined to create a program known as T&T. Athletes in these programs master aerial control, speed and power to perform on both the trampoline, double-mini and the rod floor. The combination of these three apparatus’ offers gymnasts the opportunity to develop their strength, flexibility, power, speed, courage and body control.
 
Individual Trampoline:
A single athlete performs multiple somersaults, twists and turns at a height of up to 8 metres. The trampoline used is 5.05 metres long, 2.91 metres wide, 1.155 metres high and is only 6 millimetres thick. The routines are judged by body position, and the degree of rotation and twists executed. Do you have the aerial skills needed for a daredevil bounce?
 
Power Tumbling:
The tumble track is now 26 metres long, the the routine still has 8 elements. There is a long list of tumbling moves that an athlete can perform which includes cartwheels, round offs, back handsprings, layouts, tucks and fulls. Blink and you’ll miss it.   
 
Synchronized Trampoline:
 Two gymnasts mirror a routine while performing on 2 separate trampolines. Competitors are judged on how well  they stay  synchronized with each other. If either of the competitors performs a different skill, or even the same skill but in a different position, the routine stops and they receive a  score for the portion of the routine that they have performed.
 
 
Double Mini Trampoline:
A gymnast performs 2 skills on a small trampoline before landing on a mat to stick the perfect landing. The best gymnasts can execute double and even triple somersaults with twists added in for a gravity-defying display. During a competition, no skill can be repeated. The trampoline might be mini, but the excitement definitely isn’t.
 
 

Ortona’s Programs

T&T at Ortona, is divided into 3 different sections based on age and skill level. Each program is loosely based on Gymnastics Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework. LTAD ensures the optimal development for gymnasts of all ages, interests and abilities and in all gymnastics disciplines and helps every athlete reach their full potential. There are 8 stages for LTAD, and each Ortona program corresponds to an LTAD stage.
 
 

FAST Program:

Ortona no longer offers developmental programs specifically for T&T; however, interested athletes can enter into a broader program which teaches skills for either WAG and T&T or MAG and T&T. This allows the athlete to develop a wider range of skills in the sport of gymnastics.
 

Competitive T&T Programs:

Our competitive program has grown over the years, and we are proud to offer athletes the opportunity to compete in T&T competitions across Alberta, Canada and worldwide. Our athletes typically train 9 to 15 hours a week and work on developing strength, flexibility, technique and creating routines for the competitive season. The competitive programs run year round.
 
OGC T&T Pre-Competitive Stream- LTAD 4
This program begins to transition athletes away from artistic events such as the floor and vault and instead focuses athletes on specializing in a T&T discipline such as trampoline, double mini trampoline and tumbling. Athletes begin to learn single flips without any twists.
 
OGC T&T Provincial Competitive Stream- LTAD 5
This program begins to train athletes for competitions and invitational levels to sanctioned
events such as Provincials and Westerns. Athletes begin to learn how to incorporate flips into routines and how to introduce twists and turns into flips.
 
OGC T&T National Competitive Stream- LTAD 6
At this level, athletes begin to compete and travel nationally and internationally at competitions like Nationals and Canada Cup. The program is largely devoted to developing routines for these competitions. Athletes begin to learn double and triple flips.
  
Interested in a Program?
These programs are invitation only. We also host Tryout dates throughout the year, check out our website for upcoming dates. You can also Request an Assessment.
 
 

Assessments

Interested in joining one of our Trampoline and Tumbling programs? Come for an assessment! All assessments are FREE. Book a time online that best suits you here under "BOOK A FREE ASSESSMENT". Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing the waivers you’ll need to fill out in order to be assessed.  All athletes will be given a recommendation for the class that best fits them at the end of their assessment. All athletes who are invited into the Competitive Program will be given a two week trial where they can try the program out. After the two week trial, the successful candidate will be given a contract for the year! 

T&T Assessments have been split up into two age groups: 

  • 6-9 years: register here
  • 10+ years: register here