About Men’s Gymnastics
The international competition order is decided by the FIG. The men’s Olympic order is floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
The entire floor area should be used during the exercise, which consists primarily of tumbling passes performed in different directions. Acrobatic elements forward and backward and acrobatic elements sideward or backward take-off with one-half-turn must be performed during the routine. There must also be a non-acrobatic element included, such as a balance element on one leg or one arm; a static strength move, held for two seconds; or jumps, circles or flairs. Transitional skills, or gymnastics movements performed in between tumbling and acrobatic passes, should be executed with proper rhythm and harmony. The exercise must not exceed 70 seconds in length.
Today’s floor exercise routines consist of dynamic tumbling skills that only a few years ago were performed solely on the trampoline. The best gymnasts will incorporate tumbling passes with substantial difficulty, performing multiple twisting and flipping saltos during their routines on the 40’x40′ floor exercise mat.
Many consider the pommel horse to be one of the most difficult of the men’s gymnastics events. It requires an enormous amount of practice to master even the most basic skills.
Pommel horse routines consist of continuous circular movements interrupted only by the required scissors elements. Swinging through a handstand position, with or without turns, is allowed. The hands are the only part of the body that should touch the apparatus and the entire exercise should flow with steady, controlled rhythm. A maximum of two cross support travels for bonus are permitted (forward and/or backward). The hand placements should be quick, quiet and rhythmic.
Stillness and proper body position while performing strength elements are paramount on the still rings. Gymnasts with the best command of the event will display extraordinary skill in arriving at all holds with absolute precision. The rings should be absolutely still and under control at the end of each skill. The body should be straight with no arching, and arms should be sturdy and strong with no shaking.
The still rings routine must include one swing to handstand and swings to strength hold elements. At least two elements of strength, one swing to strength element and the other a static strength element, must be held for two seconds during the routine.
Examples of strength elements include a cross, an inverted cross and a swallow or Maltese cross. A cross is performed in a straight body or L position with the body perpendicular to the floor and arms stretched perpendicular to the body, while an inverted cross is executed in an inverted handstand position with arms stretched perpendicular to the body. A swallow or Maltese cross is performed when the body is in a straight position parallel to the floor at rings height. The rings must remain still throughout the routine. Deductions are taken for unnecessary swings and instability.
Quick, explosive and dramatic – a good vault is often described as a “big” vault. The height, distance of travel, overall acceleration into the vault and sudden impact of a no-step, “stuck” landing all create a good impression for the judges.
Men have a choice of performing one or two vaults, depending if a gymnast is attempting to qualify into the individual event finals of this event. Each individual vault has been assigned its own value based on the vault’s complexity.
Following the pre-flight from the springboard to the table, the gymnast must demonstrate a rise in the height of his body after pushing off of the table and not deviate from the extended axis of the table. The gymnast should show an opening in preparation for a controlled landing, which should be accomplished without extra steps and in line with the table, springboard and runway.
A parallel bar routine consists mostly of swing and flight elements. The gymnast should not stop or hold a move more than three times during the routine. The gymnast is required to execute swinging elements from a support, hang and upper arm position. The gymnast is also required to perform an under swing, sometimes referred to as a basket swing.
The most difficult skills require the gymnast to lose sight of the bars for a moment, such as a double front or back salto. Difficulty is earned by executing these skills in connection with other higher valued skills.
Horizontal (High) Bar
Usually the most crowd-pleasing and spectacular of all the events, the horizontal bar consists of swings, release moves and high-flying dismounts.
During the routine, the gymnast must execute a series of continuous swings and turns and at least one move in which the gymnast releases and re-grasps the bar. He also must perform at least one element in el-grip, dorsal hang or rearways to the bar.
The gymnast is also required to perform an in-bar skill, such as a stalder circle. High-level gymnasts usually complete multiple release moves and receive bonus points for connecting high-difficulty skills before and after their release moves. Look for soaring dismounts with multiple somersaults and twists.