Yes, gymnastics is a sport


Sophie Ludwig

Gymnastics has always been in debate over whether or not it is a sport but not only is a sport, it is a hard one.

 The history of gymnastics can be traced back as far as the very early days of athletic competition by the Greeks. Soon after, the Romans adapted it for the training of their armies, and then Germany invented and introduced the equipment that would become the face of modern gymnastics that you would recognize today. But for some reason, there has been some debate about whether or not gymnastics is a sport.  You know who I’m talking about––I’m talking about all you naysayers. To answer the question: 

The short answer is yes.

Gymnastics is a sport. 

Long answer to follow. 

The fact that people try to debate whether or not it is a sport is absurd to me. During the Summer Olympics, gymnastics was the top sport watched all around the world. The number of people that watch gymnastics trampled over every other sport that was performed during the Olympic Games. No question should ever be asked then if gymnastics is indeed a sport. 

Gymnastics is not only a sport, but it is a very hard sport.  Could you do it? Gymnastics requires flexibility, core strength, balance, upper and lower body strength, power and mental focus, and discipline.  It also requires an unbelievable amount of dedication. If you’re an Olympic-bound gymnast, you’re training eight hours a day, and up to 48 to 50 plus hours a week.  Show me another sport where you practice that much. Any sport ––I’m waiting.  

In the sport of gymnastics, you’re actually forcing your body to do the impossible. How many of us can twist and turn our bodies to do what they do–– the answer–– not many.  If you bring up diving and snowboarding––yes, they are two sports where you also flip your body in a similar fashion, and they are considered sports. So in that same vein, that makes gymnastics a sport. And for the record, gymnastics is far more difficult and far more dangerous.  Far more. Your body is repetitively getting pounded on. You are forced to toughen up both mentally and physically and keep going. 

Your body is repetitively getting pounded on. You are forced to toughen up both mentally and physically and keep going.”

— Sophie Ludwig

Gymnastics requires a tremendous amount of strength. Without the non-stop training your body would never be equipped to make the skills needed to compete. Add on top of the skill training, hours and hours of conditioning are needed to strengthen each muscle. Conditioning involves getting in as many repetitions as you can to ensure your body will be capable of performing. 

But, it doesn’t just require physical strength,  it requires an overwhelming amount of mental strength. An internal wall must be built so that any problem that comes your way will never break you down. It doesn’t matter if your coach is screaming at you to throw the skill or if you did something wrong, nothing will bring you down. Fear can never be in the equation or you will never throw the skill.  Fear actually has its own terminology in gymnastics–– it’s called balking. If you balk during a skill, you run the risk of severely injuring yourself. I don’t think basketball or football has that many fear factors and those are considered a sport than for sure gymnastics is by far a sport. You tell me ––would you rather run a football up a field or throw an Arabian double front? 

On top of the strength that is required in gymnastics, it calls for an extraordinary amount of balance and flexibility. You are flinging your body on top of a four-inch beam, and are required to stay on that beam after flipping your body. Without practiced balance, you will fall right off the beam, which affects your score negatively in the scheme of things. 

And we can’t forget about being flexible.  You need to be very flexible in order to execute– ripping your joints open in order to hit that 180-degree split jump (which takes place in numerous skills such as the backhand spring). I don’t see any baseball players breaking their legs in the process of their sport. I’m just saying. . . .

As for most sports, it only requires one event (just the sport itself). But, in gymnastics, you do a variety of events: four different events for women, and six different events for men. You need to be able to perform well on all four events to score well and win.  And scoring is based on how well you perform your routine. Gymnastics is the only sport that is scored on the negative–– meaning your score reflects what you did wrong, not what you did right. Each athlete starts with a 10.0, and every skill they make a mistake on, points are subtracted. It is nearly impossible to get a perfect score but still is a small possibility. Olympic scoring is slightly different and way too complicated to explain, but in the gist of things, it is also based on how difficult your skills are, and on your execution. 

Gymnastics is very demanding for the body and mind. No way with all the effort and practice that goes into it that it can not be considered a sport––it HAS to be considered a sport.  So in conclusion, yes, gymnastics is a sport, and sure is a hard one. I’ll be out on the floor warming up––see you there.