Gymnastics Events for Men
Men compete on six gymnastics events. The Olympic order is floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal high bar. Strength, power, flexibility, rhythm, and the ability to stick each skill and all dismounts are vitally important on each of the gymnastics events.
Floor Exercise. The floor is approximately 40’X40' for this event. It consists of tumbling passes performed forward, backward, sideward and backward take-off with one-half turn. Acrobatic elements and a non-acrobatic element such as a balance skill on one leg or one arm, a static strength move held for two seconds, jumps and circles or flairs are executed during the routine. The routine must not exceed 70 seconds. Transitional skills or gymnastics movements performed in between the tumbling and acrobatic passes are performed with proper rhythm and harmony. Tumbling skills on this gymnastics event keep getting more difficult. Men today are performing creative routines with tumbling skills that only a few years ago were performed only on trampoline. Multiple twisting and flipping make floor dynamic and exciting to watch.
Pommel horse is probably the most difficult of the men’s gymnastics events. The routines on this gymnastics event consist of continuous circular movements interrupted only by required scissors elements. The hands are the only part of the body that should touch the apparatus. Gymnasts often swing through a handstand position with or without turns. Executing skills with a circular movement in a horizontal plane with quick, quiet and rhythmic hands and making it flow with steady, controlled rhythm make this gymnastics event difficult. Also, the gymnast bares weight on only one arm because the free hand is constantly reaching for another pommel or part of the horse to begin the next skill. This gymnastics event is the only one in which gymnasts may not stop or pause during the routine.
Still rings require proper body position and strength. This gymnastics event requires the gymnast to arrive at all holds with absolute precision keeping the rings still and under control. The gymnast must have a hollow body and the arms remain sturdy and strong with no shaking. A good routine will have a swing to handstand, swings to strength holds and a static strength element held for two seconds. This gymnastics event requires plenty of upper body strength.
Vault is a quick and explosive gymnastics event. It requires speed and power to attain the acceleration needed for height and distance of travel that impresses the judges. Spatial awareness is essential so the gymnast is prepared for the landing at the right time. Men have a choice of performing one or two vaults and each vault has a starting value based on the difficulty. This event is difficult because it is so quick and requires an intense focus of the gymnast.
Parallel bars consists mostly of swing and flight elements. This gymnastics event requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination, timing and balance. Some of the more difficult skills cause the gymnast to lose sight of the bars for a split second making it difficult to re-grasp the bars. On this gymnastics event the gymnast must not stop or hold a move more than three times during the routine.
Horizontal (High) bar is usually the most spectacular of all the men’s gymnastics events because of the swinging, release moves and high-flying dismounts with twisting and flipping. The gymnast executes a series of swings and turns while releasing and re-grasping the bar in different grips. Release moves are performed 12-15 feet over the bar making it a thrilling gymnastics event to watch.