British Gymnastics is currently seeing a purple patch with medals for both males and females, with gymnasts such as Beth Tweddle, Louis Smith MBE and Max Whitlock winning numerous medals over recent years.
Rhythmic gymnastics is a female only competition in the Olympics and the athletes can be 16 years old when competing at the highest level.
Rhythmic gymnastics allows the individuals to incorporate one or more of five apparatus, which are:
Rhythmic Gymnastics allows the athletes to express themselves in a variety of ways from the music chosen to perform to, to the choice of equipment made and how to use that chosen equipment in order to achieve their personal best scores from the judges.
Rhythmic gymnastics is performed on the floor, with just the music, one picked apparatus as equipment. When starting out with rhythmic gymnastics, the participant will learn how to move gracefully with a number of the five different apparatus, before later being able to link moves that are more complex together into a floor routine. This is a sport which can be done for competition with age based groups or for the simple enjoyment and fitness benefits.
Most televised gymnastics tends to be focused towards female participants; however, the success of gymnasts such as Louis Smith MBE, Max Whitlock & Kristian Thomas has seen more coverage for the males in the sport (British Gymnastics). Gymnastics has traditionally been seen as not very masculine and has struggled to recruit new participants; however, there are many benefits for males taking up gymnastics. These benefits include increased overall muscle strength, improved agility, improved coordination and teaching the correct body alignment.
Freestyle gymnastics or FreeG as it is known is a sport which combines traditional gymnastics and acrobatic tricks, with kicks and leaps made famous through martial arts and shown to a worldwide audience through festival performers and stunt actors. Developed by British Gymnastics, it takes freestyle specific training indoors and introduces a range of training techniques.
According to the British gymnastics website there are 6 movements which are demonstrated, these are: tornado kick, palm spin, butterfly, Kip-up, L-kick & Wall flip. For those movements to be taught and fully mastered, a qualified coach needs to oversee the training sessions.