About Our Sport…
WANT to see and experience something truly spectacular? Then acrobatic gymnastics could be for you!
Once more commonly known as sports acrobatics, ‘acro’ gymnastics became officially recognised by the International Gymnastics Federation in 1998. Yet its principles were practised way back in ancient Egyptian times!
As a sport, acrobatic gymnastics, which derives from the Greek word ‘acrobateo – to rise or go forth’ – has been around for decades rather than centuries, as the former Soviet Union officially accepted it in 1939, leading to a string of nations, including China, Poland, Germany and Bulgaria, following suit.
The first international tournament was held in Warsaw in the autumn of 1957, although it wasn’t until 21 years had passed that the maiden European Championships were staged in Riga, Latvia.
Five years prior to that, in 1973, the International Federation of Sports Acrobatics (IFSA) was formed following a successful meeting of ten countries gathered in Moscow to thrash out the proposal.
Such was the speed of its success under the auspices of the IFSA that the fast-flourishing sport grew to involve 54 nations by the time it was gathered under the wing of the FIG, the world gymnastics governing body, in 1998.
So what precisely is acrobatic gymnastics? For starters it truly tests the aspiring gymnast and presents those who might have started out as ‘artistic’ athletes quite different challenges.
Elements of balance, strength, tumbling, vaulting and rebound come into play, on the floor and in the air rather than on the beams and bars you associate with the artistic version.
The appreciable difference lies, however, in team-work – acrobatic gymnastics is all about operating in pairs and groups, leading to spectacular and breathtaking action for spectators to delight in, as those who follow King Edmund GC at home and overseas will testify.
The sport, open to males and females, was awarded Olympic recognition as long ago as 1984 by the International Olympic Committee, and while that has yet to come to fruition, competitors can and do partake in the World Games, a similar spectacle involving a variety of sports held every four years and fully recognised by the IOC.
King Edmund GC know all about the World Games, having celebrated bronze medal success in Taiwan in 2009 thanks to the efforts of Maiken Thorne and Mollie Grehan.
In short, acrobatic gymnastics, often accompanied by music, is about choreography, courage, strength and stamina, which demands flexibility, co-ordination and skill.
When it comes to balance there are few more spectacular sights in sport than pyramid displays which, it goes without saying, entail the highest risks.
The principles of acrobatic gymnastics were catapulted into the homes of millions of people in 2010 when a top 13-strong gymnastics team based in Ashford, Surrey, called Spelbound, shot to fame by winning TV’s Britain’s Got Talent, after performing captivating, death-defying routines, to the astonishment of judge Simon Cowell who confessed to having “never seen anything like it in my life”.
The successful Spelbound troupe comprised Douglas Fordyce, a former world champion with . . . our very own King Edmund Gym Club!