Eastern European gymnasts have produced some of the greatest gymnasts in the world. Regarding female gymnastics, no one comes close to Larisa Latynina of Ukraine; she was an Olympic all-around winner in 1956, 1960, and 1966 and a two-time world champion in the discipline (1958 and 1962). Another gymnast has never obtained this distinction. Vára áslavská of Czechoslovakia was Latynina’s main adversary and eventually became the Minister of Sport of the Czech Republic. Three times did áslavská win the all-around title: twice at the Olympics (1964, 1968) and once at the World Championships (1968). (1966).
In the 1970s, the sport of women’s gymnastics saw a huge shift as younger and younger girls began participating in competitions. Olga Korbut of Russia and Nadia Comăneci of Romania were teenagers when they won Olympic gold medals in gymnastics. The Korbut-Comăneci phenomenon was directly responsible for the emergence of many teenage girls in international gymnastics competitions from the late 1970s to the early 21st century. Many of these younger gymnasts had not yet achieved menarche. They employed doping tactics to delay the onset of physical maturity and the subsequent changes to a gymnast’s center of gravity and weight. Coaching these kids was challenging because many had been lured away from or compelled to practice in strange places by their families. The age limit for Olympic gymnastics participants was increased to 16 in 2000 to alleviate some of these issues.
It was Viktor Chukarin and Kato Sawao of the Soviet Union who was the most successful gymnasts in men’s gymnastics, each winning two Olympic all-around titles (Chukarin in 1952 and 1956, Sawao in 1968 and 1972).
Gymnastics in the Olympic Games is divided into artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline divisions. Athletes compete in six artistic gymnastics events for men: floor exercise; pommel horse; rings; vault; parallel bars; horizontal bar; and all-around (which aggregates all six events’ results). The men’s combined exercises comprise both individual and team competitions. Floor exercises, vault, uneven bars, balancing beam, and team and solo exercises are artistic events for women.
When an invitational competition in Budapest, Hungary, in 1963 introduced rhythmic group gymnastics as a distinct discipline, it was originally a requirement in the women’s artistic program. Beginning in 1964, the Fédération Internationale Gymnastique (FIG) set aside even-numbered years for a world gymnastics championship. Rhythmic gymnastics, formerly known as modern rhythmic gymnastics and then rhythmic sports gymnastics, was first introduced to the Olympic stage in 1984. This type of gymnastics is only for females. Rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon are some hand apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics. Individual and team medals are awarded for several competitions in the Olympics and the World Championships.