Know Why Women Gymnasts Compete To Music On Floor

Know Why Women Gymnasts Compete To Music On Floor
Japan's Mai Murakami competes in the artistic gymnastics women's floor exercise final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. (Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP)

Olympic games are a total feast to the eyes. Moreover, lowkey games such as handball, trampoline, canoe slalom, and gymnastics are my favorites to watch. Talking about gymnastics, it debuted since the first modern Games of Athens in 1896. Initially, the game was for only men whereas women’s events debuted only in 1928 in Amsterdam. Male gymnasts compete in six medal events: floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. In the women’s division, there are four medal events. That includes vault, uneven bars, beam, and floor. Men and women also compete for individual and team all-around titles.

The debut date suggests that this game is running in the Olympics for a long time now. However, the interesting fact is people barely notice a key difference between men’s and women’s events. The difference is women will flip, leap, groove, and tumble to recorded music while men compete in complete silence. Keep reading to find out why.

Women gymnasts were expected to emphasize more on grace and feminity.

Hate to say this but preconceived gender roles seem to have played a major role while tailoring the game. Traditionally, females in gymnastics were expected to show grace, feminity, and delicacy in their performances. While men were expected to highlight more on strength in their routines. The notion was asserted by Georgia Cervin, a former international gymnast and author of “Degrees of Difficulty: How Women’s Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell from Grace.”

Know Why Women Gymnasts Compete To Music On Floor
The British Women’s Gymnastics team at the Olympic Stadium during the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. The ‘1940’ figure at the bottom right is an image reference number. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

The fact that women had to not only possess the strength and power necessary to launch their twisting body into the air. But also had to make sure they put in gracefully on the music. Must say that it’s quite a job to hide your strength while tumbling and twisting behind some music. On the other hand, men just had to show brute force. Likewise, for women’s event scoring is also based on both artistic as well as athletic elements.

Current Scenario

Thankfully, we get to see more emphasis on strength and athletism even in women’s events. The University of New Hampshire’s Ayotte said that there’s also a lot less dance and artistry now in elite women’s gymnastics and a lot more power and strength. She also added, “There is still more dance, leaps and jumps in women’s gymnastics that you don’t see with the men, but a lot of the females are doing the minimum in dance and doing a greater amount of higher-level tumbling,”.

Binding any sort of game or activity in the name of preconceived gender roles is absolutely wrong. Music does add some extra element to women’s gymnastics but we would love to see men grooving on that too.

Also Read: Olympics Game: From Olympia To International Sensation