Australia and Olympic Gymnastics
The first Australian Olympic gymnasts competed in Melbourne in 1956. Ji Wallace won Australia’s first medal in gymnastics when he came second in the men’s trampoline in the discipline’s debut at the Sydney Games in 2000. At the London Olympics debutant Blake Gaudry looked on track to match the feats of Wallace, setting an Olympic record in his opening routine. But Gaudry tumbled during his second routine and missed the final.
Australia has never won a medal in artistic or rhythmic gymnastics, with a best placing of fifth by Lauren Mitchell on the floor in London- just 0.067 off a medal. Australia also placed sixth in the women's artistic team event at the Beijing Olympics and seventh at Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000.
Joshua Jefferis became Australia’s greatest male all round gymnast when he finished 19th in London, bettering the result of his idol and mentor Philippe Rizzo who was 30th in Sydney.
Gymnastics appeared in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens 1896. The sport has been on the Olympic program ever since, with women first competing in Amsterdam 1928.
It is one of only five sports to continually feature at the Olympics since Athens 1896. The others are athletics, cycling, fencing and swimming.
Rhythmic gymnastics slowly emerged from the shadow of the long-established artistic discipline to enter the Olympic program in 1984.
Trampoline competitions for both men and women were added as an Olympic gymnastics discipline and made their debut at the 2000 Sydney Games.
There are three disciplines in Olympic gymnastics: Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline. Gymnasts must be 16 to compete in the Olympic Games.
Artistic (men and women)
Men compete across six apparatus: Floor, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and High Bar. Women compete in Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor.
Only 12 men's teams and 12 women's teams qualify for the Games. The maximum number of competitors on a team is five, with four competing on each event and three scores counting. The top eight teams advance to the final.
In addition, individual competitors from other countries may qualify, for a maximum of 98 men and 98 women.
The top 24 all-around gymnasts, maximum two per country, advance to the all-around final.
The top eight gymnasts on each individual apparatus, maximum two per country, advance to the finals. Gymnasts wishing to qualify to the vault final must show two vaults; only one counts toward team and all-around competition.
One panel of judges starts from 0, adding points for requirements, difficulty and connections. A second panel of judges starts from 10.0, and deducts for execution and artistry. The final score is determined by adding the difficulty score and the execution score. A top score is approximately between 14 and 16 points. Different from the past were a 10 was the perfect score.
Rhythmic (women only)
There are two gold medals contested under rhythmic gymnastics: individual all-around and the group competition.
In the individual all-around, 24 gymnasts compete using hand held apparatus – rope, hoop, ball, ribbon and clubs. Only four apparatus are contested at the Olympics and in London 2012 the apparatus contested will be ribbon, rope, clubs and ball.
There are two rounds of competition: the qualification and the final. The qualification round is held over two days, with gymnasts performing two apparatus per day. Scores from each routine are added and the top 10 advance to the final. Scores do not carry over. The order of gymnasts for the final is determined by a random draw. All finalists perform routines with each of the four apparatus, and whoever has the highest total score wins the gold medal.
The group competition consists of 12 groups that perform two routines, the first with five balls and the second with three ribbons and two hoops. The teams are ranked based on total points. The eight highest-ranked groups qualify for the final. Scores do not carry over. In the final, each group again performs with both sets of apparatus to achieve a total score (maximum of 60.0 points). The highest-scoring group in the final wins gold.
Trampoline (men and women)
The competition consists of a qualification and a final for men and women. A maximum of 32 competitors can qualify for trampoline at the Games - 16 men, 16 women. Countries are allowed a maximum of two athletes in each event.
All athletes present a compulsory routine (with 10 skills) and a voluntary routine (with 10 different skills without limitation) during qualification. The scores from the two routines are combined for an overall score.
The top eight competitors qualify for the final and perform only one voluntary routine of 10 different skills without limitations. The scores from the qualifiers do not carry over to the final.
Athletes are scored on difficulty and execution. For the compulsory routine, only two elements' difficulty values count toward the difficulty score. For voluntary routines, all 10 elements are counted.