Gymnastics has always been one of the more intriguing sporting events to watch at the Olympics every four years. Gymnastics was introduced in the inaugural edition of the Olympics in 1896. Initially, only male gymnastics competitions took place at the quadrennial event until women's gymnastics was included at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
Gymnastics was not the most popular sport a hundred years ago. The sport began to gain popularity in the 1940s. From 1956 onwards, gymnastics rose to prominence when several historic and exceptional achievements were recorded at the Olympics.
Women's gymnastics officially became part of the Olympics in 1928. Since then, it has become one of the most popular sports for women. Women gymnasts have been known to set the standard higher than the men's division at the Olympics for over four decades now.
Many legendary women gymnasts have starred at the Olympics. The likes of Nadia Comaneci, Larisa Latynina, Agnes Keleti, Olga Korbut and Ecaterina Szabo, to name a few, have left behind a legacy with some of their unforgettable moments and achievements at the Olympics.
On that note, let's take a look at the top 5 historic moments in the women's gymnastics discipline at the Olympics.
#1 Nadia Comaneci's Perfect 10
Nadia Comaneci is regarded as one of the best women's gymnasts and has been credited for popularizing the sport. She made her Olympic debut at the age of 14.
At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, a young girl from Romania achieved what no other female gymnasts had achieved before, getting a perfect 10. Nadia Comaneci earned her first perfect 10 on the uneven bars, but the scoreboard couldn't display the perfect score as it was only designed to show a three-digit score and not all four digits.
Nadia Comaneci subsequently earned six more perfect 10s, thrice each on uneven bars and balance beam, and bagged three gold medals and a silver at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
#2 The Famous Flip by Olga Korbut
Olga Korbut from the Soviet Union was one of the most popular athletes who stole the limelight at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The then 17-year-old awed spectators with daring stunts which no one prior to her had even thought of.
Olga Korbut's acrobatics and open high level gymnastics at the 1972 Summer Olympics got her international recognition. She was the first gymnast in Olympic history to execute a back flip to catch uneven bars and do a backward somersault on the beam. The former move by Olga is now famously known as 'Korbut Flip'
Olga Korbut clinched three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Korbut Flip is still popular in gymnastics. The only gymnast to perform a black flip in uneven bars after Olga Korbut was 2003 world champion Fan Ye of China
Also Read: Top 5 Olympic moments of Aly Raisman
#3 Gabby Douglas first African-American to win All-Round Gold.
Gabby Douglas made headlines at the 2012 London Olympics by becoming the first African-American to win the gold medal in the All-Round gymnastics event. The American gymnast was only 16 years old when she achieved this historic feat.
Gabby Douglas' team of Jordyn Weibar, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Mackyla Maroney were dubbed the 'Fierce Five' and 'Final Five' by the media after winning the gold medal in the women's artistic team all-round event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Their achievement was huge since they were the first team to do so since the US gymnastics team in 1996.
With these wins, Gabby Douglas created history by becoming the first American gymnast to win Olympic titles in team and individual All-Round competitions.
#4 Kerri Strug Landing with a Broken Ankle
America's Kerri Strug stole the limelight for her bravery at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Then 18-year-old tore two ligaments after clumsily landing on her ankle during her first vault. But US Gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi pushed her to go for the second vault rather than giving up.
Upon the insistence of her coach, Kerri Strug went for her second vault, stuck the landing and hopped on with one leg before the huge crowd. For this, she received a big round of applause from the spectators who had witnessed her determination and bravery.
At the 1996 Summer Olympics, Kerri Strug bagged a gold medal in the All-Round Team event.
#5 Simone Biles the new Superstar of Women Gymnastics
Simone Biles has emerged as the most successful Olympic gymnast at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 19-year-old entered as a favorite to win gold medals as she already had 10 world championships titles under her belt by then.
At the Rio Olympics, Simone Biles put on an exceptional performance, making her one of the top female gymnasts in the world. She clinched four gold medals in Team, All-Round, Vault, and Floor Exercise and thus became the fifth female gymnast to do so after Larisa Latynina, Agnes Keleti (1956), Vera Caslavska (1968) and Ecaterina Szabo (1984) at the single Olympics.
With four Olympic and 26 world titles to her name, Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast. She is one of the star athletes to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
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