When gymnastics began in ancient Greece more than 2000 years ago, the gymnasium was the centre of cultural activity. Men gathered there not only to practise sport, but to understand art, music and philosophy. The Greeks believed symmetry between the mind and body was possible only when physical exercise was coupled with intellectual activity.
Today, gymnastics is often termed the ultimate combination of sport and art, but the idea is nothing new.
Plato, Aristotle and Homer heartily advocated the strengthening qualities of gymnastic activity. It is a philosophy that can be found in much of their work.
The term "artistic gymnastics" emerged in the early 1800s to distinguish free-flowing styles from the techniques used by the military.
Although viewed as a novelty by many, gymnastics competitions began to flourish in schools, athletic clubs and various organisations across Europe in the 1880s. When the Olympic movement was resurrected at Athens in 1896, gymnastics made a fitting return.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is one kind of gymnastics.