What Events Make up an Olympic Gymnastics Competition?

The sport of gymnastics has been an integral part of Olympic competition for many years now producing superstars such as Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci to name just two. However, how many of us know what events make up an Olympic gymnastics competition.

Now, these events vary slightly for men and women so we thought we would look at what events make up the men’s competition and the types of apparatus required. The men’s competition consists of six events and the winner is considered the best all-round gymnast at the games. So, what are the events that determine who will get the prestigious gold medal?


The floor exercise allows gymnasts to display their athletic prowess by performing a routine that involves a series of tumbling moves along with balance exercises and handstands. This is performed on a mat measuring 12 metres by 12 metres on a sprung floor. The aim of this routine is to demonstrate flexibility, strength and balance. The men’s routines which last between 60-70 seconds is performed without music and gymnasts are required to touch each corner of the mat at least once.

Pommel Horse

A Pommel Horse is designed to look like a real horse is around 115cm from the floor and 160cm in length and has two handles around where the saddle would be. A pommel horse routine should contain all of the subsequent elements, single-leg swings, scissors, circles, flairs, handstands, body rotations, travels and a dismount. The pommel horse is a test of not only strength but also rhythm and focuses on both single and double leg work. Generally considered one of the most difficult men’s events the pommel horse requires the gymnast to have exceptional technical ability.


The routines that are carried out on the rings require exceptional strength as they must control the movement of the rings and their body throughout the routine. A routine on the rings will always consist of swing, strength and hold elements. There are certain mandatory parts in any routine which include, a swing to a held handstand, a static strength hold and an aerial dismount. Probably the most recognised part of a rings routine is the Iron Cross executed by extending both arms out and effectively turning the body into a cross, a position which must be then held for two minutes.


The piece of apparatus used in the vault routines is very similar to a pommel horse minus the handles on top. To perform their routine a gymnast will approach down a runway and use a springboard to propel themselves onto the vaulting horse and perform several different vaults of varying degrees of difficulty. These vaults can include twists and marks are awarded taking into account the complexity of the vault performed along with style and quality of landing.

Parallel Bars

The parallel bars are the first of two different types of gymnastic bars included in the men’s Olympic competition. They consist of two bars that are adjustable so the height and distance between the bars can be set for the individual gymnast. During their routine, the gymnast must perform long swings in a variety of support positions along with underwings, at no time must the gymnast’s feet touch the floor, and the routine will conclude with a dismount.

High Bar

A single horizontal bar is used for this routine, during which the gymnast must demonstrate many different grips such as overgrips, under grips and dorsal grips. They must also perform bar work such as turns, releases and regrasps and a dismount. A high bar routine will last up to 30 seconds and requires not only strength but also technical expertise.

Hopefully, the information contained here will give you more of an insight into what attributes are required to become an Olympic champion.

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