Commonwealth Games Primer: Gymnastics

Seventeen-year-old artistic gymnast Victoria Moors already has a move named after her and will be one of the Canadians to watch in Glasgow.

Canada's Moors has move named after her

Canada's Victoria Moors has a floor-routine move named after her. (Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

Two gymnastics disciplines will be contested in Glasgow — artistic and rhythmic.

Artistic gymnastics, the more popular of the two, is an optional sport for men and women, first included in 1978 in Edmonton. It was left out of the next two Commonwealth Games before returning for good in 1990 in Auckland.

Fourteen artistic events are on tap in Glasgow. For both men and women, there's the team competition, individual all-around, floor and vault competitions. The men also have the pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and horizontal bars. The women do the uneven bars and the balance beam.

Gymnasts that compete in the preliminary competitions on all the apparatuses are eligible to qualify for the all-around event in addition to the individual event finals. Athletes that compete in only some of the apparatuses are eligible only for those event finals.

In rhythmic gymnastics, athletes are scored by a panel of judges on their ability to perform a floor routine while manipulating an apparatus. In Glagow, those will be the ball (20cm in diameter, made of rubber), hoop (80 centimetres in diameter) ribbon (six metres long with a stick at the bottom so the performer can keep it in perpetual motion) and clubs (think of those bowling-pin-like things you see jugglers perform with).

In addition to these individual events, there's a rhythmic team competition in which squads of three gymnasts each perform the four different apparatus routines. The three teams with the highest total scores get the medals, and the result also determines who gets to compete in the individual all-around event.

Rhythmic gymnastics is one of two sports on the Glasgow slate open only to women (netball is the other).

Canadians to watch

Gymnastics is a sport in which Canada has really excelled at the Commonwealth Games. Though Canada won "only" eight gymnastics medals in 2010, the country still ranks second all-time with 115 podium finishes. Australia (is there anything they're not good at?) dominated in Delhi, winning 21 medals to move into the all-time lead with 126.

Artistic gymnast Victoria Moors, 17, earned the best finish ever by a Canadian in the women's all-around competition at the world championships when she finished 10th last year in Belgium. The Cambridge, Ont., native made history in 2013 by becoming the first female gymnast to perform a certain floor-routine element formerly known as a "layout double double" in a world-level competition. The move is now named after her.

Along with Moors, Ellie Black was part of the Canadian team that finished a surprising fifth, its best-ever result, in the team event at the London Olympics. Black, a 19-year-old from Halifax, is a two-time national all-around champ who placed eighth in the floor event and 13th in the all-around at last year's world championships.


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