About Gymnastics for All
Gymnastics for All is both a discipline and a concept. Its all-inclusive philosophy – “Fun, Fitness, Fundamentals and Friendship” -- was close to the heart of FIG founder Nicolas Cuperus. Today it underpins the many events and activities that fall under the umbrella of Gymnastics for All, beginning with the World Gymnaestrada, the FIG’s quadrennial Gymnastics for All festival.
Recreational vs. Competitive Gymnastics
The Belgian Cuperus, who founded the FIG in 1881, viewed Gymnastics as an activity that was good for the body and mind – and above all, non-competitive. This vision was shared by only a small number of his associates, and as the years passed competitions were slowly integrated into the FIG’s activities. The move toward competition culminated in the first international tournament held in Antwerp -- Cuperus’s hometown -- in 1903. Today, that event is recognised as the first World Gymnastics Championships.
An activity with something for everyone
Despite its new competitive dimension, Cuperus’s idea of Gymnastics for the masses did not disappear. By the time the FIG was established, Gymnastics had been rooted into the fitness regimes of soldiers, and the military influence on the sport -- marching out, saluting the judges at the beginning and end of a routine and the parade of flags -- is still evident today.
Cuperus continued to cultivate his preferred brand of the sport, which was about facilitating social cohesion during a 19th century rife with industrial transformation and political upheavals. His vision followed the message long promulgated by the founding fathers of the activity, including Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and Per Henrik Ling.
Gymnastics is often described as the “base” of all sports. Anyone, regardless of age, shape or handicap can take part in Gymnastics for All activities as part of a daily fitness routine.
The World Gymnaestrada
Organised once every four years since 1953, the World Gymnaestrada is the premiere Gymnastics for All event. From all corners of the globe, Gymnastics groups of all stripes come together for a festival week of city and gala performances, all illustrating the richness and variety of the activity. More than 20,000 gymnasts descended on Helsinki, Finland, for the 15th World Gymnaestrada in 2015. The next edition will be held in Dornbirn, Austria, in the summer of 2019.
The World Gym for Life Challenge
Introduced in 2009 and held alternately every four years between World Gymnaestradas, the World Gym for Life Challenge has become another stage for Gymnastics for All groups to show off their skills in a supportive, friendly ambiance.
Whereas the World Gymnastraeda is strictly for exhibition performances, the World Gym for Life Challenge allows groups the opportunity to be lightly evaluated based on creativity and originality. The top groups are invited to perform at a closing gala, where a special trophy is awarded. After a successful edition in Capetown, South Africa in 2013, Vestfold, Norway, will welcome the world for the 2017 World Gym for Life Challenge.
|Official Gymnastics for All pictogram|