About Aerobic Gymnastics
In the fast-paced world of Aerobic Gymnastics, stamina and a smile are two of the main ingredients for success. Aerobic, born of the fitness trend of the 1970s and 1980s, fuses mainstream Aerobic exercises -- including those done with the infamous step benches -- with dance steps, Gymnastics elements, lifts and strength holds. Whipped up to music with a driving beat, a good Aerobic routine takes one’s breath away.
Aerobic offers several platforms for showcasing the discipline’s variety and creativity. Gymnasts can perform singly, or in Mixed Pairs, Trios, Groups of five or in the case of Aerobic Dance and Aerobic Step, teams of eight. In all categories, continuous movement is paramount: during a routine, gymnasts are never, ever still.
The origins of Aerobic Gymnastics
The word “Aerobic” came to prominence in 1875, when Louis Pasteur discovered that certain “Aerobic” bacteria needed oxygen to survive. During the 1960s, an American doctor named Ken Cooper developed a series of Aerobic exercises designed to combat cardiovascular diseases.
Cooper’s methods were popularized in a series of exercise videos with movie star Jane Fonda during the 1970s. Aerobic exercise became part of a worldwide fitness trend during the 1980s, and exercise competitions featuring spandex-clad competitors performing breathtaking routines and flexing their abundant muscles gained popularity.
The FIG adopts Aerobic
The seeds of Aerobic’s eventual fusion with Gymnastics were sown on October 30, 1993, when affiliated federations officially asked the FIG Executive Committee to introduce Aerobic as a discipline in the FIG competition programme at a meeting in Alicante (ESP).
The following year, at the FIG Congress in Geneva (SUI), FIG President Yuri Titov (RUS) invited delegates to accept the setup of an Aerobic Sports Commission, as well as the organisation of a World Championships in 1995. The FIG charged Vice President Hans-Juergen Zacharias (GER) to lead the Commission, together with Margaret Sikkens Ahlquist (SWE) and Slava Corn (CAN).
Things took off from there. On March 14, 1995, the first Judges’ and Coaches’ Course in Aerobic was held in Ebnat-Kappel (SUI), with Yvonne Lin (SWE) and Gabriele Haessler (SUI) conducting the course. In December of the same year, the first FIG Aerobic World Championships were held at the Stade de Coubertin in Paris. Competitors from Brazil dominated the competition, taking three of the four event titles.
On July 17, 1996, the 70th FIG Congress in Atlanta (USA) elected Italian Bruno Grandi FIG President and officially recognised Aerobic Gymnastics as a FIG discipline by a vote of 68 for and nine against, with eight abstentions.
In 2000, Britain’s John Atkinson was named President of the Aerobic Gymnastics Technical Committee. He retired in October 2008, giving the floor to Mireille Ganzin (FRA), who in turn ceded to Sergio Garcia (ESP) at the Tokyo Congress in 2016.
Aerobic Gymnastics today
Aerobic, which celebrated its 20th anniversary as a FIG discipline in 2015, has continued to evolve as a sport in recent years. The discipline is especially popular in Asia, where it is practiced by a number of university teams, as well as in Africa.
The 2016 World Championships in Incheon (KOR), saw the crowning of a diverse set of champions, from Japan’s Mizuki Saito and Romania’s Oana Constantin in Men’s and Women’s Individual competition to the Korean Trio and Chinese Group. Italy’s Davide Donati and Michela Castoldi captured their country’s first ever Aerobic World title with gold in Mixed Pairs. For France, one of the sport’s traditional powerhouses, its World title in Aerobic Step was a first as well.
|Aerobic Gymnastics official pictogram|
Updated January 2017