Gymnastics

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ntries adopted. But the man who made the major contribution to the sport was Jahn. His invention of events like the parallel bars and the rings and his routines for the horizontal bars helped greatly with the modernisation of gymnastics. There was a clash of views between Ling and Jahn, since the Swede felt that gymnastics was an educational system while Jahn viewed it as a club activity. Lings movements were more rhythmic and fluent while Jahn gave more emphasis to strength movements.

Modern gymnastics is a mixture of both schools the beauty of the floor exercises routines being balanced by the rugged power needed for the rings and parallel bars. But it is fair to say that Jahn was the more influential of the pair, for his Turnplatz, opened in Berlin in 1811, was an open-air gymnasium which started the spread of the sport throughout Europe. Clubs were founded in Britain and a number of schools included physical training in their curriculum. A major event in British gymnastics occurred in 1860 when the army selected 12 NCO's (National Committee officials) and formed them into the Army Gymnastic Staff, later the Army Physical Training Corps. The Army, realising after the Crimean War that soldiers needed to be fit, were in the forefront of the expansion of the sport in Britain. The leading clubs joined in 1890 to form the Amateur Gymnastic Association and the first championship was in 1896 the year of the first modern Olympic Games.

After World War II, and especially since the early 1960s, gymnastics has grown phenomenally in the United States. Much of this growth has been due to the greatly increased coverage of gymnastics on television, and especially to the Olympic performances of Olga Korbut in 1972 and Nadia Comaneci in 1976.

International gymnastics competition before World War II was dominated by Western European countries. Except for the anomalous 1904 Games in St. Louis, Americans did not participate in Olympic gymnastics until 1920. With the entrance of the Soviet Union into Olympic competition in 1952 and the rise of Japan as a gymnastics power, the picture changed radically. Over this period, mens team medals were won by the Soviet Union (10), Japan (9), East Germany (5), China (2), Finland (2), and one each by the United States, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Switzerland. Fewer countries participated in womens gymnastics during this period and the Soviet Union was even more dominant, winning the team gold medal in all ten Olympic Games in which they participated (Romania won in 1984). Most individual medals were won by the Soviet Union (39.4 per cent) and Japan (30.5 per cent), with others going to China (6.1 per cent), East Germany (4.5 per cent), the United States (3.7 per cent), and 13 other countries (all European except for three medals to the two Koreas, for a total of 15.8 per cent). In the 1996 Olympics Russia won the overall team gold and 5 individual medals; Belarus took 4.

In the 1984 Olympic Games 19 countries were represented (2 entries are allowed per country), and Canada, Romania, and West Germany won the gold, silver, and bronze all-around medals. In both 1988 and 1992, 23 countries were represented, and the Soviet Union (called the Unified Team in 1992) won both the gold and bronze. In 1996 Spain won the team gold, Bulgaria the silver, and Russia the bronze. Modern Gymnastics World Championships have been held since 1963.

Assignment

1. Which of this topics does the text deal with?

  1. the Greek method of training;
  2. gymnastics in ancient civilisations;
  3. gymnastics declination and revival;
  4. Muth, Salzman and Ling;
  5. Turnplatz;
  6. mens gymnastics;
  7. major event in British gymnastics;
  8. development of gymnastics in Great Britain and the USA;
  9. rhythmic gymnastics.

2. Write down the themes found in the text in the order corresponding to the context of the text. You will get the outline of the text.

3. Divide the whole text into fragments corresponding to the items of the outline. Mind that a fragment may be equal to a paragraph or sometimes embrace several paragraphs.

4. Reread paragraphs 13 and find the gymnastics event that was included in the ancient Olympics.

5. Find sentences proving that modern gymnastics is a mixture of schools.

6. Reread paragraph 7. Find sentences proving that the influence of the gymnasts from the Soviet Union on the International gymnastics was considerable.

7. Reproduce the contents of the text using answers to the following questions. If necessary, look through the text again:

1. Did ancient civilisations practise gymnastics? 2. Who started to modernise the sport? 3. Who showed how knowledgeable the Greeks were about gymnastics fundamentals? 4. What events were introduces by the Romans? 5. What period did gymnastics fall into decline for? 6. Who revived gymnastics? 7. What is the first major work on gymnastics? 8. Who made the major contribution to gymnastics? 9. What events were invented by Jahn? 10. How did Turnplatz look? 11. When were gymnastics cubs founded in Berlin? 12. When did gymnastics grow phenomenally in the United States? 13. What has this growth been due to? 14. What countries dominated in gymnastics before World War II in? 15. When did the picture radically change in gymnastics? 16. Since when have modern gymnastics World championships been held?

 

Task X. Look through the text and say what kind of information it contains. What achievements of Belarusian gymnasts does the author pay special attention to? Indicate the corresponding paragraphs.

 

Belarusian gymnasts

Belarusian gymnasts are traditionally very successful at Olympic Games. Nikolai Miligulo from Minsk was the first Belarusian to represent the state in this Olympic event. He won the silver team medal at the XVII Olympics in Rome. Helen Volchetskaya was the first of the female gymnasts to open the Olympics. She won a gold medal in womens team competition in Tokyo. Larisa Petric made an excellent showing at the Mexico Olympics. She returned home with three prizes for the first places in a team contests and floor exercises and the third prize for winning the beam.

A really fantastic at the XX Olympic Games in Munich was the performance of Olga Korbut. She did some particularly complicated parts on the beam and uneven bars which have now become specific terms bearing her name “Korbut somersault”, “Korbut back flip”, etc. One of her horse vaults has remained unique because no other gymnast has ever done it. In Montreal she won a gold medal in womens team competition and silver medal at asymmetric bars.

Concerning the Belarusian school of gymnastics, one should note that it is constantly in advance. Some athletes quit the podium, others step into their shoes. There are too many of them to be named. But one just cannot imagine Belarusian gymnastics without Antonina Koshel who became a gold medallist at the 20th Olympics for team victory or Tamara Lazakovich who at the same games took four prizes, one of them being gold. These girls largely contributed to the enhancing of the glory of Soviet sport.

After that came Nelly Kim. Her superb skill was marked with five Olympic titles. Besides she became the all-round world champion.

When on the podium, she never looked down in the mouth. She knew how to smile even when she was sick at heart and felt like crying. It is not without reason that journalists nicknamed her a “girl of iron”.

A certain episode comes to mind. As Nelly was doing her optional programme (floor exercises) at the Moscow Olympics the music suddenly began to “wow”. And it happened shortly after starting. The sound gradually died away. The hall became unusually quiet.

With a charming smile (as if nothing were really happening) Nelly stopped and waited for the music to recommence. Starting her combination all over again, she did it with superb mastery and was deservedly given a high rating 9.95 points.

At the XXIV Olympic Games in Seoul the USSR national team included two trainees of Belarusian coaches Svetlana Boginskaya and Svetlana Bayitova.

The good traditions were kept up by a new generation of Belarusian female gymnasts. Despite their youth they had already managed to achieve quite a lot. Here are a few facts from their sporting biographies: Svetlana Boginskaya was born in 1973, Master of Sports International Class. Pupil of a sports boarding school. All-around junior champion (FRG, 1986), team event silver medallist at the World championship and bronze medallist in vault (Netherlands, 1987), many-time winner and title-holder at international contests, silver medallist in beam competition for the National Cup (1988).

Svetlana Bayitova was born in 1972. Master of Sports International Class, all-around national champion, 1986, silver medallist at the USSR National Championship, 1987, many-time winner and prize-holder at National Championships in separate team events, won silver in team events at the 1987 World championship.

Olga Bicherova, the 1981 all-around world champion describes Bayitova in this way: “She shows virtuosity and has a unique programme on the bars”.

A.Neverovich, director of the gymnastics school which S.Boginskaya attended:

“Boginskaya is very hardworking and diligent, she possesses great untapped reserves that can yet be used for further development. At the same time, the girl has an uneven temper, so one should handle her with care”.

Upon winning the gold medal in the team event Svetlana Boginskaya continued to contend for more prizes. In the all-round world championship contest she picked up bronze, being second only to her team mate Yelena Shushunova and Rumanian Daniel Silivash. On the