ions such as Turners, Sokols, and YMCAs. However, the intensity and level of work required to produce elite gymnasts today is available only in private training facilities, usually paid for by parents. Recognising the financial cost of these private facilities, USA Gymnastics initiated a programme of stipends paid to a small number of the most talented young gymnasts to offset their training costs. Male gymnasts tend to maintain and even improve performances beyond the peak age for female gymnasts, and their training may continue during college years with the support of athletic scholarships. Collegiate gymnastics is also available for females, but today college-age women are generally considered too old to be involved in the highest level of the sport. One of the most important contributions to the development of gymnastics in the United States was the establishment of the USGF Junior Olympics programme, which provides compulsory exercises and guidelines for several levels of age-group competition for both girls and boys.
- intrinsically dangerous movements связанные с большим риском
- state-supported training facilities государственные спортивные базы
с) Answer the following questions. If necessary, look through the text again:
- What is the ideal body type for a gymnast?
- What quality do gymnastics skills require?
- Why have age and size of competitive gymnasts been decreasing?
- How are the strength, flexibility, and power, essential for competitive gymnastics, produced?
- How were young gymnasts selected in socialist societies?
- How are young gymnasts selected in the USA?
- Where are elite gymnasts trained in the USA?
- What was one of the most important contributions to the development of gymnastics in the United States?
- What does the USYF Junior Olympic programme provide?
Task IX. Read the text without the help of a dictionary
The origin of gymnastics can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of China, Persia, India and Greece.
Most of the current competitive exercises may be attributed to the German, Jahn, but the ancient civilisations practised the sport. The Chinese had mass displays of free exercises, as they do at present, and both the Persians and the Indians followed a strict code of physical exercise. But it was the Greeks who really started to modernise the sport.
The distinguished physician, Galen, provided some of the earliest literature on the sport and showed how knowledgeable the Greeks were about its fundamentals. Activities like rope-climbing were included in the ancient Olympic Games and, with the rise of the Roman Empire, the Greek method of physical culture spread.
Among the events the Romans introduced was the wooden horse on which they practised mounting and dismounting. Most of the exercises were used for military preparation, but when the ancient Olympic Games were abolished the sport fell into decline for nearly 1,500 years.
It was revived initially by men like Muth, Salzman, and Ling.
(1) Muths book, “Gymnastics for Youth”, is the first major work on the subject, and Ling, a Swede, regulated a series of free exercises which a number of countries 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.
1. Which of this topics does the text deal with?
- the Greek method of training;
- gymnastics in ancient civilisations;
- gymnastics declination and revival;
- Muth, Salzman and Ling;
- mens gymnastics;
- major event in British gymnastics;
- development of gymnastics in Great Britain and the USA;
- 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 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