In gymnastics, tumbling, also known as power tumbling, is an acrobatic sporting discipline which combines some of the skills of artistic gymnastics on the floor with those of trampolining. It is practised on a 25-metre long spring track. It was developed from tumbling performances performed by entertainers from very early times but as a sport is now codified, regulated, judged, and performed using standardised special acrobatic equipment.
This sport is practised by both men and women. Competitors perform two passes, each containing eight skills along the track, usually starting with a Round-off, Barani, or Rudi (the Barani and Rudi are forward, twisting somersaults) followed by a series of back-handsprings and/or whips (a fast, long back somersault done in a straight body position) ending in a 'dismount' skill. Only the feet and hands are allowed to make contact with the track.
When power tumbling was first started, and for the first ever US National Championships in Tumbling in 1886, gymnasts would perform their skills on thin mats only. From there, "floors" evolved in a wide variety of ways, including rows of skis tied together with the ends cut off under those mats, and then to the rod floor used today, developed by Randy Mulkey, which is a 25 metres (82 ft) long by 2-metre (6.6 ft) wide track consisting of fibreglass rods (laid horizontally, to make it springy) under two layers of foam mats. It also includes a 10 metres (33 ft) run up at the front and at the end is a mat where the gymnast lands their dismounting skill.
Competitors perform two passes, each containing eight skills along the track, usually starting with a round-off, barani, or rudi (the barani and rudi are forward, twisting somersaults) followed by a series of back-handsprings and/or whips (a fast, long back somersault done in a straight body position) ending in a 'dismount' skill. In the lower levels, there are rules about what each pass should contain. At more advanced levels there is a choice about the skills performed. This includes adding much more difficulty to the passes by adding twisting somersaults (called single, double or triple fulls) in the middle of the pass. The dismounting skill is often another double or triple full or a double or triple back somersault, which can also include extra twists. Internationally, competitors frequently have 3 double somersaults incorporated in to each pass. All athletes in this sport at high levels are expected to have a finals pass as well as their other two passes. While not used at every meet, it is important to have three passes.
Scoring is similar to trampolining with five judged scores for execution (form, body position and final landing) and one for the degree of difficulty (number of somersaults and twists etc.). The top and bottom execution scores are dropped and the remaining three added to the Difficulty score to give the total for the pass.