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 practiced on a 25-meter-long spring track sometimes. 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 standardized special acrobatic equipment.
This sport is practiced 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.
Governed by rules established by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), tumbling is one of the gymnastic disciplines. Many elements of tumbling are also practiced on Floor Exercise by participants of both Women's Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) and Men's Artistic Gymnastics (MAG). Tumbling elements such as the round-off and back-handspring (flic) are commonly integrated into the balance beam routines of gymnasts.
Tumbling has only been an Olympic gymnastics event once, at the 1932 Summer Olympics, and was a demonstration event in 1996 and 2000. It is one of the events of the World Games. There is an annual World Championships held in conjunction with the Trampoline World Championships.
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. This was developed by Randy Mulkey, which is a 25 metres (82 ft) long by 2-metre (6.6 ft) wide track consisting of fiberglass 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. At the end is a mat where the gymnasts land 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.
Basic tumbling moves
- Punch fronts
- Back handsprings
- Roundoff back handsprings
- Front fulls
- Double fulls
- Standing fulls
- Double backs
World Champions – Men
|2013||Kristof Willerton||United Kingdom|
|1996||Rayshine Harris||United States|
|1992||Jon Beck||United States|
|1986||Jerry Hardy||United States|
|1984||Steve Elliott||United States|
|1982||Steve Elliott||United States|
|1980||Ken Ekberg||United States|
|1978||Jim Bertz||United States|
|1976||Jim Bertz||United States|
World Champions – Women
|2014||Rachael Letsche||United Kingdom|
|1988||Megan Cunningham||United States|
|1986||Jill Hollembeak||United States|
|1984||Jill Hollembeak||United States|
|1982||Jill Hollembeak||United States|
|1980||Tracy Conour||United States|
|1978||Nancy Quattrochi||United States|
|1976||Tracy Long||United States|
Other notable tumblers
|Edwin Gross||United States|
|William Herrmann||United States|
|Rowland Wolfe||United States|
|Judy Wills Cline||United States|
- Bertz, Jim. "Through The Years: How the Competitive Tumbling Floor Evolved". Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Ross, Athletic Supply. "Competition Equipment". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- FIG (2009). "Part II". Apparatus Norms. pp. 83–84.