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Gymnastics 101 - Acrobatic Gymnastics
A Brief History of Acrobatic Gymnastics
The roots of acrobatic gymnastics can be traced back to ancient Greece. Modern-day acrobatic gymnastics began in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and emerged in the United States in the 1970s with the acrobats on Muscle Beach, Calif. The first national organization, United States Sports Acrobatics Federation (USSAF), was founded in 1975 and changed to the United States Sports Acrobatics (USSA) in the 1990s. USSA merged with USA Gymnastics in 2002, making it the fifth discipline, and the connection between acrobatic gymnastics and gymnastics continues to grow today. The United States was first represented in Moscow in 1974 by tumblers only. Representation at World Championships has been on the rise ever since. The United States won its first gold medal at a World Championships in Riesa, Germany, in 2002.
About Acrobatic Gymnastics
Acrobatic Gymnastics is an ancient activity that emphasizes the combined beauty of dance and acrobatics. Gymnastics skills add excitement to the exercises. Acrobatic balances show grace, strength and flexibility. Choreography and synchronization add flare and creativity to each exercise.

Acrobatic Gymnastics favors body control in various positions, both on the ground and in the air. For this reason, the sport is included in the training program of pilots, cosmonauts and parachutists.

Acrobatic Gymnastics is fun for athletes of any age and athletic ability. This sport is a partner sport requiring athletes of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

Acrobatics is practiced and competed as Men's Pairs, Women's Pairs, Mixed Pairs, Women's Groups (3) or Men's Groups (4). Athletes progress through recreational levels (1-3) to compulsory Ievels (4-7), then to optional levels (8-elite).

Pairs are made up of a base and a top. Women's groups are comprised of a base, a middle, and a top partner and men's groups have a base two middle and one top partner. Bases are generally older athletes that display strength and balance. Tops are generally younger athletes and display flexibility and agility. Middles are often required to show a combination of all attributes.

Acrobatic Gymnastics draws its basic elements that shape the sport's physical expression from the same source as other gymnastics disciplines. Choreography, agility, balance, strength, grace and the use of apparatus create the difference between one gymnastics discipline and another.