Floor events comprise of one of the four disciplines for women and one of the six disciplines for men. Of all of the disciplines within the Olympic gymnastics circuit, the floor disciplines are thought to give the gymnast the biggest opportunity to show individuality and personal expression. This is especially evident in the women’s floor event where a key aspect of the choreography is a dance element, and the routine is set to music. By comparison, the emphasis in the men’s event is on the strength of the gymnast, and there is no music behind the routine. Both versions of the event, however, require tumbles, jumps, and turns.
The event, as its title suggest, takes place on a matted area known as the floor. It is a square shaped, rubber, mat which tops a layer of plywood to make the surface bouncy to aid the gymnasts. There is a boundary line within the larger square to mark where the gymnast can work. If the gymnast steps outside the boundary line whilst performing, they incur a penalty on their marks. This means that floor competitions take an exceptional amount of focus and spatial awareness, as well as a lot of practice of the choreography so that the athlete knows exactly where they will be after every movement they take.
Female gymnasts take the floor for 90 seconds, whereas male athletes have a maximum of 70 seconds to show the judges what they can do. The judges are split into two groups, one group to score the gymnast of their level of difficulty, and the other to score the gymnast on their level of execution. The maximum score from each set of judges is a ten, though a perfect ten is rarely scored.
The floor events are perhaps the most accessible to aspiring athletes of all level and age because they don’t require the use of any equipment, only a mastery of one’s own body. Therefore, it is only natural to assume you, my athletic readers, will go and try it out and send us in your photos and reviews of the sport. With gymnastics, the younger you are the better, as you’re suppler with less fear of failing. So take up the challenge and create your own floor routine! Even if it’s a mix of cartwheels and bridges, it’s a fun and creative way to spend your time!