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Who created gymnastics?

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Quick Answer

Gymnastics was first introduced in ancient Greece as a sport and a discipline for fitness. Gymnastics as a competitive sport did not begin to develop until the late 1700s, thanks to the contributions of Johann Bernhard Basedow and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.

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Full Answer

The word "gymnastics" originates from the Greek word, "gymnazein" which literally translates as "exercising naked." The Greeks developed many gymnastic activities that were later formalized by the Romans.

Basedow developed a series of exercises in line with those of the ancient Greeks for his school in Saxony in 1774. Jahn, often called the "father of modern gymnastics," developed the jumping events, the parallel bars, the balance beam and the horizontal and side bars. The Federation of International Gymnastics was founded in 1881.

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