FIG celebrates 20 years of Aerobic Gymnastics

Lausanne, June 16, 2015: Aerobic Gymnastics, which began as a fitness trend and has evolved into a high-level sport combining a mix of strength elements, dance and traditional Acrobatics, has a lot to celebrate this year: In addition to its 20th anniversary as a FIG discipline, the sport will also be part of the first-ever European Games in Baku (AZE) this week.

“This is a big step forward in the development of Aerobic Gymnastics,” said Mireille Ganzin (FRA), President of the FIG Aerobic Technical Committee. “As we look back on the first 20 years of Aerobic at the FIG, we are so proud of how far this unique Gymnastics discipline has come, and very excited about where it is going.”

The first Aerobic World Championships were held in Paris (FRA) in 1995, which featured competition in Men’s Individual, Women’s Individual, Mixed Pairs and Trios. The premier Worlds were dominated by Brazil, whose gymnasts won gold medals in three of the four categories. The first World champions in Aerobic were Mario-Luis Americo (BRA) in Men’s Individual, Carmen Valderas Munoz (ESP) in Women’s Individual, Erica and Pedro Faccio (BRA) in Mixed Pairs and Faria Amadei Ruy, Faria Lopes Gilberto and Marques Ary (BRA) in Trio.

Since 1995, the discipline has expanded, its lively music and quick rhythm attracting dancers as well as former gymnasts from other disciplines. The number of competitions has grown as well: Group competition, where five gymnasts perform a routine, debuted at the 2002 Worlds in Klaipeda (LTU), and a Team competition was added in 2010. Two new sub-disciplines — Aerobic Dance and Aerobic Step — were introduced at the 2012 Worlds.

“I know it’s a sin, but I have a degree of pride at what has been achieved in bringing what was Sports Aerobics, not even a recognized sport discipline by the IOC or anyone, now into a very high performance sport discipline,” said John Atkinson (GBR), the first President of the FIG Aerobic Technical Committee between 1994 and 2009.

Aerobic is currently practiced in more than 70 countries, and 42 nations competed at the 2014 World Aerobic Championships in Cancun (MEX). The discipline has proven especially popular in African and Latin American countries, forming part of the Schools Gymnastics curriculum in South Africa, while more than 15,000 people turned out to applaud Aerobic stars at the 2013 World Games in Cali (COL).

The hopes of the FIG are for Aerobic to continue to expand in scope and for Aerobic competition to be integrated into future editions of the Asian Games, the Pan American Games and the World Universiade.

“Aerobic Gymnastics is one of the ultimate expressions of movement,” said FIG President Bruno Grandi (ITA). “Unlike some forms of Gymnastics, which require large investments to purchase material, Aerobic can be practiced almost anywhere, making it a truly universal discipline. On the technical side, the diligent work of the FIG Technical Committees has paved the way for our gymnasts to express the beauty and extreme athleticism of Aerobic Gymnastics.

“On behalf of the FIG, I would like to congratulate the athletes and coaches who have made the past 20 years of Aerobic so successful and so memorable, and to hail the strong generation of junior gymnasts who will carry the sport into the next 20 years.” —- FIG

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