|Artistic Gymnastics |
The Artistic Gymnastics World Championships are the world championships for artistic gymnastics governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). The first edition of the championships was held in 1903, exclusively for male gymnasts. Since the tenth edition of the tournament, in 1934, women's events are held together with men's events.
The FIG was founded in 1881 and was originally entitled FEG (Fédération Européenne de Gymnastique), but changed its name in 1921, becoming the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG); this name change roughly correlates with the actual naming of the World Championships. Although the first such games were held in 1903, they were not initially entitled the 'World Championships'. The first competition ever actually referred to as a 'World Championships' was a competition held in 1931 that, while referred to in an official FIG publication as the "First Artistic Men's World Championships", often seems to go ignored by various authorities in the sport. The championships prior to the 1930s, beginning back in 1903, would eventually be recognized, retroactively, as the World Championships.
Although the FIG had changed its name from the FEG back in 1921, the true transcontinental nature of the sport would not start to change at the World Championship level until a substantially later time. Perhaps the first non-European delegation to participate at a World Championships was Mexico, which sent a men's team who travelled all the way to compete at the 1934 Worlds in Budapest, a trans-Atlantic endeavor they repeated at the 1948 London Summer Olympics - a rare non-European delegation appearance even 14 years later. Perhaps the first African contingent was the Egyptian one which offered forth a full male team at the 1950 World Championships in Basel. By the time of these World Championships, a total of 60 male athletes from 6 different countries and 53 female athletes from 7 different countries comprised the competitive field. By the 2013 World Championships, the competition had grown to include 264 men from 71 different countries and 134 women from 57 different countries. As of 2019, over sixty different editions of the championships have been staged, and over forty different countries have earned medals in both men's and women's artistic gymnastics events.
The most successful nation, both in gold medal results and total number of medals, is the former Soviet Union, and China is the second. United States is the third most successful country in gold medal results while Japan is the third in total number of medals. Since the fall of the Soviet block, the traditional powerhouses in men's and women's individual and team events have been Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, China, United States, Japan, and Romania with increasing results from Great Britain and Brazil and a recent decrease in results from the delegations from Romania and Belarus. Currently, the championships are held annually in non-Olympic years, and all individual events (event and all-around) are held at every championships. However, the team event is omitted in the year after an Olympic Games.