Women's artistic gymnastics

Women's artistic gymnastics entered the Olympics as a team event in 1928. At the twelfth (12th) gymnastics World Championships in 1950, WAG (as it is known today) was included. WAG introduced team competition, all-around and apparatus final events. Individual women were recognized in the all-around as early as the tenth (10th) World Championships in 1934. Two years after the full women's program (all-around and all four event finals) was introduced into the 1950 World Championships, it was introduced into the 1952 Helsinki Games, and this format has remained as such to this day. The earliest champions in women's gymnastics tended to be in their 20s; most had studied ballet for years before entering the sport. Larisa Latynina, the first great Soviet gymnast, won her first Olympic all-around medal at the age of 22 and her second at 26; she became the 1958 World Champion while pregnant with her daughter. Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska, who followed Latynina to become a two-time Olympic all around champion, was 22 before she started winning gold medals. In the 1970s, the average age of Olympic gymnastics competitors began to decrease. While it was not unheard of for teenagers to compete in the 1960s—Ludmilla Tourischeva was sixteen at her first Olympics in 1968—younger female gymnasts slowly became the norm while the sport's difficulty increased. Smaller, lighter girls generally excelled in t e more challenging acrobatic elements required by the redesigned Code of Points. The 58th Congress of the FIG, held in July 1980 just before the Olympics, decided to raise the minimum age limit for major international senior competition from fourteen to fifteen.[4] The change, which came into effect two years later, did not eliminate the problem. By the time the 1992 Olympics rolled around, elite competitors consisted almost exclusively of "pixies"—underweight, prepubertal teenagers—and concerns were raised about athlete welfare. The FIG responded to this trend by raising the minimum age requirement for international elite competition to sixteen in 1997. This, combined with changes in the Code of Points and evolving popular opinion in the sport, have seen older gymnasts return to competition. While the average elite female gymnast is still in her middle to late teens and of below-average height and weight, it is also common to see gymnasts competing well into their twenties. At the 2004 Olympics, both the second place American team and the third placed Russians were captained by women in their mid twenties; several other teams, including Australia, France and Canada, had many older gymnasts. At the 2008 Olympics, the silver medalist on vault, Oksana Chusovitina, was a 33-year-old mother; she received another silver medal on vault at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo when she was 36.