Gymnastics which evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks, is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance and control. It was originally intended for military training, where it was used by soldiers to prepare for warfare. By the end of the nineteenth century, men’s gymnastics competition was popular enough to be included in the first “modern” Olympic Games in 1896.
During the 1920s, women organized and participated in gymnastics events. The first women’s Olympic competition was primitive, only involving synchronized calisthenics and track and field. This film from the 1930s reveals the importance of synchronization, almost like a dance rather than a sport.