Tumbling, also known as power tumbling, is a gymnastics sporting discipline which combines skills of artistic gymnastics with those of trampoline. It is sometimes practiced on a 25-meter-long spring track. Tumbling, which originated for entertainment purposes, is now codified, regulated, judged, and performed using standardized special acrobatic equipment.
Competitors, both male and female, perform two passes, each containing eight skills, along the track. Passes usually begin with a Round-off, Barani or Rudi (the Barani and Rudi are forward, twisting somersaults) which is followed by a series of back-handsprings and/or whips (a fast, long back somersault done in a straight body position) ending in a 'dismount' skill. In competition, only feet and hands are allowed to make contact with the track.
Governed by rules established by the International Gymnastics Federation, tumbling is one of the gymnastic disciplines. Elements of tumbling are also practiced on floor exercise by participants of both women's and men's artistic gymnastics. Tumbling elements, such as the round-off and back-handspring (flip), are commonly integrated into the balance beam routines of gymnasts.
Tumbling has been an Olympic sport only once, at the 1932 Summer Olympics, and was a demonstration event in 1996 and 2000. However, it is one of the events of the World Games and is an annual World Championships event held in conjunction with the Trampoline World Championships.
When power tumbling was first started, and for the first ever US NatiFrom there, "floors" evolved in a wide variety of ways, including rows of skis tied together with the ends cut off under those mats, and then to the rod floor used today. This was developed by Randy Mulkey, which is a 25 meters (82 ft) long by 2 meters (6.6 ft) wide track consisting of fiberglass rods (laid horizontally, to make it springy) under two layers of foam mats. It also includes a 10 meters (33 ft) run up at the front. At the end is a mat where the gymnasts land their dismounting skill.
Competitors perform two passes, each containing eight skills along the track, usually starting with a round-off, barani, or rudi (the barani and rudi are forward, twisting somersaults) followed by a series of back-handsprings and/or whips (a fast, long back somersault done in a straight body position) ending in a 'dismount' skill. In the lower levels, there are rules about what each pass should contain. At more advanced levels there is a choice about the skills performed. This includes adding much more difficulty to the passes by adding twisting somersaults (called single, double or triple fulls) in the middle of the pass. The dismounting skill is often another double or triple full or a double or triple back somersault, which can also include extra twists. Internationally, competitors frequently have three double somersaults incorporated into each pass. All athletes in this sport at high levels are expected to have a finals pass as well as their other two passes. While not used at every competition, it is important to have three passes.
Scoring is similar to trampolining with five judged scores for execution (form, body position and final landing) and one for the degree of difficulty (number of somersaults and twists etc.). The top and bottom execution scores are dropped and the remaining three added to the difficulty score to give the total for the pass.
Basic tumbling moves
- Punch fronts
- Back handsprings
- Roundoff back handsprings
- Front fulls
- Double fulls
- Standing fulls
- Double backs
- Front walkover
- Front handspring