Gymnastics: Art or Sport?

Article by: Abhi Kottamasu

GymnARTics or GYMnastics? This raging debate has polarized the ISM community into those who believe that Gymnastics is an art requiring creativity, imagination and grace and those who are convinced that GYMnastics, as the name might suggest, is a sport requiring strength, power and agility. However, the overwhelming majority in this debate are those who believe this requires various skills needed in art and sport and is indeed GYMnARTics.

Many believe that gymnastics is a form of art and a medium of exhibition as it allows you to express your feelings and emotion as an artist on a canvas that is the stage. Art’s worth is determined by how it is interpreted by others rather than an objective set of rules. Unlike sports where the clear objective is to score a touchdown, cross the finish line or hit the target, the winners in gymnastics are solely decided by the subjective opinions of individuals separating it from athletics. Arjun Chakraborty, an athlete himself believes that Gymnastics is an art as it requires an individual to feel the emotion while partaking in the activity as compared to other sports where one can just play.

On the contrary, many believe that gymnastics is in fact a sport. Gymnastics is one of the many events in the Olympics, an international ‘sporting event’ suggesting that the activity itself is a sport. Furthermore, gymnastics requires rapid movement and agility and is definitely not a sedentary activity like painting or singing which are considered as fine arts. Angelo Manalato says “I believe gymnastics is a sport as it requires speed, agility and strength, skills which are imperative for the success of an athlete”. This supports the belief of almost 30% of those who were asked this question at ISM.

The last point of view is as Miley Cyrus sings, the best of both worlds, as many believe this activity is in fact GYMnARTics. The better part of the ISM community believes that Gymnastics is indeed both a sport and art as they believe that it requires skills necessary in both activities. Emmy Nam, middle school star Cheerleader says “I really think it is both an art and a sport, because it is not only physically exhausting but a constant struggle to match the beat of a song and smile at the crowd like a performer would.” Carlos Po says “sports and art have always been clearly distinguishable from one another. Physical activity and a point-scoring system gives you a sport, while personal interpretation and subjectivity are the foundations of art. But when gymnastics is taken into account, the line between sports and art becomes increasingly blurred.” As these accounts show, many people truly believe that Gymnastics is both an art and a sport.