By now, we’re all pretty familiar with gymnastics and what it is, but have you heard of wheel gymnastics yet? An interesting branch of gymnastics that has yet to gain popularity, wheel gymnastics is still largely focused in its native Germany.
What is wheel gymnastics?
Instead of performing gymnastic tricks on the ground, gymnasts perform them on a wheel. Also known as the Rhonrad, the wheel is made up of two circles connected with six spokes. The diameter of the wheel is dependent on the length of the gymnast, for the gymnast must be able to hold themselves across the wheel when fully stretched. Most wheels are usually between 130-245 cm, and weigh 40-60 kg.
The Competitive Gymnastic Disciplines
While rolling across the floor in a straight line, gymnasts perform their tricks and stunts. Yes, on the wheel, while it rolls.
In this exercise, gymnasts use their bodies to make the wheel spin and wobble.
For the vault, gymnasts stand on the wheel and twist or flip themselves off the wheel onto a mat. Think cliff-diving, but much less extreme.
Otto Feick invented the wheel in 1925, and filed for a patent as “wheel-gymnastic and sports equipment”. On the 8th of November 1925, the patent was issued. In 1936, it was shown at the Berlin Olympic Games, but it was not presented as an Olympic discipline. The 13th World Championships in Gym Wheel is also held in Switzerland this year, from 6-13th of May. As if wheel gymnastics by itself wasn’t challenging enough, it is also sometimes performed on ice!