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     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.91

     challenging words:    command, intricate, effortless, gymnastic, gymnastics, pommel, emerge, mentally, rhythmic, dedication, battle, cartwheel, flips, Friedrich, complex, eastern
     content words:    Ancient Greeks, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, Pehr Henrik Ling, Olympic Games, Nadia Comenici, Olga Korbut, Mary Lou Retton

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By Jane Runyon

1     Gymnastics is one more sport that came from preparing for war. Ancient Greeks believed in preparing themselves for battle both physically and mentally. They believed that exercise was an excellent way to prepare their bodies for any battle. Conditioning was very important to them. Greeks believed that children would develop both their bodies and their minds by doing exercise programs. The word gymnastics comes from the Greek word "gymnazein" which means exercising without clothes.
2     Modern day gymnastics had its beginning in eastern and northern Europe. Germans are credited with creating some of the equipment used by gymnasts today. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn is a German known by many as the father of gymnastics. He developed programs for school children using permanent equipment to develop discipline as well as body strength. He created the horse, the vault, and rings as well as other pieces of equipment. Today, use of such equipment is called artistic gymnastics.
3     A Swedish method developed by Pehr Henrik Ling used no permanent equipment. He used hoops, balls, and clubs to develop routines. Today, gymnasts also use ropes and ribbons. This type of gymnastics is called rhythmic gymnastics.

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