Tumble Over To The Sports Section

Sport's Illustrated Tumbling Cover

Sports Illustrated

First, I thought all of the stuff in this book was really called “gymnastics”. Is there a difference? Directed at both athletes and coaches, there are some funky drawings and detailed instructions on how to do many gymnastic events. Even if the essential activities are the same, coaching, new equipment, and training techniques will change over time. A nice example of how sports evolved comes from my mother who was told that “girls should only play half court basketball as it may disturb their reproductive parts.” I can hear every female basketball player cringing at that one.

Get over to the sport’s section and take a look. There might be some really awful weeders waiting for you.



Sport's Illustrated Tumbling back cover

safety and spotting for tumbling


  1. Tumbling is only one portion of gymnastics, now more commonly known as floor exercise. Tumbling doesn’t include balance beam, parallel bars, etc.

  2. Tumbling is, I think (IANA tumbler or a gymnast), a discipline and a skill under the umbrella “gymnastics”. There are separate tumbling competitions, but it’s not currently an Olympic event

    1. Individual medals are awarded at the Olympics for each event, including floor exercise.

  3. I believe they called it “tumbling” at my school at the time, but I have no idea why. Also: why should half-court basketball be any less damaging to reproductive parts? Surely, girls should simply avoid any kind of contact with a basketball.

  4. I thought all of the stuff in this book was really called “gymnastics”
    Gymnastics is the general term. Tumbling is the stuff that’s done on a floor mat, without equipment.

    — The only girl in my school who was never able to achieve a cartwheel, or even a back bend.

  5. We had no choice — half-court basketball was all there was (at least in gym class). It was an incredibly slow and boring game. One was allowed three bounces only (dribbliing) and then the ball must be passed to someone else. I think we had to count our steps, too, so maybe those also had a required number (three). It would have been just about impossible to get any exercise doing it, let alone exercise that would be harmful to anything. And as for that claim, they used to use it to keep women out of running races, too. It is so galling that men think they know best about women’s bodies and worse, have the right to determine what women do with them.

  6. Great. Now I have Boy George in my head, singing “I’ll Tumble For You”. Thanks. 😉

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