08/08/2012 10:39 am ET

Female Gymnasts Used to Compete on the Rings, But the Game Changed

When you tell folks that you've done gymnastics, most automatically ask you if you did the rings. No, I would explain. It's not one of the women's apparatuses. But why is it the men's and women's gymnastics can look like completely different sports? In all of the Olympic sports, women and men do not compete head-to-head, but the game's the same. The world record time for women in the 100 meter sprint might be a touch slower than the men's best times, but the race itself is identical. Why don't we get to do the rings?

First, a little refresher course in the different apparatuses in case you haven't spent the week glued to the Olympic gymnastics competition: The men compete on the floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. The women's four are vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor.

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