The sky’s the limit: the competitive levels of acro and aero gymnastics

Going for the gold!

From May 26th to May 28th 2017, Oakville Gymnastics Club and Gymnastics Ontario will host the 2017 National Acrobatics Cup and Aerobics Invitational competitions. During those three days, athletes from both disciplines will captivate spectators, as they perform complex and mesmerizing routines at all levels of competition. This annual event showcases acro and aero gymnasts ranging from the beginner levels to the more senior levels, and everything in between. Each level is designed to challenge athletes to strive for excellence in their division while also working toward the more difficult skills that are necessary in order to move up when ready. One thing these strong competitors all have in common, from the newest ‘ones to watch’ to the most accomplished and experienced among them, is they all want that gold!

Aerobic Gymnastics Categories and Levels

Aerobic gymnastics combines aerobic movement and dance choreography with fitness and gymnastics elements. The high impact routines focus on core strength and flexibility and are energetic, powerful and compelling to watch. The categories are wide-ranging and varied for both men and women in the aero competitive program.

Aero Gymnastics
Aero Gymnastics

Athletes can compete in the following categories:

  • Individual men
  • Individual women
  • Mixed pairs (one man, one woman)
  • Trios (any combination of men/women)
  • Groups of 5 (any combination of men/women)
  • Groups of 8 for aerobic dance (any combination of men/women)
  • Groups of 8 for aerobic step (any combination of men/women)

These categories are then divided by age into 4 divisions:

  • 9-11 year olds (national development/junior showcase)
  • 12-14 year olds (world age group 1)
  • 15-17 year olds (world age group 2)
  • 18+ (seniors).

Acrobatic Gymnastics Categories and Levels

Acrobatic gymnastics combines elements of acrobatics, (such as difficult balance poses, flips, twists and landings), with choreographed dance and tumbling moves. The heart-stopping routines demonstrate the courage, flexibility, strength, power and poise of the athletes.

The competitive categories in acro are:

  • Pairs (2 women, 2 men, or mixed)
  • Groups (3 women, or 4 men)

Acro has competitive developmental levels (5, 6 and 7) that are each split by age for 8-15 year olds, and 16 and over. Gymnastics Ontario has also adopted a new level called “youth” that is between level 7 and the first elite age group. Beyond these developmental levels are the 4 elite divisions, which are split by age according to the International Federation of Gymnastics rules and regulations. However, competitions held in Ontario do not strictly enforce these age splits because acro gymnastics is still relatively new here, and the continued growth of this sport is a of utmost importance. The splits must be adhered to for all international competitions.

Acro WP
Acro WP

The International Federation of Gymnastics age group splits are:

  • 11-16 (age group 1)
  • 12-18 (age group 2)
  • 13-19 (junior) and
  • 15+ (senior)

The levels they (all!) go to!

All these levels and categories and divisions successfully organize athletes into neat and tidy compartments that are fair and logical for competitions and judging. However, despite these distinctions between them, they also have much that unites them. Whether in acro or aero, boy or girl, individual, pair, or group, beginner or advanced, these gymnasts all share some very fundamental traits. They all work extremely hard to be the best at what they do, they are all passionate and determined, driven and focused, and they all show discipline and courage way beyond their years. Come see them in action at the National Acro Cup/Aero Invitational during the weekend of May 26th – 28th at Glen Abbey Recreation Centre in Oakville!

post written by Carol Summers

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