How wide is the balance beam in gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics?

At the Olympic Games, the balance beam event sees gymnasts perform flips and leaps on a narrow surface

Jamie Braidwood
Tuesday 03 August 2021 10:21
Simone Biles appears to struggle with opening vault

The gymnastics at the Olympics in Tokyo is in full flow with the women’s and men’s artistic team events offering the sport’s first gold medals of this year’s Games.

Athletes take part in several disciplines, including the floor, vault, pommel horse and balance beam events, all of them demanding incredible displays of strength, elegance and control.

The balance beam, in particular, sees gymnasts perform leaps, flips and turns on the narrowest of surfaces.

The beam, which is only used in the women’s team event and also has its own individual event, is 1.25 metres off the ground and five metres long but is just 10 centimetres wide.

Gymnasts have 90 seconds to perform their routines before dismounting from the bar, and are judged for the difficulty and execution of their performance.

Simone Biles won the bronze medal in the individual event last time out, with the Netherlands’ Sanne Wevers taking home the gold medal from the Rio Olympics five years ago.

Male gymnasts do not compete in the balance beam, just as the women do not take part in the rings, pommel horse, parallel bars and horizontal bars.

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