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Olympic gymnastics wasn’t always so flippin’ intense

Gymnastics then and now (Screenshot: YouTube)

Without question, one of the highlights of the Rio Summer Olympics has been women’s gymnastics, where the “Final Five” collectively crushed it and 19-year-old Simone Biles elevated the sport to previously unheard of heights (literally). Now in a side-by-side comparison video, MTV News is taking a look back at what gymnastics used to look like, before it became the flip-filled, sparkle-covered death match it is today.

It turns out gymnastics was a lot tamer in the 1950s and ’60s. We’re not saying any A.V. Club staffers could pull off these moves, but it looks a hell of a lot easier to do a slow cartwheel on a balance beam than to pull off a jump forward with a full twist into a salto backward tucked like Biles does in her beam routine. The vault, uneven bars, and floor routines were also far more chill in the ’50s, with a focus on precision rather than flinging your body into the air and hoping you don’t land on your head, fall on your face, or snap your leg in half (all of which happened at this year’s games). If the sport continues to evolve at this rate, presumably you’ll need literal superpowers to compete in 2072.


[via MTV News]

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