The women will leap and flip and tumble to recorded music. The men’s routines will be accompanied by silence.
The reason for the disparity dates back almost a century, when female gymnasts competed for the first time at the Olympics and rules for their events were established. Experts in gymnastics say expectations for female athletes were different then.
But even though women gymnasts today are more powerful and athletic than their counterparts from the mid-1900s — sometimes even doing things men can’t do — elements of dance, choreographed to music, remain a required component of their floor exercises.
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