History

 

An ancient Sport
 
Acrobatics has a long and ancient history; however, it was not until modern times that Sports Acrobatics was recognised as a competitive sport. Having been accepted as a sport in the former USSR in 1939, it was taken up in Germany, China, Poland and Bulgaria. The first International Tournament was held in October 1957 in Warsaw with teams from the former USSR and GDR, Bulgaria, Poland. The first European Championships were held in Riga (USSR) in 1978. In October 2011, the 25th European Championships were held in Varna, Bulgaria.
 
In January 1973 representatives from 10 countries met at the Balkan Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the 1st International Federation of Sports Acrobatics (IFSA) was founded. With the formulation of competition rules, regulations and a judging structure, an international family began to grow. As the Sport developed there became an extraordinary camaraderie that is still evident in today's competitive arena. By the time of the merger with FIG in 1998, 54 Countries were affiliated to IFSA.
 
In the Beginning: Left to right – Marian Golema, Poland Vice President IFSA, Emil Glassner West 
Germany, Matyas Hegyi,Hungary Anotli Ropov. USSR, General Secretary, Gennadii Kazadgiev
USSR, President IFSA Technical Committee, Stoil Sotirov, Bulgaria, IFSA President
 
In July 1984 at the ICO session in Lausanne, Sports Acrobatics was given Olympic recognition. There followed high expectation that inclusion in the Olympic program would soon follow. The expectation has proved a disappointment and we continue to strive for Acrobatic Gymnastics to be included as one of the gymnastic disciplines to participate in the Olympic Games.
 
By 1994 there was sufficient activity within Europe to form a continental federation, and the European Sports Acrobatics Federation (EUROSAF) was founded with 27 member Federations. The organisation was to manage European events until 1999 when the first steps were taken to merge with the Union of European Gymnastics [UEG]. The TC committee was made up of some of the stalwarts from European Acrobatics, including Konrad Zielinski [ably assisted by his wife Gizela] and Kurt Becker, both later to be elected onto the ACRO TC / FIG. The organisation relied on funding from membership and entry fees from events, all those involved worked in a voluntary capacity. EUROSAF fulfilled a need of the time helping to build a functional and cohesive unit that was later accepted into the UEG.
 
Delegated to the initiation meeting of EUROSAF 1993
 
Following the IFSA/FIG merger, it was a natural progression for EUROSAF to seek acceptance within the Union of European Gymnastics (UEG), and in January 2000 a merger was finalized.
 
With the support and the organisation ability of the UEG, Acrobatics was able to reform and decide how best the discipline could and should be taken forward. It became part of a family of gymnastic disciplines within the European framework. It was later to be renamed Acrobatic Gymnastics highlighting the basic gymnastic structure. A number of Acrobatic Federation still function independently whist working in unison and being represented by their National Gymnastic Federation.
 
The strong corporate image of the UEG was to be installed within the new ACRO TC. Various new opportunities were presented which would allow us to run course for coaches and give advice on judging and the formulation of development plans. A number of countries new to acrobatics have been introduced by these methods and our work continues. An annual Training Camp has become one of main features and has operated with considerable success across a broad section of European counties.
 
 
The number of participants, coaches and athletes is usually between 60 and 80. We are able to invite some of Europe’s premier coaches to tutor and the results can be witnessed in the new countries now taking part in our Competitions.
 
With the integration of Acrobatics into the FIG there were a number of changes introduced to the competition structure, created to bring the discipline in line with others in the gymnastic family and make the sport more receptive to the Olympic program.
 
Our focus in Europe has been, and in fact still is, to increase the number of participating countries. We continue to work hard to create situations that will help the introduction of acrobatics to all the 47 member federations of the UEG.
 
The progression and the ever rising skill level over recent years have been phenomenal. Acrobatics is an exciting and dynamic medium requiring all the attributes of a true athlete, strength, flexibility, courage and an inherent confidence and ability to work with others.
 
Because of the simplicity of the equipment required it is relatively easy to start up Acrobatics. A gymnastic club with a gymnastic floor or mats should have little, if any difficulty, in setting up the discipline and opening up another facet of the delights and joy that is Gymnastics for their members.
 
 
Laurie Colton –President ACRO TC / UEG