In this context, the World Gymnaestrada, the official world event of the FIG for Group Gymnastics is of special importance. It encompasses events from the entire field of Group Gymnastics which are carried through without competitions. Gymnaestradas are gymnastic festivals and events where everyone participates actively. The name Gymnaestrada is a constructed word with multiple meanings: "Gymna" stems from the English "gymnastics", "Strada" stands for "street". This word points out the goal of the Gymnaestrada - to present the development and the findings of Group Gymnastics.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The origin of the Gymnaestrada, the World Gymnastics Festival can be traced back to the national gymnastic festivals. These kind of national festivals already existed in the second half of the 19th century in Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. A similar event was the Sokol Festival in today's Czechoslovakia. These festivals started out as purely national events, later on foreign guests were invited. The idea of international gymnastics festivals was first realized in 1939. 12 countries attended the first Lingiade. At the second Lingiade, 14 countries participated with 110 groups. Both Lingiades were international gymnastic festivals organized by the Swedish Gymnastics Association. At the General Assembly of the FIG 1949, J.H.F. Sommer from the Netherlands proposed to carry out an international gymnastic festival organized by the FIG. In 1950, the FIG General Assembly decided to integrate an International Gymnastic Festivals into their official event program called "Gymnaestrada". The first Gymnaestrada took place in 1953 in Rotterdam. 1957 Zagreb followed, then 1961 Stuttgart, 1965 Vienna, 1969 Basel, 1975 Berlin, 1982 Zurich, 1987 Herning and - now by the name of "World-Gymnaestrada" - 1991 Amsterdam , 1995 Berlin and 1999 Göteborg. In 2003 Lisbon will follow and so on in a 4-year-rhythm. The World Gymnaestradas have now established a tradition and is thus gaining more and more importance.
OBJECTIVES OF THE WORLD-GYMNAESTRADA
The World-Gymnaestrada aims at making the value and versatility of Group Gymnastics known all over the world, awaken people's interest in movement and sports activities, present the newest findings and the development of Group Gymnastics and, last not least, bring men and women gymnasts all over the world together in order to contribute to a better understanding between the peoples. With its goals the Gymnaestrada equally wants to promote health, fitness and solidarity of all the participants. The following link will take you to a page filled with information and forms related specifically to the 12th World Gymnaestrada being held in Lisbon, Portugal: http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/gg/wg/2003/WGBul1GB.pdf