Just four inches wide, the balance beam challenges gymnasts because they must execute routines that give the impression that they are performing on the floor. The world’s best seem to “attack” the beam and are very confident while demonstrating excellent height, flexibility, and power.

The beam routine may not exceed 90 seconds and must cover the entire length of the beam. Gymnasts must use acrobatic and dance movements to create high points or peaks in the exercise, consisting of two or more elements performed in a series.

It takes courage and concentration to perform difficult tumbling and dance skills on the thin beam. Gymnasts often dread the event because a fall off the apparatus means a 1.00 deduction!