The national governing body in the USA is the USAG, or the United States of America Gymnastics. The USAG has established 10 Junior Olympic levels, according to the World of Gymnastics. Beyond the tenth level, a gymnast competes in elite gymnastics. A gymnast must master the skills of one level before progressing to the next level.
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Levels one through six make up the compulsory level, in which every gymnast performs the same routine in each event. The first three levels are non-competitive with no sanctioned meets. You demonstrate basic skills, body positions and basic techniques in levels one through three. Events include floor exercise, balance beam, vault and the uneven bars.
Level 1 to Level 3
The first level of gymnastics focuses on rudimentary skills like jumping, stretching, rolls and simple dismounts. You must know how to perform an arm circle, punch the springboard and straight jump on a mat for Level 1 vault. You must also perform a 2-foot pullover, a back hip circle, casting and a push away dismount on the uneven bars. Floor exercise includes forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, walks and jumps. These levels also include various basic stretches, walks and dismounts on the balance beam.
Advancement to Levels
You are required to expand on the basic skills you demonstrated in Level 1 to advance to the next levels. Balance beam skills include partial handstands, running steps, pivot turns, split jumps, cartwheels and side-handstand dismounts. You have to do headstands, backbends, plus jumps and turns that are more advanced.
Level 4 bar requirements include glide swings, pullovers and front hip circles. This level requires you to master beam skills -- including leg swing mounts, pivots, more advanced jumps and dismounts. The Level 4 vault is the handstand back flat, where you run towards the vault, launch from the springboard to a handstand on the vault and land on a mat on the other side.
Level 5 and Level 6
You must know how to do stretch and straddle jumps for Level 5, as well as a front handspring, a back extension roll and a round off. Uneven bar routines must include skills like kips, jumps to the high bar, under swings and half-turn dismounts. Many new Level 5 gymnasts struggle with the mount onto the beam and the v-sit. Levels 5 and 6 perform the same front handspring vault.
Levels 7 to 10
Levels 7, 8 and 9 are part of the optional segment of gymnastic levels. The gymnast performs her own choreography at these levels. Level 7 through Level 10 skills are minimal. Officials categorize skills and rate them according to difficulty using a letter system, where A is the easiest skill and E is the most difficult.
Level 7 gymnasts must perform five A skills and two B skills. Level 8 gymnasts must perform four A and four B skills in each routine. Level 7 and Level 8 gymnasts may not perform E skills. Rules require Level 9 gymnasts to perform three As, four Bs and one C while a Level 10 gymnast must do three As, three Bs and two Cs.