The uneven bars is an artistic gymnastics event. This event is only performed by female gymnasts. A term for the uneven bars is simply just bars. The bars have a frame made of steel inside with the actual bar made of fiberglass coated with wood. The height of the upper bar is 8.2 feet, the low bar is 5.6 feet with the distance between bars at 4.3 feet. They can extend out to 5.9 feet depending on the height of the gymnast. The gymnasts start off with the basic skills like swings and handstands and then progress to harder skills like releases and aerial twists.
In the 1830’s, a Frenchman named Amoros wrote about the benefits of adjusting the parallel bars so they were at different heights in a textbook titles “Manuel d’education Physique et Morale”. This adjustment was not intended specifically for women. Due to social limitations, women would not participate until later on. At the World Championships in Budapest, the uneven bars were introduced to the public in 1934. At the Berlin Olympics, the bars were chosen as a female event. It was not until 1952 that the bars were included as an Olympic event. Nadia Comaneci was the first to score a perfect 10 on this event in the Olympics of 1976.
The modern uneven bars have to meet specific requirements. Performances on the bars consist of flight element from high bar to low bar and low bar to high bar, a release move on the same bar, two different grips with a close bar circular movement, a turn on the bar and a dismount. Judging of bar routines is based on form, difficulty, technique and composition. Deductions can be caused from poor form, falls, pauses, extra swings that do not lead into another skill, and steps on the dismount. If a gymnast falls off the bars or if the gymnast hits the low bar with her foot then a deduction be incurred.
The parallel bars were first started for men to show all their strength and durability. The uneven bars showed women’s agility, grace, and highlight female strength. While early routines focused on artistic moves, eventually more acrobatics were placed into the routine. The uneven bars performances practically defy the laws of gravity.