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It is just an extension of physical fitness. The Ancient Greeks liked to keep fit and maintained a Gymnasium in all cities for that purpose. A Gymnasium was simply a large courtyard for jumping and running. Another development led to competition between city states with the winner being granted privileges within his community. Later, as the Greeks had to defend themselves against military aggressors, these courtyards were turned into areas for military training where individual soldiers fought against each other to perfect warlike practices. The Romans tended to extend this practice and introduced a wooden horse into the arena

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(u may refer here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/16001-history-origin-gymnastics/)

Early Origins and The Greeks

Gymnastics as a sport didn't really have one "big bang" moment when it all began. Acrobats entertained the Egyptians over 7,000 years ago and there are frescoes that depict gymnasts on Crete in 2,700 BC. The actual word "gymnastics" is derived from the ancient Greek word "gymnos," which means "nude." This is appropriate as the Greeks did gymnastics in the nude in a building designed for it, complete with baths and changing rooms. The Romans kept the tradition of the Greeks going, adding the use of a wooden horse to running, jumping, Weightlifting, throwing, Wrestling and swimming. The Romans, however, used gymnastics as training for army troops.

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Q: How was gymnastics invented?
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