Date: 15th November 2013
Location: Colchester School of Gymnastics
Rules: The beam is 1.25m high, 5m long and only 10cm wide. The routine should be a maximum length of 90 seconds and show an artistic combination of leaps, jumps and turns, ending with the dismount. Athletes should use the entire length of the beam, demonstrating elegance, flexibility, rhythm, balance, confidence and control.
London 2012 Winner: Deng Linlin, China.
Sarah: I wasn't too excited at the thought of starting gymnastics; I picked up a few Baga awards in primary school, but that was my last experience of the sport until we took on the trampoline for the Challenge last year. I shouldn't have been nervous though, the club has a really relaxed atmosphere and everyone got on with their own thing; doing eye-watering somersaults, twists and tumbles. We had a practice on the lower training beam and got a bit cocky, thinking it was 'easy'. It turns out the proper beam was way more intimidating, and felt so much higher. It's even narrower than it looks, but we managed some dips, turns and impressive dismounts.
Ellie: Nope - not for one moment did I think this was easy; even on the lower practice beam. It's so high up and so narrow! How the gymnasts are able to do anything other than wobble slowly along, occasionally looking as if they are about to fall off I have no idea - I imagine years of practice and natural skill would have a lot to do with it! That being said, the relaxed atmosphere at Colchester School of Gymnastics meant that there was zero pressure and I had the time to be slow and look clumsy. I managed to do a few dips and also turn and walk like a crab for a second or two. My 'routine' was probably as far from elegant as it's possible to get!