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Gymnastics is the most difficult sport in the world for men and women

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2016 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,380 times Debate No: 85357
Debate Rounds (3)
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Pound-for-pound the best athletes on the planet, could just be gymnasts." -John Brenkus ESPN Sport Science

Gymnastics is an all-around sport not concentrating on just one specific area of the body. Not only does it prepare the physical body for impacts on metal bars and hard mats but prepare the mind to think in areas of under 1 second.

First I would like to look at the balance of the gymnasts. In women's gymnastics an event is about the same width as the white sideline of a basketball court. This event was specifically made for balance, hence the name of the balance beam. The center of balance in a woman is lower in the body near the hips while the center of balance in a man is higher up near the chest. During the routine the gymnast can rotate up to 600 degrees per second. this means you traveling 45 feet per second which is basically traveling almost half a basketball field in a few seconds without deviating from the white sidelines of the field.

The second part of gymnastics I would like to look at is spatial awareness. If you've ever watched gymnastics, which you should if you haven't, you notice that they can travel very high in a short time. Doing some of the basic swings on a men's high bar adds 9 times the normal weight of your body on your shoulders. this much weight allows the bar to bend and act like sling shot and launch you upwards. If you don't already know gravity pulls you down at around 9.8 m/s/s not leaving much time to "find" the bar, because of this a gymnast needs to know exactly where they are and how far/long they have to catch the bar. Not only on the high bar but also the vault, an average gymnast can propel themselves at least 10-13 feet above the floor. not to mention spinning exceptionally fast they need to be able to identify how high they are so they can land on their feet, or if they miss at least they can land safer than landing on their head.

Finally I would like to look at the possibility of loss of skills. If you take a month off of playing a sport such as football or soccer you may be a little tired or a little sloppy but it takes a few minutes to refine everything again unlike in gymnastics where if you miss a month of practice you can lose lots of skills which take a long time to get back because you need to regain the strength and the technique of the skill making gymnastics one of the hardest sports in the world.


Anyone who has put on boxing gloves to do a class, workout, or even to hit the heavy bag can attest to the difficulty and stamina it takes to box. The standard three-minute round sounds like a short duration, but many of the longest moments of my life have occurred during those three minutes while boxing.

Even thirty seconds can be a deceiving. Try punching with all-out speed and power on a heavy bag for a thirty second sprint and you"ll know what I am talking about. Add in the variable of someone punching you while you"re trying to punch and you"ll understand why boxing is the most difficult sport.

toughest sport, hardest sport, why boxing is hard, boxing is toughest sport

In its analysis, ESPN took ten different athletic categories and ranked each category with a scale of zero to a hundred in degree of difficulty. The categories included every imaginable facet of athleticism from speed and power to hand-eye coordination. The aforementioned golf scored a respectable and understandable 6.38 on analytic aptitude, but a paltry 1.63 in the speed category. The big three were all in the top ten of the toughest sports - football at third, basketball at fourth, and baseball at ninth.

But boxing took the cake with high scores across the board. From power to durability, boxing is one tough sport according to the experts. However, it isn"t just the typical athletic variables that make boxing hard. Yes, it takes incredible endurance and strength to box, but more than anything, it takes nerve. According to ESPN, this was boxing"s most pronounced athletic category - nerve, or the ability to overcome fear. When it comes to nerve, boxing scored an 8.88 average, among the top four of all sports.

Fear and the Ability to Face It

There are a lot of tough sports out there. Golf seems so hard that I have wanted to break every club in my bag while on the course. I remember football practices back in the day that made me want to throw up. Wrestling is as rigorous as it gets in terms of its grueling conditioning.

Still, the sheer mental and physical exhaustion in a boxing ring is indescribable, even at the amateur level. It"s not just physical exhaustion, but also the mental concentration required in boxing. It"s the willingness to confront not only your opponent, but also your own fear. That reason, fear, as ESPN indirectly pointed out, is the reason more than any other that boxing is the most difficult sport. Nothing drains you and creates exhaustion like fear.

Fear occurs in many sports. Skiing and surfing can be dangerous, but the mountain and ocean are not trying to destroy you on purpose. In football, a knockout may be a byproduct, but it isn"t the goal. In boxing, your opponent has one objective - to hurt you. This makes boxing intoxicating, brutal, and barbaric, as well as one damn tough sport.

toughest sport, hardest sport, why boxing is hard, boxing is toughest sport

Boxing ain't for the faint of heart. Having coached boxing, I can tell you that boxing is not for most people. The only way to box with any proficiency is to face this fear - the fear of getting hit, hurt, or worse. Still, facing fear is why I love the sport so much. It is a metaphor for life. We all take hits and learning how to take them and fight back is a lesson we encounter in life many, many times.

The Hardest Skill to Master, in Sport and Life

As for which sport produces the best athletes, the debate rages on. I still think the big three are hard to beat on overall athletic ability. But an elite-level athlete in one of those sports does not necessarily translate to an elite boxer.

USA Boxing was so desperate for talent in preparation for the last Olympic games that they chose former college football quarterback Dominic Breazeale to represent Team USA in the super heavyweight division. The experiment failed as Breazeale lost in the first round of the Olympics. A great athlete doesn"t necessarily make a great boxer and vice versa.

Ultimately, boxing is an incredible display of many athletic variables. Really though, boxing is about that ability to measure nerve or fear. That is the hardest skill to master in both sport and life. To ride the wave effortlessly with the knowledge that wave could potentially kill you is the most mysterious and intriguing athletic variable in any sport.

Boxing is full of this intrigue, mystery, and raw competition. Boxing is also dangerous and detrimental to your health. Despite its flaws, boxing is the pinnacle when it comes to the true test of difficulty in athletic skill. This is why fighters fight for one word more than any other - respect.
Debate Round No. 1


To start I would like to state my variety of sports. I have done boxing, MMA, UFC fighting, karate, swimming, gymnastics and more. I have been in a ring with someone bigger than me and had to face my fear of getting hit, I have been fighting since I was about 8 and have been doing gymnastics since I was six. Currently I am no longer doing competitive fighting but I still compete in gymnastics it is exhilarating and utterly terrifying at the same time.

Some of the greatest fears of gymnast is, of course, dying on the equipment. Their have been many incidents where equipment, from the gym and from the gymnast, that have malfunctioned and resulted in permanent injuries or worse. I have seen incidents of grip lock, this occurs when the dowel of your grips get locked on the bottom part of your buckle or Velcro hold, and shattered an arm on the high bar making it impossible for this child to rejoin gymnastics and crippled him for life.

Facing your fears is not only faced in boxing, 2 years before the 2012 Olympics John Orozco injured his knee and was out for two months and yet still competed in the world gymnastics competition America VS. the world. He along with Paul Reggeri were two of the most important people on the team AND competed in the Olympics placing 2nd-All-Around, High Bar; 3rd-Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Parallel Bars; 4th-Floor eXercise; 6th-VaulT(T).

Respect is also something that not only boxers fight for. Respect is a universal goal that all people fight for even if they know it or not. Respect can be fought for in many ways whether it's punching someone or using a speech to tell a dream you have for your country or children.

If fear is the only thing that a your fighters have to worry about then gymnastics already has them beat in that aspect. Gymnast must not only overcome the fear of messing up and landing wrong or worse but they also have to process where they are in space again referring back to my first argument of spatial awareness. Without the strong mind of a gymnast and the processing power of their seasoned brains in spatial awareness they would fall and more dangerously than not if they had not trained their minds to be "quick on their feet".

And again boxers are outmatched in a physical aspect as well entirely because they focus explicitly on their arms which leaves them relatively weaker on the lower parts of their bodies where as a gymnast must work every part of their body so that they can perform the best way possible because most to all events require the same amount of upper body and lower body strength plus they work on all parts of their body so they don't look like a wine glass.


BRUHv2 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Since my opponent hasn't posted anything I have nothing to answer to because of their is no challenge


BRUHv2 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by FuckleBerryJuJu 2 years ago
This argument is subjective, if your raised competing sports that sport will come easier to you than it will for say a person in there 20's to learn the techniques etc..

Try to golf, without being brought up golfing. I know extremely athletic people who have been trying to learn how to skate for years. Every sport has it's own degree of difficulty, in terms of all around skills maybe gymnastics is the most demanding, but I guarantee if you take identical twins who have never played any sports in their life and tried to have one learn gymnastics and one learn how to golf, the one learning gymnastics will be more successful and a lot quicker as well.
Posted by Tashasays 2 years ago
I have done many sports recreationally including kick-boxing, aikido, swimming, skiing, horseback riding, surfing, rock climbing and volleyball. These are sports that I did regularly, not just a few times, but the most demanding sport by far was gymnastics. No other sport came close to matching the strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and focus that is required to do gymnastics.
Posted by PointyDelta 2 years ago
I might take this after I finish my doping debate.

You do need to define 'hardest'
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