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balance beam

noun
1.
a narrow wooden rail about 16 feet (5 meters) long and 4 inches (10 cm) wide, set horizontally on upright posts about 4 feet (1.2 meters) from the floor, used for performing feats of balancing and demonstrating gymnastic ability.
2.
a competitive gymnastic event for women in which such an apparatus is used.
Origin
1945-1950
1945-50
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for balance-beam

balance beam

gymnastics apparatus used in women's competition. It is a wooden beam 5 metres (16.4 feet) long, 10 cm (4 inches) wide, and raised 125 cm (4.1 feet) from the floor. The performer begins the exercise by mounting the beam by either a vault or a jump and executes movements that must include steps, running, jumps, turns, sitting positions, and some held, or posed, positions. The duration of the exercise is 70 to 90 seconds. Women were first awarded individual Olympic medals in the event at the 1952 Games

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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