History of the Turners Association
From "Gymnastics" by Peter Tatlow:
Although the origins of gymnastics are to be found with the Greeks, whose interest in physical recreation activities led to
the staging of the original Olympic Games (held from 776BC to AD393), in modern terms two names stand out: Jahn and Ling.
These two men, born in different European countries in the late eighteenth century, were the leaders of simultaneous,
if fundamentally different, campaigns to promote their own visions of what gymnastics should be.
Friedrich Jahn was born at Lanz, near
Wittenberg, Germany, in 1778 and served in the Prussian Army. In 1811 he established
an open-air gymnastics centre on the outskirts of Berlin, the first of its type. He became known as the Turnvater
(father of gymnastics), as he promoted the idea of building strength on apparatus such as parallel bars and the horizontal
bar. In fact, he is generally credited with the creation of these and other gymnastics equipment.
Jahn favored the club environment for encouraging such activities, and his inspiration gave rise nationally to the
Turnverein (gymnastics club). He also included in his gymnastics program such activities as hiking, swimming and
wrestling. To him, gymnastics meant physical exercise in a more general way than perhaps we think of it today.