Wheel gymnastics is a form of gymnastics that originated in Germany. Wheel gymnasts perform exercises in a large wheel or hoop, known as Rhönrad, gymnastics wheel, gymnastics wheel or German wheel, in the beginning also known as yro wheel, aero wheel and Rhon rod. The large wheel consists of two parallel circles framed together by six spokes. Two simple tubes, two with a handle and two with a footrest. The diameter of the wheel depends on the length of the gymnast so that the gymnast can hold on to the grips when fully extended.
Wheels are available in diameters from 130 to 245 cm. Wheels weigh from 40 to 60 kg. They are available in several depths and colors. The wheel was invented in 1925 by Otto Faik in Schönau an der Brand. The grandson of a blacksmith, Fake was inspired by a memory of an event from his childhood in Reichenbach, when he tied sticks between two rings made by his grandfather and rolled down a hill.
He applied for a patent as “Wheel-gymnastic and sports equipment”. He invented the wheel in Ludwigshafen am Rhein c. 1920–1922, on the grounds of the VSK Germany sports club, of which he was founding chairman. The patent was issued November 8, 1925; the name “Rönrad” has been registered and protected since 1926. Rhönrad was introduced at the 1926 GeSoLei trade fair in Düsseldorf.
In 1936, the sport was shown at the Berlin Olympics, but was not introduced as an Olympic discipline. The focus of wheel gymnastics remains mainly in Germany, but there are wheel groups in several countries and every 2 years the International Wheel Gymnastics Federation holds a world championship competition. Former world champion wheeled gymnastics Wolfgang Bintzle has moved from Germany to Chicago and runs his own company WHEEL JAM to teach and educate people of all ages in wheeled gymnastics.