This paper concerns a swing-up control problem for a three-link gymnastic planar robot in a vertical plane with its first joint being passive (unactuated) and the rest being active (actuated). The objectives of this paper are to: (1) design a controller under which the robot can be brought into any arbitrarily small neighborhood of the upright equilibrium point, where all three links of the robot remain in their upright positions; and (2) attain a global analysis of the motion of the robot under the controller. To tailor the energy-based control approach to achieve the aforementioned objectives, first, this paper considers the links 2 and 3 as a virtually composite link, and proposes a coordinate transformation of the angles of active joints. Second, this paper constructs a novel Lyapunov function based on the transformation, and devises an energy-based swing-up controller. Third, this paper carries out a global analysis of the motion of the robot under the controller, and establishes some conditions on control parameters for achieving the swing-up control objective. To validate the theoretical results obtained, this paper provides simulation results for a three-link robot with its mechanical parameters being obtained from a human gymnast.