Gymnastics – Rhythmic

Rhythmic Gymnastics is one of the three disciplines of the Olympic sport of Gymnastics.

Did you know?

A total of 324 gymnasts will compete in the three disciplines in Olympic Gymnastics – Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline.
The word ‘Gymnastics’ comes from the Greek for ‘naked’ – early gymnasts used to perform without any clothes.

Key facts

Dates: Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2
Athletes: Individual – 24, groups – 12

Rhythmic Gymnastics: a history of the sport

Rhythmic Gymnastics evolved in the 1800s from a host of related disciplines. It incorporated elements from classical ballet, such as pliés and arabesques, as well as the German system of emphasising apparatus work for muscle development and the Swedish method of using free exercise to develop rhythm.

Originally group gymnastics with some choreography, it grew slowly until the first experimental competitions appeared in eastern Europe in the 1930s.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) recognised rhythmic gymnastics as an official discipline in 1963, and a year later organised an international tournament in Budapest. In 1964 the tournament was officially declared the first Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships. Ludmila Savinkova of the Soviet Union became the first world champion.

The number of athletes grew as interest spread to other parts of the world. Gymnasts from the United States first appeared at the championships in 1973.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Games

The sport of Gymnastics has featured in all of the modern Olympic Games.

Rhythmic Gymnastics was introduced at Los Angeles 1984.

How the competition runs

Rhythmic Gymnastics is for women only, and is a combination of gymnastics and dance.

Gymnasts perform short routines to music using a small piece of hand apparatus – a rope, hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon. There are events for both individual gymnasts and groups (of five women).

Scores are awarded by three panels of judges who assess the difficulty, artistry and execution of each exercise.

Jargon buster

  • Ball: The ball must be made of rubber or soft plastic, with a diameter of 18-20cm. It must weigh at least 400g.
  • Hoop: The hoop may be made of wood or plastic, with an inner diameter of 80 to 90 centimetres. It must weigh at least 300 grams. 
  • Rope: The rope, made from hemp or a similar material, has no set length because it is relative to the height of the gymnast. 
  • Clubs: Gymnasts work with two bottle-shaped clubs of equal length, 40-50cm, resembling a slender tenpin bowling pin in shape. Clubs are made of wood or plastic and weigh at least 150g.

Get involved

If you’ve been inspired to start Gymnastics, you will probably be able to join a club or class at your local leisure centre. Visit British Gymnastics, Active Places and the International Gymnastics Federation.

The Italian team perform at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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