Gymnastic is a very old sport whose roots date back to ancient times. In the modern era, gymnastics was organised very early on as the International Gymnastics Federation, founded in 1881, is the oldest international sports federation in the world. Rhythmic gymnastics, however, only developed more recently. Its clearest roots lie in late 19th and early 20th century Europe. In 1963, the first World Championships were held in Budapest, with the recognition of the International Gymnastics Federation. Ten years later, the discipline really started to develop on the world stage when the US took part in the 1973 World Championships.
Brief overview of the rules
Rhythmic gymnastics combines elements of traditional dance and artistic gymnastics, making use of four apparatus: a ribbon, a hoop, a ball and clubs. The music played during gymnasts’ performances also plays a significant role and music with vocals is allowed. Rhythmic gymnastics is a women‑only discipline.
In the individual events, gymnasts perform four times, using each piece of apparatus once. Each performance must be 75 to 90 seconds long. In the group events, teams of five gymnasts perform twice using multiple apparatus at the same time. In this event, each performance must last between 2 minutes 15 seconds and 2 minutes 30 seconds. Penalties are applied if routines go over or fall short of these time limits.
Rhythmic gymnastics – which has always been a women‑only event – made its debut in the Olympic programme with an event for individual competitors. A group event was introduced 12 years later in Atlanta 1996.
Eastern European countries and particularly Russia heavily dominate in this sport; Russia for example has taken home 10 out of 15 titles on offer since rhythmic gymnastics joined the Olympic programme. Only Spain and Canada have managed to challenge their supremacy and take home medals.
Venue in 2024
International federation : International Gymnastics Federation
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