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Rhythmic gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics
le 06 November 2020

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 is expression through movement. It combines elements of traditional dance and artistic gymnastics, making use of four apparatus: ribbon, hoop, 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. The group event sees groupes of five gymnasts performing twice. In this event, the first performance includes one set of apparatus, and the second performance includes two different apparatus. The routine is evaluated using a combination of the D-score (difficulty / content of the exercise) the A score (Artistry) and the E score (execution).

Olympic history

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 17 titles on offer since rhythmic gymnastics joined the Olympic programme. Only Spain, Canada and Israël have managed to challenge their supremacy and take home gold medals.

Events in 2024

The rhythmic gymnastics events will take place between the 8th and the 10th of August.

  • Individual all-around (women)
  • Group event (women)

Venue in 2024

International organisation

International federation : International Gymnastics Federation

© Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images