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This graceful form of gymnastics began as a means of movement and expression at the end of the 19th and early 20th century. An exclusively feminine discipline, rhythmic gymnastics is halfway between art and sport. Its remote origins are difficult to define. Let us simply remember that it was already practiced in the last century under the guise of group gymnastics with a trace of elementary choreography. In the course of time, its structures were developed, refined and oriented towards an unique and exclusive form of sports competition.
As a sport, Rhythmic Gymnastics started in the former Soviet Union during the 1940’s. It was recognized by the International Gymnastics Federation in 1961. World Championships have been conducted since 1963 (Budapest, Hungary). The first Olympic Games to feature rhythmic gymnastics was in 1984 in Los Angeles, USA, with Canadian Lori Fung being the first gymnast in the History of RG to take an Olympic title (Los Angeles).
Today, rhythmic gymnastics is witnessing a spectacularly rapid development with young people and an impressive echo from the media and the public. The reasons for this growing success are simple. Rhythmics puts expressive young women on stage, artists who are exhausted simultaneously by the technical handling of the apparatus as well as the perfect mastery of body expression. There are four exercises competed on a carpet that is 13 m x 13 m. Each exercise is accompanied by music. The apparatus are the hoop, the ball, the rope, the clubs and the ribbon.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is a purely feminine Olympic discipline. Totally based on floor work, it is performed to music and uses five apparatus: the rope, the hoop, the ball, the clubs, and the ribbon. Individual exercises are limited to 90 seconds per apparatus and emphasize mastery and agility. For example, it is not unusual to see a wide range of highly technical jumps or leaps in rope exercises.
Individual exercises are limited to 90 seconds per apparatus and emphasize mastery and agility. For example, it is not unusual to see a wide range of highly technical jumps or leaps in rope exercises.
The hoop measuring between 80-90 cm in diameter, is rolled over and around the gymnast’s body or used as a prop for highly technical movements on a 13×13 meter floor.
The diameter of the ball is between 18 and 20 cm. Characterized by throws and catches, this apparatus is also used as a prop for floor exercises. The ball is often tossed high up in the air to allow the gymnast to perform rotations before she catches it with any part of her body.
The clubs are 40-50 cm in length. Holding the clubs with both hands, the gymnast performs intricate circular movements. Throws and catches are the significant elements in the handling of this apparatus.
The ribbon measures 6 m and is made of satin. The ribbon creates snakes, spirals, and circular movements, all initiated by the gymnast who is handling the stick to which the ribbon is attached.
In group exercises, five gymnasts work together for a maximum of two and a half minutes per exercise. The choice of the apparatus is determined by the regulations and for each Olympic cycle.