26 August 2019

London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to rhythmic gymnastics

June 27, 2012
London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to rhythmic gymnastics

Just like synchronised swimming, rhythmic gymnastics is open only to women and has been part of the Olympic programme since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The sport first started in the Soviet Union during the 1940s so unsurprisingly, the Russians are the dominate force in the sport having won gold in the last three games.

Although they make it look effortless, gymnasts need incredible strength, control and balance in order to do well.

Concentration is also key for the gymnasts. Being judged against such strict criteria, the smallest extra step, wobble, misalignment or mistake in a routine can make all the difference.

Venue: Wembley Arena

Date: August 9 – August 12

Jargon buster

Ball: Made of soft plastic or rubber, the balls are normally 18-20cm in diameter and weight at least 400g.

Clubs: Two bottle-shaped clubs are used by gymnasts. They are between 40-50cm in length and weight at least 150g.

Hoops: Must have an inner diameter of 80-90cm and weight 300g or more. Can be made of either wood or plastic.

Performance area: The 13m by 13m area in which to perform.

Ribbon: Made from satin, 7m long and attached to a cane of 50-60cm.

Basic rules

The gymnasts compete on a carpeted surface that measures 13 x 13 metres and are expected to use the entire area when performing, but must ensure that they do not step outside the boundaries of the floor as this will result in a penalty.

Scores are given by a panel of judges, taking into account the degree of difficulty and the quality of the execution.

During the exercise, the apparatus must be in constant motion, using movements that show variety of shape, amplitude, direction, plane and speed.

Along with events to find the best teams and the best all-around performers, gymnasts battle for medals on individual apparatus aswell.

One to watch

Initially, the GB Rhythmic Gymnastic Team didn’t have a place at London 2012 as they failed to qualify at the test event this January.

The team however appealed to their governing body, arguing they had missed an agreed qualifying standard and as a result, an independent arbitrator made the decision that they did in fact deserve a place at London 2012.

Who to follow on Twitter…


Rhythmic Gymnastics Olympic fact

Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina has 18 Olympic medals, the most ever won by a single athlete in any sport.

The Women’s Sports Magazine

Photo credit: Simon Lewis

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