In rhythmic gymnastics the athletes perform with equipment instead of on equipment. Gymnasts perform jumps, tosses, leaps and other moves with different types of apparatus, and are judged much more on their grace, dance ability and coordination than their power or tumbling prowess.
Rhythmic gymnastics was added as an Olympic sport in 1984, and competition was held in the individual all-around. In 1996, group competition was added. Participants are female, and must be at least 16 years old by the end of the Olympic year in order to compete.
Top rhythmic gymnasts must have many qualities: balance, flexibility, coordination and strength are some of the most important. They also must possess the ability to compete under intense pressure.
The CompetitionOlympic competition consists of:
- Individual All-Around: An athlete competes on four of the five events (every two years, one apparatus is rotated out for that time period) and the total score is added.
- Group: Five gymnasts compete two different routines. In one routine, all of the athletes use the same piece of apparatus. In the second routine, the gymnasts use two different pieces of equipment (e.g. three gymnasts will use ball and two gymnasts will use hoop). One score is given for each routine, and the two are combined for a total score in the “group all-around.”
five different types of apparatus: rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.
Gold, Silver and BronzeThe top 20 gymnasts from the 2007 World Championships qualified to the Olympics, with a maximum of two gymnasts per country. Four additional women qualified as wild cards to ensure representation by the host country and all of the continents. For group competition, the top 10 groups from the 2007 Worlds qualified, with two additional wild cards.
The individual rhythmic competition at the Olympics consists of two days of preliminary competition (all 24 qualifiers compete). The athletes compete with two apparatus each day, and the top 10 scorers from the four apparatus advance to the all-around final. All 10 gymnasts start from a clean slate in the final, and the medalists are awarded based on the top three scorers of the four apparatus performed that day.
In the group competition, each group performs two routines and the eight groups with the highest score total advance to the final. In the final, all groups start from zero and medals are awarded to the top three groups that day.
Find out about rhythmic gymnastics rules and judging
Go to the Olympic gymnastics main page