Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is one of the most elegant sport events. It's elegant because mixes physical abilities with dance and that too rhythmically. So the name rhythmicgymnastics. There was a time when it was known as rhythmic sportivegymnastics. But, that's past. Now, it's only rhythmic gymnastics. The sport also brings together the elements of ballet, gymnastics and theatrical dance


When performing the sport, competitors must use a number of tools, which include ropes, clubs, hoops and ribbons


The origin of rhythmic gymnastics is not very clear. Though there are a number of theories, the most popular one is that it started in Scandinavia during the 19th century when a couple of schools decided to introduce gymnastics that had an elegant factor in it. Though it was originally meant for physical fitness for girls, it was later recognized as a sport during the 1950s. The first world championships were held in 1963 in Budapest, Hungary


As far as scoring is considered in rhythmic gymnastics, it was Ernest Idla of Estonia who developed it. The sport was introduced in the US in 1906. First Rhythmic World Championship was held in Budapest, athletes from 10 countries participated. In 1984 Olympics gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics individual all-round competition was held for the first time


During a performance, gymnasts display their skills on a carpet having background music. Whenever a competition takes place, a gymnast/ gymnasts perform leaps, pivots, balances and many other stunts for demonstrating their flexibility and coordination. In a solo performance, each display lasts around 1 minute and 15 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds, while group routines last from 2 minutes 15 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds


Competitions are generally divided into juniors (under 16 years) and seniors (for 16 and above). As the sport need a lot of hard work and balancing qualities, gymnasts start to practice at a very young age? In most occasions, all the big winners in this game have been those people who are in their late teens. The biggest events in the sport are the Olympic Games, World Championships, and Grand-Prix Tournaments


A natural question that comes to mind is what the difference between rhythmic and artistic gymnastics is. In artistic gymnastics, acrobatic skills are not allowed, and if a gymnast tries to do acrobatic stunts, she will be penalized.


The sport is governed by the Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG). Prior to 2001, judging was on a scale of 10 but was later changed to a 30-point scale in 2003. But then a change took place again with the scoring points being brought back to 20.


Though rhythmic gymnastics is a sport for women and girls, but of late a lot of men participate in it. The rules remain the same that includes hand/body-eye co-ordination, but tumbling, strength, power, and martial arts skills are the main focus


But lovers of gymnastics beware. It is considered to be a dangerous sport because of the pace at which performers have to do stunts. There have been occasions where gymnasts have been seriously injured and even paralyzed after falling down. So, before one wishes to be gymnast, it is important to know the rules of the game and ensure lessons are learnt from the trainer.