Interesting Facts About Rhythmic Gymnastics: Fun Things You Did Not Know

Little-Known Facts about Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is an interesting sport that combines elements of ballet, manipulation, dance, and, of course, gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics is beautiful and artistic as it involves the skillful manipulation of apparatuses like balls, hoops, ribbons, and clubs as well as ropes. Choreographed routines, artistic makeup, and lovely rhythmic gymnastic leotards are also part of this all-round lovely and entertaining sport.

There are some interesting facts about rhythmic gymnastics that are unknown to many. This is why we have compiled a list of amazing facts about this beautiful sport.

Rhythmic gymnastics can be traced back to the 18th century: The idea of rhythmic gymnastics originated from the ideas of Rudolf Bode, Francois Delsarte, and Jean-Georges Noverre, all of who were artists in the 18th century. These men championed the idea that a person could fully express himself or herself through dance and exercising the body.

Peter Henry Ling further developed this idea in the 19th century. This was through the Swedish system of free exercise, where students had the license and freedom to express feelings and movements through dance and movement. The idea of rhythmic gymnastics was then extended to the USA, France, and the Soviet Union.

Subsequently, the first World Championship was hosted by Budapest in 1963; this was for only individual gymnasts. Group competitions were then introduced in 1967 in Copenhagen.

Rhythmic gymnastics is one of the two female-only Olympics sports: There are two female-only Olympic sports, with rhythmic gymnastics being one of them and the other one is synchronized swimming. This has been the status quo since 1984 when the sport was included in the Summer Olympics.

Men are allowed to compete in the women’s competition in two countries namely Spain and Japan. This inclusion is however not recognized by the highest body in rhythmic gymnastics, FIG and as such men are not allowed to participate in this sport at the Olympics. Notwithstanding, there have been men’s rhythmic gymnastics world championship with Japan hosting the first one in 2003.

Participants came from Korea, Canada, Malaysia, the United States of America, and the host country, Japan. There have been called for the inclusion of men’s category in rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympics in recent times, but not much has come of it.  

Gymnasts peak at a very young age: Athletes that participate in rhythmic gymnastics start their training very early, in their pre-teenage to be precise. It is a sport that requires a lot of flexibility and starting early helps girls develop the best physical abilities required to compete.

To compete in the Olympics, gymnasts must have clocked 16 years of age. In most cases, rhythmic gymnasts reach their peak in their late teens around the ages of 18 and 19. Although rhythmic gymnastics might be quite tough as a sport, it is quite fulfilling, and also bring great satisfaction for the gymnasts.

Communication is not allowed: One of the most interesting facts about rhythmic gymnastics is that gymnasts are not allowed to speak to each other during a routine. Communication with the coach is also prohibited as well. This is one of the most important rules of the sport. A penalty is issued out should this rule be broken.

There is a number of other actions that may result in a penalty. It includes a competitor's body or apparatus leaving the floor area, failing to end the routine in sync with the music, or having a routine longer or way shorter than the time required. Music and costume can also attract penalties if they do not conform to the regulations. There are certain rules to follow when making competition costumes. The custom leotard should meet these requirements; under the lace inserts there should be a lining.

The first rhythmic gymnastics Olympic medalist was Canadian: One would think that due to the origin of the sport, a European would be the first recipient of an Olympic medal. This, however, turned out to be Lori Fung from Canada.

Lori Fung won her medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. She is one of the most successful rhythmic gymnasts of all time as she also won the Canadian championships seven times. Her accomplishments saw her awarded the Order of British Columbia as well as the Order of Canada; the highest Canadian civilian award.

The panel consists of three judges: The panels in rhythmic gymnastics have three judges, with each panel having specific roles. These panels are artistic judge panel, execution judge panel, and the technical judge panel. The duty of the artistic judge panel is to judge the expression, originality, and structure of the gymnast's composition. The technical judge panel, on the other hand, is in charge of scoring body movements, jumps, balances, arm movements, flexibility, and acrobatic movement as well as combined series. The execution judge panel look out for the mistakes that occur during routines. The things they pay attention to include lack of synchronizations, heavy landing in jumps, and insufficient extensions.

Scoring in rhythmic gymnastics is quite straightforward, with a total score of 20 points. Execution is awarded 10 points, technical value 6 points, and artistic value 4 points.

Although rhythmic gymnastics is a tough sport, there is a great satisfaction to be enjoyed. Gymnasts pay great attention to detail and practice their routines for hours. There are a lot of benefits to be enjoyed from this sport. It instills positive traits like dedication and hard work. Gymnasts also have a great means of expressing their feelings through dance, ballet and all the artistic movements involved in rhythmic gymnastics.

All in all, it is a wonderful sport which builds up the mind and body, helping gymnasts to express themselves in the best way possible.