Rhythmic Gymnastics is an exclusive women's sport and belongs to the most attractive and beautiful disciplines. It’s a symbiosis of ballet and the most difficult acrobatic movements to music. Gymnasts perform on the carpet floor with one of the five apparatuses: rope, ribbon, ball, hoop or clubs. Very young gymnasts may perform a free routine without an apparatus. The routines are choreographed to present perfect harmony of the movements with the music. There are three elements to be judged: technical difficulty, execution and artistic expression. To master their routines gymnasts are required a very high level of coordination and corporal flexibility. Femininity and elegance as well as the artistic expression of the gymnasts never fail to fascinate the public. It’s hard to disagree with an opinion that Rhythmic Gymnastics is the most beneficial discipline to harmoniously develop a young female’s body, psyche and mind.
Rhythmic gymnastics as a sport began in the 1940s in the Soviet Union. It was there that for the first time, the spirit of sports was combined with the sensuous art of classical ballet. To Isidora Duncan, famous American dancer, we credit the rebellion against the dogma of classical ballet and the shift toward the creation of a new discipline that would blend art and sport. In 1920s she came to Moscow, Russia and created the experimental school of modern barefoot dance which many consider as a cradle of the new discipline of sport.
The first Rhythmic Gymnastics tournament was held in Tallinn, Estonia in 1947. The participants were gymnasts from Soviet Republics: Russia, Georgia and the Baltic States. The FIG recognized this discipline in 1961, first as modern gymnastics, then as rhythmic sportive gymnastics, and finally as rhythmic gymnastics. The first World Championships for individual gymnasts took place in 1963 in Budapest, Hungary. Groups were introduced at the same level in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rhythmic gymnastics was added to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, with an Individual All Around competition. The Group competition was added to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Traditionally RG is very popular in Europe where RG tournaments gather huge audiences. In many European countries RG is a part of school PE curriculum for girls. Among biggest world RG superpowers are Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Belarus. In Western Europe Spain, France, Italy and Greece show the biggest achievements. But Europe’s monopoly for high achievements soon may be over. RG has been spreading rapidly all over the world since the yearly 1990’s. The competition is much tougher now. At the last World Championships representatives of all five continents were present.