Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport which encapsulates the importance of grace and performance within the scope of sports. It is dominated by girls, although there are a number of male athletes who compete in its’ circuit, particularly in Japan. The sport takes place on an area known as a platform, similar to where gymnasts compete for floor routines. It also includes five disciplines, and four of these are picked in each competition, so competitors must be competent in each of the disciplines as they could be doing different disciples each time they compete. The five apparatus used are: the rope, the ribbon, the clubs, the ball, and the hoop.
To perform with the rope, one usually sees leaps and skips to complement the explosive equipment. By contrast, the ball is a gentle, lyrical piece of apparatus which requires the utmost balance. The use of the clubs challenges the athlete’s coordination as they are swung, tossed and caught constantly through the performance, whereas the ribbon is the epitome of grace and beauty in skill and it twists around the athlete. Lastly, the hoop requires immense technical skill, including a range of movement, jumps, and leaps, whilst keeping the hoop in constant motion.
Rhythmic gymnasts must be strong, supple and flexible athletes with incredible hand-eye coordination and a high level of musical rhythm. All of these skills can be learned with a lot of practice, and so, like all sports, rhythmic gymnastics is perfectly accessible to anyone who wishes to train in it. Indeed, many young girls enjoy this sport because of the beauty of the art, plus, who doesn’t like the idea of waving ribbons around and catching clubs like a pro? It sounds like a lot of fun to me!
It is judged, in competition, by a minimum of 5 judges, and can be done individually or as part of a team. Each individual can gain a maximum of ten points per apparatus, making a maximum total of forty points! In a team, all the individual points of the team members are added together to make a team total. This sport has been a part of the Olympics since 1984 too! So if you train really hard, maybe you’ll be competing in one of the next Olympic Games! Of course, it’s not all about competition. If you just fancy learning the skills as a hobby that’s great too! Either way I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun!