Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic Gymnastics
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Rhythmic Gymnastics

Although it's quite new as a competitive sport, rhythmic gymnastics is rooted in the very beginning of modern gymnastics. Specifically, it grew out of the Swedish system of free exercise developed in 1814 by Peter Henry Ling.

Ling promoted "aesthetic gymnastics", in which students expressed their feelings and emotions through bodily movement. The idea was extended by Catherine E. Beecher, founder of the Western Female Institute in Ohio in 1837. In Beecher's gymnastics program, called "grace without dancing", young women exercised to music, moving from simple calisthenics to more strenuous activities.

During the 1880s, Emil Dalcroze of Switzerland developed "eurhythmics", a form of physical training for musicians and dancers, and George Demeny of France created various exercises to music that were designed to promote grace of movement, muscular flexibility, and good posture.

All of those strains were combined, around 1900, into the Swedish school of rhythmic gymnastics, which later added more dance elements from Finland. About the same time, Ernest Idla of Estonia established a degree of difficulty for each movement.

After World War II, scoring methods, based partly on Idla's degree of difficulty tables, were developed in Europe to create the competitive form of rhythmic gymnastics, which was recognized as a sport by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in 1962.

Although rhythmic gymnastics was introduced to North America in 1906 by a Finnish-Canadian athletic club in Toronto, the sport didn't gain much popularity. But during the 1960s, Evelyn Koop began taking teams from her Toronto Kalev-Estienne Club on tours of the country, giving exhibitions.

The sport was then known as "modern gymnastics" in Canada, and the Canadian Modern Gymnastics Federation was founded in 1969 as the national governing body. The first national championships were held the following year. The CMGF was renamed the Canadian Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation in 1971 and the word "modern" was dropped from the group's name in 1981.

In the United States, the sport is governed by USA Gymnastics, which also governs artistic gymnastics.

Ten European countries took part in the first world championships, held in 1973 in Budapest, Hungary. The United States didn't begin competing in the biennial world meet until 1973.

Individual rhythmic gymnastics was added to the Olympic program in 1984 and team competition was added at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Conduct of Competition

Five types of hand apparatus are used in rhythmic gymnastics: ball, club, hoop, ribbon, and rope. Each has to meet very stringent specifications as to size, weight, color, and material.

In the individual event, a competitor performs one routine, 60 to 90 seconds in length, with each type of apparatus. Each routine, usually done to piano music, combines elements of dance and acrobatics with graceful, dexterous manipulation of the apparatus, including tosses and catches.

Two different panels judges the routine, with one panel judging the composition while the other judges execution. Composition includes the elements incorporated into the routine, and the originality with which they're put together, while execution is based largely on fluidity of line and movement, gestures, and facial expressions. Vigorous acrobatics count little in judging and,in fact, may lower a competitor's score. Some movements, such as aerials and handsprings, are


Group competition involves five athletes working as a team. Two routines are required. In the first, a single type of apparatus, chosen by the competition committee, is used. In the second, all five types are used.

In addition to the elements involved in individual competition, group routines must include exchanges of apparatus among athletes.

Both types of competition take place on a 13 by 13-meter (about 41 by 41-feet) carpet. There are automatic deductions for not using the entire area and for stepping outside the limit.

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  • 来源:外教社 2015-07-17