Rhythmic Gymnastics - London Olympics 2012
During the London 2012 Olympic Games, grace and beauty will be on show throughout the four days of Rhythmic Gymnastics competition at Wembley Arena.
Did you know?
A total of 324 gymnasts will compete in the three disciplines at London 2012.
Six ironing boards and irons will be used during the Rhythmic Gymnastics competition.
Rhythmic gymnastics has its origins in a wide variety of disciplines, including classical ballet.
Venue: Wembley Arena
Dates: Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 August
Medal events: 2
Athletes: 96 (all women)
Rhythmic Gymnastics first appeared during the 19th century, and slowly grew in popularity until the first experimental competitions were staged during the 1930s. Having evolved to incorporate elements from classical ballet, German muscle-building techniques and Swedish exercise systems, it’s one of the most beautiful spectacles on the Olympic programme.
One of just two women-only disciplines in the Olympic Games (the other is Synchronised Swimming), Rhythmic Gymnastics is a combination of gymnastics and dance. Competitors perform short routines to music using hand apparatus – a ball, clubs, a hoop and a ribbon – on a floor area measuring 13m by 13m. Scores are awarded in three categories: difficulty, artistry and execution.
Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics, past and present
The first World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships were held in Budapest in 1963, just over two decades before the discipline made its Olympic debut at the Los Angeles Games of 1984. A group event was added to the programme at the Atlanta 1996 Games.
At London 2012, the Rhythmic Gymnastics competition will take place at Wembley Arena, a world-class multi-purpose venue that will have a capacity of 6,000 spectators.
Ball: Made of rubber or soft plastic, the balls used in Rhythmic Gymnastics must have a diameter of 18-20cm and must weigh at least 400g.
Clubs: Gymnasts work with two bottle-shaped clubs of equal length (40-50cm), each weighing at least 150g.
Hoop: Hoops may be made from wood or plastic, and must have an inner diameter of 80-90cm and must weigh at least 300g.
Performance area: Gymnasts perform on a square competition area, measuring 13m by 13m.
Ribbon: Made from satin or a similar material, ribbons used in Rhythmic Gymnastics must be 7m long, and are attached to a short cane (50-60cm) made from wood, bamboo, fibreglass or plastic.
You may be able to join a club or class at your local leisure centre. Visit British Gymnastics, Active Places and the International Gymnastics Federation for more on the sport.