Individuals compete using five apparatus, rope,
hoop, ball, club and ribbon and must perform a routine for each apparatus. The rope is made from hemp, or a similar
material, and its length is relative to the height of the competitor. A
routine with the rope must include at least three leaps. Look for swings, circles, rotations, wraps, unwraps,
figure-eight-type circling movements, throws and catches
of the rope. Gymnasts also leap and jump through the open
or folded rope, held by both hands.
The hoop must have an inner diameter of
80–90 cm. It can be made of either wood or plastic and must weigh at
least 300 grams. Again, in a hoop routine at least three leaps must be
performed. Common movements with the hoop include swings, rolls, tosses
and catches, spins, passes through and over the hoop,
rotations of the hoop on the floor and rotations of the
hoop around the hand and other parts of the body. Most
impressive here are the high throws and complex techniques
for catching the hoop in a different fashion each time.
The ball apparatus is made of rubber or soft
plastic, with a diameter of 18–20cm. It must weigh at least 400 grams.
Waves, circles, throws and catches, movement with the ball
balanced on the hand, bouncing and rolling the ball on the
floor and along parts of the body are all key movements.
The ribbon is a seven centimeters wide strip
made of satin or a similar material. One meter of the ribbon is doubled and attached
by a cord to a stick 50–60cm in length, which the gymnast grasps.
Throughout the routine, the ribbon must be twirled, remaining in motion.
With the club, swings, large circles, small circles, mills, throws and
catches and rhythmical tapping are common tricks.
The competitors use graceful balletic moves and manipulate the various
apparatus in conjunction with their bodies and music on a 13-meter square floor
At Athens, in the individual competition, the gymnasts will perform to
music with the hoop, ball, clubs, or ribbon. In the group competition one
routine with five ribbons and a routine with three hoops and two Balls will be
The gymnasts are expected to use the entire floor area in their routines and
their work with the apparatus should be balanced between each hand equally. The
apparatus is also supposed to stay in constant motion or points will be
deducted. There are three separate panels of judges, one each for the three
different elements of the performance. One panel takes into account the degree
of difficulty in a routine, another considers the choreography and artistry, and
the third evaluates how well the routine was executed and how many technical
mistakes were made.
Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus took home the team honors at the 2003 world
championships. Alina Kabaeva of Russia grabbed the gold in the all-around. Yulia
Barsoukova of Russia won the 2000 Olympic all-around gold, while her home team
took the top group medal.
The rhythmic gymnastics competition will be held at the 6,000-seat Galatsi
Olympic Hall from Aug. 26–29.