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Rhythmic Gymnastics Format


Only women compete in rhythmic gymnastics, demonstrating their skills with different apparatus. Gymnasts take part in both individual and team (known as group) competitions. Each routine is choreographed and set to music. 

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 8090 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 1820cm. 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 5060cm 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 area.

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 performed.

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. 2629.

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