Rhythmic sports gymnastics

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Rhythmic gymnastics (clubs)
Sporthilfe surcharge stamp for the introduction of the RSG at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles

Rhythmic gymnastics (short RSG ) or rhythmic gymnastics (short RG , English rhythmic gymnastics ) is a turn sport . It arose from competitive gymnastics with and without hand-held devices and is performed with music. RSG is mainly characterized by gymnastic and dance elements and requires a high degree of body control, a sense of balance and rhythm. Rhythmic gymnastics is a purely women's sport, even if the first RSG competitions for men have been held in Japan and Spain in recent years .

There are five hand tools in rhythmic gymnastics: rope, hoop, ball, club and ribbon. In the age groups up to twelve years, an exercise is carried out without a handheld device.

Rhythmic gymnastics has been Olympic since 1984 . In Germany it is represented by the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB), in Switzerland by the Swiss Gymnastics Association (STV) and in Austria by the Austrian Professional Association for Gymnastics (ÖFT). International Rhythmic Gymnastics is the same as General Gymnastics , Artistic Gymnastics , Trampoline Gymnastics , Sports Aerobics and Acrobatic Gymnastics by the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) and the LEL (European Gymnastics Union) represented.

The gymnasts

Young gymnasts during training

The girls usually start the sport very early and reach their peak performance at around 15 to 22 years of age. As a rule, gymnasts finish their careers before the age of thirty.

Suitability for rhythmic sports gymnastics

The ability to cope quickly with changed motor situations and, if necessary, to master new tasks, is independent of growth and characterizes athletic talents. A comparison of 41 top Italian athletes in rhythmic gymnastics with 59 athletes of the same sport who were active at regional level showed that the best were able to learn new exercise elements significantly faster. The speed and above all the accuracy of learning new exercises is considered to be the best indicator for determining talent - better than the common skill tests.

Rules (summary)

In the Code of Points (CoP), the FIG defines all rules. It is revised every year in order to enable the comparatively young sport to progress and to ensure an assessment that is as objective as possible. Most recently, a completely new CoP was published in 2017 and the evaluation of the exercises greatly changed. For example, the maximum number of points that can be achieved has been abolished. The rating is therefore open to the top, there is no longer a perfect grade.


Rhythmic gymnastics is performed on a 13 × 13 m competition area with hoops , clubs , ropes , ribbons and balls in harmony with music . The gymnast shows a 1:15 to 1:30 minute long exercise with one of the handheld devices. In the group, five gymnasts do gymnastics at the same time and use five identical hand devices or a mixture of two devices (e.g. three balls and two bands), the exercises last 2:15 to 2:30 minutes. Until 1994 a group consisted of six gymnasts.


All exercises must be performed with musical accompaniment; all musical instruments and the use of the voice as an instrument are permitted. Since 2013, every gymnast has been able to present two exercises with singing with words. Nowadays most of the music is played from CD or a computer. Live music by a musician was allowed until 2014. In the first decades of the RSG competition, only the accompaniment of piano music from tape or by a pianist was permitted.


According to the Code of Points, leotards must be tight-fitting and may be worn with or without sleeves and a short skirt. Pantyhose are also allowed.

Evaluation of the exercise

A judge consisting of several judges evaluates the gymnast's exercise according to the specified criteria. Since 2017, the final grade has been made up of the difficulty value (“D”, no maximum value) and the execution (“E”, max. 10 points), which are added together. General deductions are subtracted from the score.

Difficulty value

The gymnasts can show different difficulty elements in order to achieve the highest possible difficulty value.

Physical difficulties
Split jump with back bend

The body difficulties are subdivided into the areas “jumps”, “turns” and “stands” (these are elements). Tables in the Code of Points show how many points an element of physical difficulty counts if it is carried out properly. If the item is not shown technically correctly, it will only be partially recognized or not recognized at all. The gymnasts then only receive part of the points or no points for this element.

Dance steps

These are related step sequences that a gymnast must complete with or without equipment. These step sequences are also called rhythmic steps and must be present at least once in the exercise, so that these steps also count, they must be 8 seconds long.

Dynamic elements with rotation and throw (DER)

DER elements consist of a high throw of the handheld device, the execution of at least two turns around any body axis during the flight phase of the device and the safe catching of the device. The value of the DER can be increased by additional criteria, such as catching without using the hands or performing additional body rotations. If the device is not caught at the end of the DER element, the element is rated with zero points. A maximum of three DER elements may be shown.


With "Apparatus Difficulty" elements (ADs), the gymnast must show a combination of technical elements and meet at least two of the specified criteria. This includes, for example, working with the device outside the field of vision, without using the hands or while rotating the body. The gymnast receives between 0.2 and 0.4 points for each AD element. The number of points depends on the criteria shown. If the device is not thrown, you get 0.2 points for the AD. If the device is thrown in connection with two criteria, then that gives 0.3 points. If the device is caught after a big throw and two criteria are met, that gives 0.4 points.

Special features group
RSG group

In the group there are additional points in the difficulty value for changing the hand tools between the gymnasts by throwing them. All gymnasts must be involved in the change. The value of the change can be increased by additional criteria, such as changing devices over a large distance or dropping them without using the hands. In addition, the groups must show at least six elements with the collaboration of the gymnasts. You have to touch your body or the hand tools. These elements can also be upgraded with additional criteria.


In the execution grade, a point is deducted for every artistic or technical error, for example in the areas of unity of composition, implementation of music, body expression and use of space. Depending on the type of error, 0.1 to 0.7 points are deducted.


There are many different general penalties, for example leaving the competition area during the exercise will be penalized by a 0.3 point deduction. Late appearing on the competition area, improper clothing or exceeding the permitted duration of an exercise will also be punished with deductions. If the device leaves the competition area this is deducted 1.0 point, even if the device falls on the ground (within the area) this is a deduction of 0.5 points.

Age groups

Internationally, gymnasts from the age of 16 are allowed to start with the seniors, whereby the calendar year is decisive. The juniors must be between 13 and 15 years old. In Germany, the age and performance classes are divided by the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) as follows. The requirements in the competition classes are somewhat lower than in the performance classes and are set by the DTB.

abbreviation designation Age Competition program
Performance class single
MK Master class 16 and older 4 exercises with device
JLK13 / 14/15 Junior performance class 13/14/15 years 4 exercises with device
JLK12 Junior performance class 12 12 years 3 exercises with device, 1 without
JLK11 Schoolgirl performance class 11 11 years 2 exercises with device, 1 without
SLK10 Schoolgirl performance class 10 ten years 2 exercises with device, 1 without
Individual competition class
FWK Free competition class 16 years and older 3 exercises with device
JWK Junior competition class 13-15 years 3 exercises with device
SWK Schoolgirl competition class 10-12 years 2 exercises with device, 1 without

Classification of groups:

Age Competition class Performance class
15 years and older FWK MK
12 to 15 years JWK JLK
10 to 12 years SWK SLK

Competition process

The most important result of most competitions is that of the all-around competition. Internationally, the individual gymnasts have to show four exercises and the groups two exercises. The scores of all exercises of a gymnast or group are added up, whoever gets the most points wins. Equipment finals are often held as well. The gymnasts who have received the highest scores with the respective device in the all-around competition are allowed to compete in the device finals.

Example: A gymnast who finishes tenth in the all-around competition, but shows a particularly good performance with the ball and achieves the fourth-highest score with this device, can still hope for a medal in the device finals.


During National Socialism , rhythmic gymnastics was particularly encouraged for girls and young women: “As a rule, instead of athletic exertion, rhythmic gymnastics came with its emphasis on harmony and the feeling of resting in one's own body and being part of the group. The girls practiced an organic ' national community ', at the same time the flow of gymnastic movements was tailored to the female anatomy and the future role of mother. "

In 1941 the first competitions of this sport took place in Leningrad (today Saint Petersburg) / Soviet Union. World championships have been held every two years since 1963 . They have been held annually since 1991.

After there had been a team competition with free choice of discipline in the context of gymnastics competitions in 1952 , the sport became independent and finally Olympic in 1984 in Los Angeles with an individual four-way fight. A group competition was added in 1996 in Atlanta . Even at the Youth Olympic Games , which have taken place every four years since 2010, the individual four-way competition and the group all-round competition are held.

Well-known gymnasts

Yevgenia Kanajewa, Olympic champion 2008 and 2012
country Year of birth Surname successes
GreeceGreece Greece 1983 Irini Aindili multiple world and European champion
GreeceGreece Greece 1986 Elina Andriola Medals at the Mediterranean Games
United StatesUnited States United States 1974 Carmit Bachar Participation in the American Olympic qualifications in 1992
RussiaRussia Russia 1978 Yulia Barsukova Olympic champion 2000
UkraineUkraine Ukraine 1984 Hanna Bessonova three-time world champion 2003-2007
GermanyGermany Germany 1978 Magdalena Brzeska 26-time German champion
RussiaRussia Russia 1993 Darja Dmitrieva 2012 Olympic runner-up
CanadaCanada Canada 1963 Lori Fung Olympic champion 1984
BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 1947 Maria Gigowa multiple world champion
SpainSpain Spain 1979 Estela Giménez Olympic Champion 1996 (group)
BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 1965 Lilia Ignatova multiple world and European champion
KazakhstanKazakhstan Kazakhstan 1984 Aliya Yusupova Six-time Asian champion in 2006
RussiaRussia Russia 1983 Alina Kabaeva Olympic Champion 2004
RussiaRussia Russia 1990 Yevgenia Kanaeva Olympic Champion 2008
Olympic Champion 2012
RussiaRussia Russia 1997 Jana Kudrjawzewa multiple world and European champion
RussiaRussia Russia 1984 Natalia Lavrowa Olympic Champion 2000 (group)
Olympic Champion 2004 (group)
Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union 1970 Marina Lobatsch Olympic champion in 1988
BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 1970 Bianka Panowa multiple world and European champion
BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 1975 Maria Petrova multiple world and European champion
BelarusBelarus Belarus 1986 Ina Schukawa Olympic runner-up in 2008
UkraineUkraine Ukraine 1977 Ekaterina Serebrianskaya Olympic champion 1996
Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union 1972 Alexandra Tymoshenko Olympic champion in 1992
RussiaRussia Russia 1982 Irina Chashchina Olympic runner-up in 2004
Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus Cyprus 1993 Chrystalleni Trikomiti Commonwealth Games 5 medals
AustriaAustria Austria 1986 Caroline Weber 55 times Austrian champion
GermanyGermany Germany 1963 Regina Weber German champion

National teams

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: rhythmic gymnastics  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Rhythmic Gymnastics  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A. Di Cagno, C. Battaglia, G. Fiorilli, G. et al .: Motor learning as young gymnast's talent indicator. In: Journal of Sports Science and Medicine , 13 (4), 2014, pp. 767-773.
  2. Arnd Krüger : Fast learning. In: competitive sport 46 (2016) 3, pp. 26–27.
  3. Code of Points www.gymnastics.sport (PDF)
  4. Program 2020 www.dtb-online.de (PDF)
  5. Michael H. Kater : Hitler Youth. Translated from the English by Jürgen Peter Krause. Primus-Verlag, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-89678-252-5 . P. 74.