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Rhythmic gymnasts from Greece in the 2000 Sydney Olympics


Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport in which individual competitors or pairs, trios, or more (generally five) manipulate one or two apparatuses: rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that combines elements of ballet, gymnastics, theatrical dance, and apparatus manipulation. The victor is the participant who earns the most points, as awarded by a panel of judges, for leaps, balances, pivots, flexibility, apparatus handling,execution, and artistic effect.

The governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), changed the Code of Points in 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2008 to emphasize technical elements and reduce the subjectivity of judging. Before 2001, judging was on a scale of 10 like that of artistic gymnastics. It was changed to a 30-point scale in 2003, a 20-point scale in 2005, and in 2008 was changed back to 30. There are three values adding up to be the final points—technical, artistic, and execution.

International competitions are split between Juniors, under sixteen by their year of birth; and Seniors, for women sixteen and over again by their year of birth. Gymnasts typically start training at a very young age and those at their peak are typically in their late teens or early twenties. The largest events in the sport are the Olympic Games, World Championships, and Grand-Prix Tournaments.

History

French team
Rhythmic gymnastics grew out of the ideas of I.G. Noverre (1722–1810), Francois Delsarte (1811–1871), and R. Bode (1881), who all believed in movement expression, where one used dance to express oneself and exercise various body parts. Peter Henry Ling further developed this idea in his 19th-century Swedishmarker system of free exercise, which promoted "aesthetic gymnastics", in which students expressed their feelings and emotions through bodily movement. This idea was extended by Catharine Beecher, who founded the Western Female Institute in Ohiomarker, United States, in 1837. In Beecher's gymnastics program, called grace without dancing, the young women exercised to music, moving from simple calisthenics to more strenuous activities. During the 1880s, Emil Jacques-Dalcroze of Switzerlandmarker developed eurhythmics, a form of physical training for musicians and dancers. George Demeny of Francemarker created exercises to music that were designed to promote grace of movement, muscular flexibility, and good posture. All of these styles were combined around 1900 into the Swedish school of rhythmic gymnastics, which would later add dance elements from Finlandmarker. Around this time, Ernst Idla of Estoniamarker established a degree of difficulty for each movement. In 1929, Henrich Medau founded The Medau School in Berlin to train gymnasts in "modern gymnastics", and to develop the use of the apparatus.

Competitive rhythmic gymnastics began in the 1940s in the Soviet Unionmarker. The FIG formally recognized this discipline in 1961, first as modern gymnastics, then as rhythmic sportive gymnastics, and finally as rhythmic gymnastics. The first World Championships for individual rhythmic gymnasts was held in 1963 in Budapestmarker. Groups were introduced at the same level in 1967 in Copenhagenmarker, Denmarkmarker. Rhythmic gymnastics was added to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angelesmarker, with an Individual All-Around competition. However, many federations from the Eastern European countries were forced to boycott by the Soviet Union. Canadian Lori Fung was the first rhythmic gymnast to earn an Olympic gold medal. The Group competition was added to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Men's rhythmic gymnastics

Rhythmic gymnastics is largely performed by women and girls, but a growing number of men participate in a few countries. Athletes are judged on some of the same physical abilities and skills as their female counterparts, such as hand/body-eye co-ordination, but tumbling, strength, power, and martial arts skills are the main focus, as opposed to flexibility and dance in women's rhythmic gymnastics. There are a growing number of participants, competing solo and on a team; it is most popular in Asia, especially in Japan where high school and university teams compete fiercely. , there were 1000 men's rhythmic gymnasts in Japan.

Men's rhythmic gymnastics is related to both Men's artistic gymnastics and wushu martial arts. It emerged in Japanmarker from stick gymnastics. Stick gymnastics have been taught and performed for many years with the aim of improving physical strength and health.

The technical rules for the Japanese version of men's rhythmic gymnastics came around 1970s. For individuals, only four types of apparatus are used: the double rings, the stick, the rope, and the clubs. Groups do not use any apparatus. The Japanese version includes tumbling performed on a spring floor. Points are awarded based a 10-point scale that measures the level of difficulty of the tumbling and apparatus handling.

On November 27-29, 2003, Japan hosted the Men's RG World Championship. This first championship drew five countries from two continents: Japan, Canadamarker, Koreamarker, Malaysiamarker, and the United Statesmarker. The 2005 World Championship included Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, and USA. Men's RG is not recognized by FIG.



See also

  • Gymnastics events have been selected as a main motif in numerous collectors' coins. One of the recent samples is the €10 Greek Gymnastics commemorative coin, minted in 2003 to commemorate the 2004 Summer Olympics. The obverse of the coin represents a young woman holding a ribbon, executing a graceful movement, while in the background, two female athletes from antiquity execute a series of acrobatic interactions. The scene was taken from a terra cotta in Southern Italy.




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