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Rhythmic Gymnastics Events & Equipment Descriptions
Olympic competition order
The international competition order is decided by the FIG. For rhythmic gymnastics the events include: rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. The gymnasts compete in four of the five events each year, designated by the FIG. For this quad, medals are awarded in individual all-around and group. The four events for individual rhythmic in 2011-2012 are hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon; for group in 2011-2016, ball (five gymnasts) and ribbon (3)/hoop (2). In 2010, the four individual apparatus are rope, ball, clubs and ribbon, and for group, hoop (five gymnasts) and ribbon (3)/rope (2).

Competition area
  • Material: carpeting
  • Length: 13 m x 13 m (approx. 42.5ft. square)
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.

  • Material: hemp or synthetic material, knotted at each end
  • Length: proportionate to the size of the gymnast
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.

  • Material: wood or plastic
  • Diameter: Interior is 80-90 cm (31.2-35.1 in)
  • Weight: 300 grams (10.5 oz) min.
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.

  • Material: rubber or synthetic material
  • Diameter: 18-20 cm (7-7.8 in)
  • Weight: 400 grams (14 oz.) min.
Swings, large circles, small circles, mills, throws and catches and rhythmical tapping are common tricks.

  • Material: wood or synthetic material
  • Length: 40-50 cm (15.6-19.5 in.)
  • Diameter: 3 cm (1.2 in) max. for head of club
  • Weight: 150 grams each (5.25 oz)
Ribbon routines are comprised of snakes, spirals, swings, circles, throws and catches and figure-eight movements. The ribbon must remain constantly in motion.

  • Material: stick – wood or synthetic material; Ribbon – satin or similar non-starched material
  • Diameter/width: stick – 1 cm (0.39 in); ribbon – 4-6 cm (1.56-2.34 in)
  • Length: stick – 50-60 cm (19.5-23.4 in); ribbon – 6 m (6.54 yds.)
  • Weight: ribbon, 35 grams (1.225 oz) min.

In the group event, five athletes work together as one cohesive unit. Group is judged on the ability of the athletes to demonstrate mastery of body and apparatus skills in a synchronized, harmonious manner. A group exercise must include difficulties from the same body movement categories that apply to individual competition and characteristic movements for the apparatus. In addition, the group athletes must execute elements involving both large and small exchanges of equipment. The more interaction between the gymnasts, the better the exercise.

Each group must compete with two different routines. The apparatus used in group competition is selected by the FIG. One of the routines is performed with five of the same pieces of apparatus, the other routine is choreographed with mixed equipment.

Group athletes are trained to work as a team. The close interaction of five athletes within a 13 X 13 meter (approx. 42.5 ft. square) area and the many apparatus exchanges that occur during a routine require each athlete to be extremely sensitive to the movements and actions of her teammates. Many routines have been saved by the quick thinking and action of a team member.

Spectators are enthralled and amazed by the beauty, excitement and risk of a group routine.