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2021 rhythmic gymnastics season set to begin with Rhythmic Challenge and Invitational February 27-28
posted on 02/26/2021

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INDIANAPOLIS, February 26, 2021 – The 2021 elite rhythmic gymnastics season will begin this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, as junior and senior athletes gather for the 2021 Rhythmic Challenge and Invitational. Current National Team members will be joined by top developmental athletes from around the country for the first national competition in more than a year.

The Rhythmic Challenge and Rhythmic Invitational, which will not be open to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, will run concurrently Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28 at the Iowa Events Center. The annual competitions will kick off the 2021 season ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which are slated to begin July 23. The U.S. has qualified two individual all-around Olympic competition spots for the first time since 1992. The U.S. Senior National Group is also on the path to qualification.

Five-time U.S. all-around champion Laura Zeng and 2019 Pan American Games all-around, hoop, ball and ribbon gold medalist Evita Griskenas will headline the Rhythmic Challenge individual field. The U.S. Senior National Group is also set to compete, while the new, developmental National Prep Group will make its debut. The Rhythmic Invitational will welcome the nation’s top junior athletes. Performances will help determine National Team composition and 2021 international assignments.

2021 Rhythmic Challenge and Invitational Competition Schedule

Saturday, February 27

  • 9:30-10 a.m. CT: 2009 Junior Invitational (4 gymnasts) and partial 2008 Junior Invitational (2 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 10:30-11:05 a.m. CT: Remaining 2008 Junior invitational (7 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 11:35 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CT: 2006 Junior Invitational (6 gymnasts) and partial 2007 Junior Invitational (2 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 12:45-1:20 p.m. CT: Remaining 2007 Junior Invitational (7 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 1:50-2:25 p.m. CT: Junior Challenge (7 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 2:55-3:35 p.m. CT: Senior Challenge A (8 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 3:55-4:35 p.m. CT: Senior Challenge B (8 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 5:35-5:55 p.m. CT: Junior Group Challenge (4 groups)
  • 7:25-8 p.m. CT: Senior Group Challenge (5 groups)

Sunday, February 28

  • 9:30-10:10 a.m. CT: 2006 Junior Invitational (6 gymnasts) and partial 2007 Junior Invitational (2 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 10:40-11:15 a.m. CT: Remaining 2007 Junior Invitational (7 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CT: 2009 Junior Invitational (4 gymnasts) and partial 2008 Junior Invitational (2 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 12:45-1:20 p.m. CT: Remaining 2008 Junior Invitational (7 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 1:50-2:25 p.m. CT: Junior Challenge (7 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 2:55-3:35 p.m. CT: Senior Challenge A (8 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 3:55-4:35 p.m. CT: Senior Challenge B (8 gymnasts) – 2 events
  • 5:35-5:55 p.m. CT: Junior Group Challenge (4 groups)
  • 7:25-8 p.m. CT: Senior Group Challenge (5 groups)

Rhythmic gymnastics is characterized by grace, beauty and elegance combined with dance and acrobatic elements, while working with the apparatus in a choreographed routine to music. The five apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics are rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. Rhythmic gymnasts may compete individually or as a group. The choreography must cover the entire floor with intricate apparatus handling, dance combinations, jumps, leaps, rotations and balance difficulties. Each movement involves a high degree of athletic skill. Physical abilities needed by a rhythmic gymnast include strength, power, flexibility, agility, dexterity, endurance and hand-eye coordination.