Rhythmic gymnastics is a woman-only Olympic Sport that incorporates elements from ballet, gymnastics, dance and apparatus manipulation. Gymnasts perform on a 13 x 13 m floor with a rope, hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon accompanied by music, in individual or group events. A routine must consist of pirouettes, balances, leaps and dance steps. Gymnasts must be in constant movement for the entire routine (1.5 mins individual or 2.5 mins for groups). 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.
Rope – Light hemp or synthetic material; the rope can be leaped over or skipped, and then add in swings, throws, circles and rotations
Hoop – made of plastic or wood; hoops can be rotated around the hand or body then add rolls, swings, circles, throws, passes through and over the hoop.
Ball – made of rubber or synthetic material, 18 – 20 cms in diameter; balls can be manipulated by throws, bounces or rolls.
Clubs – made of wood or synthetic material; use the clubs are manipulated by mills and small circles, asymmetric movements, throws and catches.
Ribbon – 6 metres long and probably the most popular event for the spectators; use the ribbon for large, smooth flowing movements to make spirals and circles and snakes.
Free – performances without apparatus; instead the emphasis is on style, technique and execution of dance skills. Free is most often seen in lower levels.