Rhythmic Gymnastics: A Brief History
Rhythmic gymnastics first began in the 1800s (taking its roots from ballet) as an unofficial dance group choreography that encouraged expression through movement and exercise. Throughout the 19th century, it continued to develop as a means for gymnasts to train, promoting grace, flexibility, and strength. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that rhythmic gymnastics became its own official category. The Swedish School of Rhythmic Gymnastics was established in 1900 and focused on Eurythmics, rhythm, and the elegance of movement. Shortly after, Germany included apparatuses into the routines.
During the 1930s, rhythmic gymnastics gained popularity in Eastern Europe. A decade later, the Soviet Union began to facilitate it as a competitive sport. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) declared it a legitimate professional sport. In 1964, the first-ever Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship took place in Budapest and the United States officially participated in the sport in 1973. Finally, in 1984, rhythmic gymnastics joined the ranks of the Olympic Games, with its individual competitions. In 1996, the FIG added a group category as well.