Rhythmic Gymnastics: The Essentials
Last Updated: Monday, September 13, 2010 | 5:35 PM ET
By Jesse Campigotto, CBC Sports
It was one of the greatest performances in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
Canadian rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Orlando simply dominated her sport in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia, tying a Commonwealth record by winning six gold medals. She won all five individual events (the rope, ball, clubs, ribbon and all-round) and led the Canadian squad to the team championship.
Orlando's six-title haul gave her a share of the all-time single-Games record with three swimmers: fellow Canadian Graham Smith, who won a half-dozen swimming golds in front of a hometown crowd in Edmonton in 1978, and Australians Susie O'Neill (1998) and Ian Thorpe (2002).
In rhythmic gymnastics, athletes are scored by a panel of judges on their ability to perform a floor routine while manipulating an apparatus. In Delhi, the devices used will be a jump rope, a ball (20cm in diameter, made of rubber), a hoop (80 centimetres in diameter) and a ribbon (six metres long with a stick at the bottom so the performer can keep it in perpetual motion).
In the team competition, squads of three gymnasts each perform four different apparatus routines. The three teams with the highest total scores get the medals, and the result also determines who gets to compete in the individual all-round event.
Rhythmic gymnastics is one of two sports on the Delhi slate open only to women (netball is the other).
Mariam Chamilova (Canada): With Orlando now retired, none of the three Canadian rhythmic gymnasts heading to Delhi are anywhere near the top of the world rankings in this Eastern European-dominated sport. But that doesn't mean they aren't contenders for a medal. Chamilova, a 16-year-old who was born in Moscow but now lives in Toronto, can go toe-to-toe with just about anyone in the Commonwealth in all four individual events. In the team competition, Canada is ranked just 17th in the world, but that's tops in the Commonwealth. Chamilova and teammates Nerissa Mo of Vancouver and Demetra Mantcheva of Richmond, B.C., will try to help Orlando-less Canada repeat as Commonwealth Games champions.
Day 9 (Oct. 12)
- Team competition
Day 10 (Oct. 13)
- Individual all-round competition
Day 11 (Oct. 14)
- Individual rope, hoop, ball, ribbon competitions