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Affermazione di un Appassionato
“se dovesse capitarvi di vedere un corpo muoversi con grazia femminile alternando movimenti di danza ad altri di velocità e di potenza, e se facilmente potreste comprendere come quel corpo riesca ad esaltare le sue capacità di coordinazione, di equilibrio acrobatiche ed espressive, sfidando la forza di gravità in modo così evidente che in alcuni momenti vi potrebbe sembrare che stia per spiccare quel volo che da sempre è stato una delle maggiori ambizioni umane e non riuscite a capire come possa fare quel corpo, spesso così giovane ed esile, ad eseguire tutte quelle fantastiche evoluzioni, non crediate di essere immersi in un sogno, tutto ciò è realtà: state guardando la ginnastica artistica o quella ritmica”.
Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport in which individuals or groups of five or more manipulate one or two pieces of apparatus: rope, hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon and freehand (no apparatus). Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that combines elements of ballet, gymnastics, dance, and apparatus manipulation. The victor is the participant who earns the most points, determined by a panel of judges, for leaps, balances, pirouettes (pivots), apparatus handling, and execution. The choreography must cover the entire floor and contain a balance of jumps, leaps, pivots, balances (a certain number is required depending on the gymnast’s level) and flexibility movements. 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.
Rhythmic gymnastics grew out of the ideas of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810), François Delsarte (1811–1871), and Rudolf Bode (1881–1970), who all believed in movement expression, where one used dance to express oneself and exercise various body parts. Peter Henry Ling further developed this idea in his 19th-century Swedish system of free exercise, which promoted “aesthetic gymnastics”, in which students expressed their feelings and emotions through body movement. This idea was extended by Catharine Beecher, who founded the Western Female Institute in Ohio, United States, in 1837. In Beecher’s gymnastics program, called “grace without dancing”, the young women exercised to music, moving from simple calisthenics to more strenuous activities.
During the 1880s, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze of Switzerland developed eurhythmics, a form of physical training for musicians and dancers. George Demeny of France created exercises to music that were designed to promote grace of movement, muscular flexibility, and good posture. All of these styles were combined around 1900 into the Swedish school of rhythmic gymnastics, which would later add dance elements from Finland. Around this time, Ernst Idla of Estonia established a degree of difficulty for each movement. In 1929, Hinrich Medau founded The Medau School in Berlin to train gymnasts in “modern gymnastics”, and to develop the use of the apparatus.
Competitive rhythmic gymnastics began in the 1940s in the Soviet Union. The FIG formally recognized this discipline in 1961, first as modern gymnastics, then as rhythmic sportive gymnastics, and finally as rhythmic gymnastics. The first World Championships for individual rhythmic gymnasts was held in 1963 in Budapest. Groups were introduced at the same level in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rhythmic gymnastics was added to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, with an individual all-around competition. However, many federations from the Eastern European countries were forced to boycott by the Soviet Union. Canadian Lori Fung was the first rhythmic gymnast to earn an Olympic gold medal. The group competition was added to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The Spanish team won the first gold medal of the new competition with a team formed by Estela Giménez, Marta Baldó, Nuria Cabanillas, Lorena Guréndez, Estíbaliz Martínez and Tania Lamarca.
Olympic rhythmic gymnastics is for male and female participants. Gymnasts start at a young age and become age-eligible to compete in the Olympic Games and other major international competitions on January 1 of their 16th year (For example, a gymnast born December 31, 2000 would be age eligible for the 2016 Olympics). Gymnasts in Russia and Europe typically start training at a very young age and those at their peak are typically in their late teens (15–19) or early twenties but since 2004 it is common to see gymnasts achieving their peak after reaching their twenties. Some gymnasts who were or are highly competitive in their early twenty or late twenties are Yulia Barsukova, Sylvia Miteva, Almudena Cid, Liubov Charkashyna, Aliya Yussupova, Aliya Garayeva, Ganna Rizatdinova, Melitina Staniouta, Delphine Ledoux, Anna Bessonova, Evgenia Kanaeva and Carolina Rodriguez. The latter is still an active gymnast in the elite circuit of the sport with a career dating back to 2001. She and her fellow countrywoman Almudena Cid are among the oldest rhythmic gymnasts ever.
Top rhythmic gymnasts must have many qualities: balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength are some of the most important. They also must possess psychological attributes such as the ability to compete under intense pressure, in which one mistake can cost them the title, and the discipline and work ethic to practice the same skills over and over again.
Italy is part of dominant teams and nations.
Like Spain, Italy is more engaged in Group rhythmic gymnastics, the Italian Group is 4 time Group World AA Champion and has won two medals (a silver and a bronze) at the Olympic Games. Notable athletes include Samantha Ferrari who won a bronze medal in clubs at the 1991 World Championships, other notable individual gymnasts are:
Group gymnasts include: