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Rhythmic Gymnastics 101: Equipment

Rhythmic Gymnastics 101: Equipment
Posted at 4:16 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 19:01:28-04

In rhythmic gymnastics, there are five apparatus used for individual competition: rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. However, only four of the five are "live" in any one four-year competitive cycle, as determined by the sport's governing body (FIG) -- rope will not be used in Tokyo. Rhythmic apparatus must conform to specific norms and are officially inspected prior to competition.  

The hoop must be made of wood or plastic, and its interior diameter must measure between 80 and 90 centimeters (2 feet, 7 1/2 inches and 2 feet, 11 1/2 inches). It must weigh at least 300 grams (10.6 ounces).

Margarita Mamun during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around qualification

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The ribbon apparatus is a stick made of wood or synthetic material, from the end of which extends a ribbon made of satin or similar non-starched material. The maximum stick diameter is 1 cm (.39 inches) and the stick length must be between 50-60 cm (19.5-23.4 inches). The ribbon width is between 4-6 cm (1.56-2.34 inches) and its length must be at least 6 meters (19 feet, 8 inches). It weighs a maximum of 35 g (a little more than one ounce). 

 Rong Shang during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around qualification

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Gymnasts work with two clubs of equal length, 40 to 50 cm (about 16-20 inches), which resemble slender bowling pins in shape. Made from wood or synthetic material and weighing 150 g (5.3 ounces) each, the clubs have a wide end (the body), a tapering middle section (the neck), and usually a ball on the end (the head). 

 Lisa Wang performs her clubs routine

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The ball must be made of rubber or soft plastic, with a diameter of 18-20 cm. It must weigh at least 400 g. 

Salome Pazhava during the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around qualification

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Attire 
Rules regarding attire in rhythmic gymnastics are very stringent. The dress code is specific regarding the cut and fit of the leotard--for example, a gymnast can be penalized for inadvertently revealing a bra strap or if her outfit is decorated in anything other than an abstract design. Forbidden attire includes harlequin and tutu-like clothing. Gymnasts in group competition must be dressed identically. Penalties are .20 points for individuals and up to .50 points for groups. 

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