This all-women sport arrived in Britain in its earliest form about 100 years ago. It evolved from the Swedish system of gymnastics in the nineteenth century . Heinrich Medan, an early gymnast incorporated music, dance and movement with apparatus work--with hoops, balls and clubs.
Today's exciting, colourful and innovative rhythmic exercises were developed by the Eastern Europeans in the 1950s and 1960s. Rhythmic gymnastics today include 5 pieces of apparatus: the hoop, rope, balls, clubs and ribbons are used by individual gymnasts and for group work.
Rhythmic gymnastics was first given official recognition in 1962 by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), but only to the rope, the hoop and the ball exercises. The clubs and ribbon events were included in the World Championships only much later.
The first World Championships took place in 1963 and since then, thay have been held every alternate year. Other competitions have been introduced such as the European Championships in 1978 and then a 'Four-Continents Championships', bringing more attention to this brabch of gymnastics.
However, it was the inclusion of this sport into the 1984 Olympic Games(held at Los Angeles)for the first time that gave rhythmic gymnastics the ultimate international recognition. The individual all-around competition was added to the Games in 1984. The rhythmic group event was added as a medal-sport at the 1996 Olympic Games for the first time.