The most pretigeous competitions
They are the following: world and European championships, and Olympic Games. The world championships originated in Budapest in 1963. Until 1991 they are organized every second year and since 1991 - every year. Bulgarian medal distributions from the world rhythmic gymnastics championships are illustrated on Figs. 1 through 3.
The analysis of the results indicates that there are three powerful periods in the development of the Bulgarian art gymnastics. The first period covers the time between 1967 and 1973. It is related with the already mentioned names of Maria Gigova and Neshka Robeva. The first places of the group-exercise teams show that not only the individuals, but also the group teams are rather successful.
Fig. 1. Number of medals at I-VI. World Rhythmic Gymnastics championships
The second period covers the time between 1981 and 1989. It is characterized by the emergence of a whole constellation of equipollent Bulgarian gymnasts such as Anelia Ralenkova, Dilyana Georgieva, and Bianka Panova, the bearers of many gold medals. The group exercises do not give way to their top level, too.
Fig. 2. Number of medals at VII-XII. World Rhythmic Gymnastics championships
The third period covers the time between 1991 and 1995. It is manifested by the personality of Maria Petrova, the threefold world champion. During this period, the regulations of the competitions are changed and the number of individual competitors decreases from three down to two only. The group-exercise teams are currently top-ranked, too. The world championships in 1981-1989 are marked with the best achievements of the golden generation of the Bulgarian gymnasts. The onset of the European championships is in 1978.
Fig. 3. Number of medals at XIII-XVIII. World Rhuthmic Gymnastics championships
The hegemony of the Bulgarian individual gymnasts and group exercise teams until 1995 should be emphasized again. To the gold medal bearers belong Iliana Raeva, Lili Ignatova, Elizabet Koleva, and Yulia Baicheva. In 1988, the Rhythmic Gymnastics was approved as Olympic Games sports. Adriana Dunavska became vice-champion in the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea.
There are two Bulgarian gymnasts with equal first name - Maria, and equal sports results - threefold world champions. This equality suggests the idea to compare their performances.