August 21, 2008

Rhythmic Gymnastics is Not a Sport

There are plenty of odd sports in the Olympics. From team handball to pistol shooting to race walking to trampoline, people can argue about whether or not certain sports belong in the Olympics. But there is one "sport" that stands out like a sore thumb. Rhythmic gymnastics is not a sport and shouldn't be in the Olympics.

Some kind of weird S&M fetish? No, an Olympic 'sport'

Rhythmic gymnastics is competed in both an individual all-around and group competition. Each event consists of scores totaled across several apparatuses. Basically, the gymnasts are scored on how well they dance with a ribbon, a hoop, clubs, or a rope.

Since when is hula hoop an Olympic sport?

We can disagree about the validity of other sports with judging and whether certain sports are "real," but I think everyone can get behind the idea that rhythmic gymnastics is not really a sport.

Go for the gold, Dog!

Basically, this is Randy Jackson's "America's Best Dance Crew," but the winner gets an Olympic gold medal. In four years, rhythmic gymnastics will be an event at the London Olympics, but baseball and softball will not.

Possibly the worst thing about rhythmic gymnastics is that by having the word "gymnastics" in the title, it forces all the Olympic websites to refer to real gymnastics as "artistic gymnastics" which sounds like a totally fake sport. It's insulting to the athletes who compete in real gymnastics to associate them with the dancers who compete in rhythmic gymnastics.

Take this nonsense out of the Olympics and put it back on "Dancing With the Stars" where it belongs.

14 Responses:

I am so wise said...

Amen to that. Not only are baseball and softball gone, but sports like Jai alai continue to get the shaft.

J-Red said...

Yeah, but Latin America getting the shaft from the Olympics is a common theme. That's why they've never been held in South America or the Caribbean.

It really drives it home to put rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and synchronized diving in the "in" column with baseball, softball, jai alai, and pistol dueling in the "out" column.

Stephen said...

Please, PLEASE don't forget to mention Marathon Race Walking. I was watching the 50k (yeah, you read that right) on USA last night around 11pm. If you ever wanted to see 100 men walking as fast as they can looking like they have rakes up their asses, this is for you.

Anonymous said...

Amen. If cat toys (e.g., ribbons, balls, hoops) are involved, it's just not a sport.

Alex said...

Do you think Rhythmic Gymnastic not a sport?!?!?!?! Fetish?????
Take look here and shame on you........

Brien said...

I knew I should have addressed this in the post. Alex, I never said it was easy, I said it wasn't a sport. There are plenty of things that are very difficult, like dancing, but still aren't sports.

I watched some today, and I have to say the clubs are the dumbest discipline. I think the dude who does the flaming baton twirling at Maryland halftimes could win that shit.

Alex said...

You still so wrong about, I'm a choreographer and I work with Figure Skaters and Gymnastics,so I know this from inside, this sports takes minimum 8-12 hours of training every day, maximum concentration and extreme physical pressure, that's what this athletes facing everyday.
Practice and even more practice daily and trust me some "DUDE" will break his neck if he try even most primitive routine with clubs, "clubs" this is most difficult discipline an gymnasts learn this apparatus only when they reaching pre-senior levels.
and to be honest, in my opinion, baseball it's most primitive sport and even Big/Fat fella can do it, baseball not attractive and single event can take 6 hours........boring and not attractive, also I can't call them "Baseball Athletes" it's sounds sarcastic but "Players" is fine....well this is more like a "game show" than sportive event.
I don't mean to be root but that's my answer on your response.

J-Red said...

I know a guy who practices Call of Duty 4 for 12 hours a day. It requires amazing coordination, reflexes, instinct, and choreography. It's still not a sport.

Brien: Ice dancing is an Olympic sport. Ballroom dancing is on the short list of events under consideration. They're really going just about as far from faster, higher, stronger as you can get.

gpb said...


Honestly, I don't think difficulty has anything to do with it for me. When I watch rhythm gym (or art gym, diving, synch swim, etc) vs watch something like track (or race walk, swimming, shooting, etc), I just can't understand the scoring in group A.

Scoring comes across as subjective to me and I'm thinking "Wow, that looked hard as hell and they only got a 6? What did they do wrong?" They certainly don't explain.

Ex: There was the Chinese girl that won gold in vault, I believe it was, and she didn't even make the landing. In a 2 sec routine, I'm of the opinion that it's pretty important to actually land and major points gone if you don't.

On the other hand, group B has clear results. I know who won race walk, swimming, shooting. It takes no real knowledge of the event to understand who won. I don't even consider race walk a sport but I can at least tell who won.

I suppose there are a variety of reasons to mock group A events. Part of it is NBC coverage since they don't explain the basics in scoring. Part of it is that those events are on 1 of 4 years. Part of it is that it's very, very niche and the Olympics exposes it to everyone.

As to whether group A events are sports, it's an argument we can have until the end of time. I don't think training time should be the only criteria in making things a sport. Lest if South Korea hosts the Olympics, Starcraft becomes an Olympic event/sport.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. It is easier for the lay person to watch a contact sport like soccer or baseball where it is easy to see who is winning and who is losing. For technical sports like diving,gymnastics, synchro swimming or dressage, you need to be an educated observer who knows what to look for in a good round.

Stephen said...

The method I always used to decide "sport" vs "Event" was simple: objective scoring.

And yes, that means that boxing and MMA is only "sometimes" a sport.

It says nothing about the amount of athleticism involved in practice and performance, but if a 10.0 20 years ago wouldn't get a 10.0 today, that's an issue that makes it an event, not a sport.

My cousin was a gymnist for years until she broke her back (its fused, she's fine now). She was a great athlete and worked very hard. I have the utmost respect for those people, because that's some really hard stuff to do.

Its still not a sport, though.

"ben" said...

Wow, you all put the kid gloves on for Alex.

me :) said...

well i know for a fact i would much rather watch rhythmic gymnastics.the fact they have to jump,catch,leap,spin wahtever etc.amazes me.they have such control.i would much rather watch that than two men beat the crap out of each boxing? rhythmic gymnastics is in every way a sport as anything else

Anonymous said...

How can you compare two totally different sports? Artistic Gymnastics is actually it's real name. Plus, I don't think that unless you have a depth of knowledge of both, you sholdn't complain.
I mean, trampoling comes under gymnastics, does it not? It is just a category, the same goes for track events.
I believe if you appriciated the sprt much more you would understand it. Yet, then again, a number of people are to ignorant to do so.
I think it's amazing, maybe because I am a rhythmic gymnast myself. But everyone is entitled to their opinion.
But who cares!?
Rhythmic gymnastics is in the Olympics 2008 AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!