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Development of rhythmic gymnastics...should it be more progressive?

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Our dear gymnast, recently we have come across the following article. The main point is that rhythmic gymnastics is taught mainly by the Russian coaches. The possible reason for it is that this kind of sport became popular and was taught professionally in Russia long ago. Other countries, at the same time, paid much less attention to rhythmic gymnastics.

Moreover, the representatives of many countries should pay for everything themselves. Thus, parents perceive rhythmic gymnastics as a good hobby and not as a way to build the future career of their children.

We would like you to read the opinions of the Russian coaches that work abroad. Do you agree with them? What can you say about rhythmic gymnastics in your country? Should the conditions for rhythmic gymnasts be better? And what would you choose: a successful sport career at the World level or a higher education and a prestigious job that is not connected with sport?

It happens in Russia that the famous rhythmic gymnasts after retirement go in for politics but in other countries this kind of sport is not so popular. Recently, the rhythmic gymnastics World Cup stage in Kazan took place where 180 gymnastsfrom 32 countries took part. It turned out that the coaches of many teams are emigrants from USSR where rhythmic gymnastics was cultivated. The correspondent of “Vechernaya Kazan” asked them why foreign rhythmic gymnasts can’t come up with Russian ones.

The coach at sport club in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

-          This is not surprising, in the USSR the development of rhythmic gymnastics started right after the Revolution. In the USA this kind of sport appeared in the end of 1970s when the first coaches from the Soviet Union came there. Today rhythmic gymnastics is a number one kind of sport for girls. In the USA artistic gymnastics is more popular.

Moreover, all kinds of sport in the USA are private. Parents pay good sums of money for any kind of sport their children do. Exercises at clubs cost a lot, $50 per one training. In Russia the system of special sport schools and sport boarding schools is well developed. In the USA it is different. Everything is paid by parents even at a team level. At the same time the rhythmic gymnastics team has got no financial support in contrast to basketball or artistic gymnastics teams. These teams achieved medals, they are shown on TV. This is important to attract the audience’s attention. Rhythmic gymnastics isn’t shown on American TV. That’s why a lot of people just don’t know what it is. But those who saw it like it very much.

Besides, in America parents want their children to develop at various spheres. Children are offered several kinds of activities and they do it for interest, not for great results. All girls study at ordinary schools. The older they are, the more subjects they have. They prepare for colleges understanding that you can’t live doing only sport. That’s why we lose a great number of 16-17 year old gymnasts.

The coach in Slovenia who left Belarus 20 years ago.

-          We don’t have a team here as well as the gymnastics center. I’m here just because my protégé is number one in Slovenia. It is for sure that rhythmic gymnastics in Slovenia is not so well developed as in Russia where the selection possibilities are great and the conditions for trainings are thoroughly worked out. A lot of children start doing gymnastics but when the workload becomes really hard, they quit. And why should they put up with it if they can visit dancing section twice a week? So, rhythmic gymnastics is more like a hobby for them.

If girls start getting bad marks at school, parents forbid them to visit gymnastics trainings. They don’t count on great results they just invest their money - €50-60 per month for trainings while the average salary is €800. Moreover, they should spend money on tournaments, leotards. Everybody understands that there will never be a rhythmic gymnastics champion in Slovenia. If my girl get to the Olympics, that will be awesome!  She went to Kazan at her own expense. The Federation pays only for trips to World and Europe championships.

In Slovenia people seriously go in for skiing but here we talk about adults, good prizes and so on.

The head coach of the Spanish team (also emigrated from Belarus).

-          In Russia the preparation system is developed from the childhood. From childhood girls are trained professionally. They do everything correctly from the very beginning: the position of body, legs. This is what other countries lack. Not everywhere people think that all efforts and resources should be given for great sport achievements. There are things that are more important. For Spain the general level of living is important. And when the economic situation got worse in 2008, sport suffered first. We work within the limits that are defined by the government.

We have a limited financial base, though rhythmic gymnastics is very popular in Spain. There are only two gymnastics carpets for the whole country. At the same time each town has a hall which is shared by many different sections. The payment is not so high but trainings happen not so often and not at high level.  That’s why the Spanish championships among clubs’ students are not rhythmic gymnastics, they are just the presentation of basic elements. Children that are absolutely unprepared get to my team and we start training from scratch.

There is one more nuance – in Spain there is a law according to which I may invite a child who is 15 years old to my gymnastics hall. But parents let children training reluctantly. There is a family cult and I can do nothing with the fact that parents don’t want their children to get any achievements, they just want their children to be with them.

The head coach of the Canadian team, left Russia 21 years ago.

-          In Canada hockey is known to be the most popular kind of sport. Rhythmic gymnastics exist at the private business level. Mu compatriots come, find the halls and inaugurate the clubs. There is the Federation that unites rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, trampoline and acrobatics. But rhythmic gymnastics gets a non-sufficient sponsorship.  We pay for everything ourselves: trainings, leotards, choreographers, masseurs. Only last year our trip to the World championship was sponsored. I don’t get any salary as the head coach of the team. I accepted this position because girls from my club won a lot, got to the Olympic Games in London. After we were qualified to the Olympics for the first time in history, I….was said: “Thank you”.


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