Rhythmic Gymnastics – Faced with the apathy at home, U.S. athletes are rallying fans on social media



Rio 2016 Olympic Games – Rhythmic Gymnastics – Preliminary Round – Individual All-Around Qualification – Rotation 1 – Rio Olympic Arena – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 08/19/2016. Laura Zeng (USA) of the USA competes with the ball. REUTERS / Ruben Sprich

CHICAGO, July 18 (Reuters) – Ever since she started training in rhythmic gymnastics at the age of seven, American Laura Zeng has realized that most people in her country don’t know much about her sport.

The 21-year-old took part in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, is six-time national champion and the best medal in her country in rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But there is little fanfare or funding for rhythmic gymnastics in the United States.

As a result, Zeng and her teammates have turned to social media to gather fans, keep the public informed, and stay up to date on what the competition is doing before the games.

“Social media has helped rhythmic gymnastics expand not only in the United States, but also worldwide,” said Zeng.

“Why stick your child in something that doesn’t pay off? When you do gymnastics, you know there are many different ways you can go.”

USA Gymnastics has stepped up its marketing and support for rhythmic gymnastics, and even ran a video series on Instagram to help explain the sport to a wider audience.

“The number of rhythmic members has fluctuated in recent years, but from the 2014-15 season to the 2019-20 season there was an overall increase of more than 34% in the rhythmic members,” said a spokeswoman for the organization.

However, gymnast Nastia Liukin said that rhythmic gymnastics had a problem with perception.

“It’s just not as popular as it is artistic,” said the overall winner of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “When you say the word ‘gymnastics’ you think of flips”,

USA Gymnastics’ main Instagram page has more than 800,000 followers, over 100 times the official rhythmic gymnastics.


Faced with this apathy, Zeng’s teammate Evita Griskenas has visited Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to raise her profile and blogged to educate people.

“People in the United States always think, ‘Rhythmic gymnastics? Is that the thing with the tapes? ‘”She said.

“It would be nice to let people know that it’s not just walking around like a headless chicken with a band.”

Rhythmic gymnastics has been an Olympic medal event since 1984 and is carried out in individual and group competitions with hoops, balls, clubs and ribbons.

Gymnasts are judged on several factors, including how they use the equipment – for example, throws, throws, twists, and catches. They are also marked on “body difficulties” such as balances, twists and jumps, as well as execution and artistry.

Eastern European countries have invested more in rhythmic gymnastics than the United States, and the sport has been popular in the former Soviet states for decades.

Thanks to strong support and infrastructure, Eastern European rhythmic gymnasts were able to train better and take part in competitions domestically during the COVID-19 pandemic, a clear advantage over their US counterparts.

“The inequality of sport is a huge thing when you compare its popularity here in the United States to that in Eastern European countries,” said Zeng.

Zeng has almost 16,000 Instagram followers, but that number pales in comparison to the roughly 340,000 followers of Russian twins Dina and Arina Averina, who are set to fight for gold and silver in Tokyo.

Israel’s Linoy Ashram, another chance for a medal, has more than 60,000 followers. Continue reading

However, this is the first time the United States has been able to send a full rhythmic gymnastics delegation to the Olympics since the 1996 Games included group competition.

“With the chance of reaching the final, we really are a sport to watch,” said Zeng.

Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.