Feature | Rhythmic Gymnastics

Olympic rhythmic gymnastics at Tokyo 2020: Top five things to know

Russia's Averina twins are set to continue their domination of the sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021. 

By Scott Bregman ·

Top Olympic rhythmic gymnasts at Tokyo 2020

Russia has dominated rhythmic gymnastics for decades, so it seems only fitting that they would need just one family – sisters Dina and Arina Averina – to continue that legacy.

With the post Rio 2016 retirements of gold and silver medallist Margarita Mamun and Yana Kudryavtesva, the Averinas have stepped in without missing a beat. The twin sisters will be favourites for a one-two finish at Tokyo 2020 with all eyes on Dina, the 2017, 2018 and 2019 World all-around champion. Dina Averina has won thirteen gold medals in her three appearances at the World Championships, while Arina Averina, twice runner-up in the all-around to her sister, has four World titles.

Linoy Ashram of Israel is one to watch if either Averina falters. The Israeli finished second at the 2018 Worlds and third in 2019. She is the reigning European all-around champion (though Russia chose not to participate in the event due to COVID-19 related concerns).

In group competition, Russia will once again be favoured for gold. A win in the group competition would be its sixth straight.

EXCLUSIVE: Get to know the Averina twins

"If you stay with us for more than a week, you can easily tell the differen...

Olympic rhythmic gymnastics schedule at Tokyo 2020

Rhythmic gymnastics competition at Tokyo 2020 runs 6 to 8 August, beginning with the individual all-around qualification. 

Below is the complete schedule and all times are in Japan Standard Time (JST).

Friday, 6 August

  • 10:20 – 13:15 - Individual all-around qualification 
  • 14:50 – 17:45 - Individual all-around qualification

Saturday, 7 August

  • 10:00 – 12:40 – Group all-around qualification
  • 15:20 – 18:00 – Individual all-around final

Sunday, 8 August

  • 11:00 – 12:55 – Group all-around final

Linoy Ashram: This has changed for me in 2020

Israel's rhythmic gymnastics star Linoy Ashram has been trying to focus on ...

Olympic rhythmic gymnastics competition format at Tokyo 2020

Individual athletes will compete on four apparatus, ball, hoop, clubs and ribbon, on a quest for gold. 26 individuals will compete in the qualification round with the top 10 qualifying to the next day’s medal round.

In the group competition, 14 groups of five members will compete in two routines: five balls and three hoops/two clubs. Of the 14 teams, eight advance to the finals from the qualifying round.

Margarita Mamun: The Rio 2016 individual all-around final routines

Relive Margarita Mamun's memorable individual all-around victory from Rio 2...

Olympic rhythmic gymnastics history

Rhythmic gymnastics debuted at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles where Canadian Lori Fung became the sport’s first Olympic gold medallist. Since Fung’s win, Eastern Europeans have dominated the sport with the Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine the last eight gold medals in a row. Russia owns the past five.

Only Yevgeniya Kanayeva has defended her title, winning at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. The sport’s reigning Olympic champion is Margarita Mamun, who held off teammate Yana Kudryavtesva for gold in one of the most dramatic finals in Olympic history. 

Group rhythmic was added at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games when Spain won the inaugural gold medal. Since Sydney 2000, however, Russia has won each of the gold medals up for grabs in group.

Kanaeva: Most successful ever rhythmic gymnast

Watch the highlights of Evgeniya Kanaeva's routines from Beijing 2008 and L...

Olympic rhythmic gymnastics venue at Tokyo 2020

Gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games will be held at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in the northern part of Tokyo’s Ariake district. The temporary venue has the capacity to hold 12,000 fans.