Russia has dominated the sport of rhythmic gymnastics for decades, having won the group All-around title on all the Olympics since the 2000 Games in Sydney.

The Russian team once again proved their superiority in the sport after winning the country’s fifth consecutive Group All-around title at the Olympic competition held this weekend.

Russian rhythmic gymnastics team

With the group’s free-flowing acrobatic display on the second half of the competition, they managed to outscore their two strongest rivals, Spain and Bulgaria.

The Russian rhythmic gymnastics team was comprised of 2015 World Group All-around Champions –Anastasia Maksimova, Anastiasia Tatareva and Maria Tolkacheva, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anastasia Bliznyuk and Olympic debutant Vera Biriukova.

Since the start of the Rio 2016, the Russian group was the strong favorite to win the gold medal in the group competition. And the team did not disappoint the crowd, as they managed to keep their grip on the Olympic group All-around title.

But the Russian national team did not dominate all throughout the competition. In the qualification finals, the Russian team only finished a place behind the Spanish team.

Rio 2016 Group All-around Final

The Russians even fell on the third spot behind Spain and Bulgaria after a wobbly performance on the Ribbon routine. But the Russian team immediately recovered with their compelling performance in the six Clubs and two Hoops event, where they showcased an inspired routine to the music of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. Their strong performance at the second half of the competition earned them the highest score in the group event, rendering them impossible to catch.

The Russian national team obtained a total score of 36.233 to win the Olympic gold medal. The Spanish team took the silver ahead of Bulgaria, who settled for bronze. Both team acquired a score of 35.766.

Spain Close to Dethroning Olympic Champions Russia

Spain has the highest chance at dethroning the Russian team from the dominance they have established in the sport since 16 years ago in Sydney, as they have been leading midway through the competition. But the strong performance the Russians displayed at the second half of the competition proved they’re nearly unbeatable.

Russian rhythmic team
Team Russia’s Six Clubs Two Hoops performance (credits to the photo owner)

Spain acquired the Olympic title in the rhythmic gymnastics group All-around in 1996, the year the Rhythmic Group Gymnastics was established as a part of the Olympic programme. However, the Russians took the top honors in the Olympic since, and the Spanish team failed to reach the podium in that span. Spain returned to the Olympic podium in the group All-around Final on Sunday, winning the silver medal.

A Complete Gold Medal Sweep for Russia  

Aside from the Group All-around title, Russia has also won the Olympic title in the individual all-around. Prior to the group competition, two-time World All-around silver medalist Margarita Mamun won the individual gold medal, successfully beating her greatest friend and rival, Yana Kudryavtseva.

Mamun’s victory marks the fifth consecutive Olympic individual All-around crown for Russia, which goes along with the country’s fifth consecutive Olympic group All-around title.

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