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Tokyo Olympics rhythmic gymnastics in review: Dramatic upsets end Russian dominance

Tokyo Olympics rhythmic gymnastics in review: Dramatic upsets end Russian dominance
Posted at 9:31 AM, Aug 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-08 02:33:16-04

Rhythmic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics saw a dramatic changing of  the guard after two decades of Russian dominance. 

In both the individual all-around and group finals, the Russian favorites finished second after winning both at the last five straight games. The individual event was not without some controversy, however, and the Russian Olympic Committee later said it has asked the International Gymnastics Federation to investigate the judging of the competition.

FULL REPLAYS: Individual Final | Group Final

MEDAL TABLE

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Bulgaria 1 0 0 1
Israel 1 0 0 1
ROC 0 2 0 2
Belarus 0 0 1 1
Italy 0 0 1 1

Individual All-Around

Israel's Linoy Ashram pulled off a stunning upset in a dramatic individual all-around rhythmic gymnastics final, winning her nation's second gymnastics gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics and first ever in rhythmic gymnastics.

Ashram scored 107.800 overall, besting three-time world all-around champion and heavy gold medal favorite Dina Averina (ROC), as well as her identical twin sister Arina, a two-time individual world champion. Dina scored 107.650 and Arina 103.100, finishing fourth. 

The 22-year-old Ashram, the 2018 world all-around silver medalist, scored a 27.550 with the hoop, 28.300 with the ball, 28.650 with the clubs and 23.300 with the ribbon — despite dropping the apparatus.

Dina Averina scored a 27.200 with the hoop, 28.300 with the ball, 28.150 with the clubs and 24.00 with the ribbon. Bronze medalist Alina Harnasko, who represents Belarus, scored 26.500, 27.500, 27.600 and 21.100. 

During her ribbon routine, Arina Averina needed a big score, but had to swap out her original ribbon with a replacement after the first appeared to be knotted, and made multiple other errors. The deductions stacked up and she earned a 19.550, the lowest score of any performance in the final, eventually putting her out of medal contention. Her first three scores were 26.850, 27.900 and 27.800. 

Dina Averina has 13 world titles in all, as well as 12 European Championships titles. Arina Averina was the all-around silver medalist at Worlds in 2017 and 2019. The twins, 22, were making their Olympic debuts. 

Notably, at the 2016 Olympics, the reigning three-time world champion Yana Kudryavtseva was also upset, but by her own teammate Margarita Mamun. Russian athletes had won the individual and group all-around titles at the last five straight Olympics.

Earlier in the Tokyo Games, artistic gymnast Artur Dolgoypat won Israel's first-ever gymnastics medal — a gold — in the men's floor exercise event final. Israel's Nicol Zelikman also advanced to the rhythmic final, finishing seventh.

Americans Evita Griskenas and Laura Zeng did not advance to the final, finishing 12 and 13th, respectively, in qualifications. 

SEE MORE: Top moments from drama-filled rhythmic gymnastics final

Group

Bulgaria, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, upset the gold medal favorite Russian Olympic Committee to win the group all-around rhythmic gymnastics title at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Bulgaria led the field with its five balls performance in the first rotation, scoring a 47.550. The nation followed that up with a 44.550 in its hoops and clubs routine for a 92.100 overall.

ROC, competing last, needed higher than a 45.900 in its hoops and clubs routine to overtake Bulgaria for the win. After scoring a 46.200 in Rotation 1, ROC ended up with a 44.200 in Rotation 2 to move into the No. 2 spot with a 90.700 overall.

The ROC initially scored a 44.200 in Rotation 2 and submitted and inquiry to have its scored reviewed, but it wasn't enough to change the podium standings.

Italy took the bronze medal with a total score of 87.700 (44.850 in Rotation 1 and 42.850 in Rotation 2).

Russian athletes had won the individual and group titles at the last five straight Olympics, but took second in both in Tokyo (the group discipline was added to the Olympic lineup in 1996 and Spain won the first edition). 

The American rhythmic group did not advance to the final, finishing 11th in qualification.