Art gymnastics is one of the most popular sports engaging Bulgarian girls and women. It is, however, insufficiently known in all over the world. This fact along with comprehensive investigation of this topic determines the actuality of the problem and its necessary working out. This study is based on literature sources, archives, videotapes and conversations with coaches of long standing and aims at revealing the specificity of Bulgarian art gymnastics and promoting its popularization abroad.
The nascence of the art gymnastics in Bulgaria is followed-up. The creation of a Commission on the sports in 1951 and the first National championship in 1952 lays the groundwork of its organized development. An attention is paid to selection and training in single age groups. The sports itself is based on dancing by using various choreographic forms. Competitors make individually or in ensemble use of the following apparata: rope, ball, hoop, bats, and band. Their combinations represent a set of different obligatory elements defining the degree of difficulty.
The structure and forms of training in Bulgaria concentrated in 10 special secondary schools and in clubs attached to the sports societies are clarified. The successful sports calendar of the Bulgarian art gymnastics is demonstrated as participations in European and world championships and Olympic Games is reviewed with emphasis on the specificity of the Bulgarian school of art gymnastics. The comparison with foreign schools shows that the Bulgarian combinations are distinguished by high-grade technical performance with the apparata, art, and originality as well. Most eminent competitors then graduate from the National Academy of Sports and work as established trainers in Bulgaria and abroad. Thus the Bulgarian school actively contributes to the progress of the art gymnastics in the world.
Ever since the Federation was founded on March 16th 1964, Bulgarian training methods became standard worth aiming for. France, Spain, Netherlands, Greece, Japan, South Africa, Canada, USA, UK, Austria, Belgium, Brazil and many other countries owe the improvement of the level of their rhythmic gymnastics to Bulgarian specialists.
Half a century tradition is the fundament Bulgarian rhythmic gymnastics stepped on, to build its notorious position world widely. Every nation would envy the long list of our World and European titles:
1969, 1971, 1973 Maria Guigova - Medals: 13 (9 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
1981 Anelia Ralenkova - Medals: 22 (12 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
1983, 1985 Diliana Gueorguieva - Medals: 12 (9 gold, 3 bronze)
1987 - Bianka Panova - Medals: 21 (15 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze)
1993, 1994, 1995 Maria Petrova - Medals: 28 (13 gold, 9 silver, 6 bronze)
1980 Iliana Raeva - Medals: 19 (5 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze)
1982 Anelia Ralenkova - Medals: 22 (12 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
1984 Anelia Ralenkova - Medals: 22 (12 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)
1986 Lili Ignatova - Medals: 33 (19 gold, 12 silver, 2 bronze)
1986 Bianka Panova - Medals: 21 (15 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze)
1988 Adriana Dounavska - Medals: 15 (7 gold, 6 silver, 2 bronze)
1988 Elizabeth Koleva - Medals: 5 ( 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
1990 Youlia Baytcheva - Medals: 13 (2 gold, 4 silver, 7 bronze)
2001 Simona Peytcheva - Medals: 5 (3 gold, 2 silver)