By 1920, Rhythmic gymnastics was practiced in many countries. In 1962 it was recognized as an international sport by FIG and the first World Championships were held in Budapest the following year with 28 contestants from nine European countries

AsModern rhythmic gymnastics began as a non-competitive sport in Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and originally emerged as a criticism of the gymnastics of the time, which did not distinguish between gymnastics for men and for women. It may, however, be regarded as a movement specifically aimed at women's physical fitness, because it was developed on the basis of their biological and physiological characteristics. But over time, it has also had an impact on men's gymnastics by modernizing and reforming it.  


Many people contributed to the development of the sport, the origins of which stretch back to ancient Greece.  Jean Jacques Rousseau and Johann Guts-Muths (the grandfathers of gymnastics) expanded the idea of the sport in the eighteenth century, Jean George Noverre was an advocate of the expression of art through the 1700's and acted as one by advocating the expression of art through movement,  and Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish exercise developer, promoted "aesthetic gymnastics". 

During the last years of the 19th century, George Demeney (1850 -1917), a French physiologist, began to take an interest in the problems of physical culture. After thoroughly studying the current systems of gymnastics, particularly the Swedish, he came to the conclusion that it was not built upon a sufficiently scientific foundation and that its movements were unnatural and static. He created various exercises to music that were designed to promote grace of movement, muscular flexibility, and good posture.

Emile Jacques Dalcroze (1865 - 1950), teacher of music at the Geneva Conservatory, followed with his "eurhythmics", which in his opinion, was absolutely necessary for the preparation of musicians as well as for dancers and other artists.

Elli Björksten (1870 - 1947) incorporated Dalcroze's eurhythmics and Demeney's achievements into the Swedish schools. The Finnish movement of gymnastics for women was influenced by these new trends and Hilma Jalkanen(1889 - 1964), building on the work of Elli Björksten, incorporated dance elements and expressive movements into a new Finnish school of gymnastics.

Rudolf von Laban (1879) and Marie Wigmann (1888), are other important names to mention on the road to the creation of Rhythmic Gymnastics. But above all is the famous dancer Isadora Duncan, whose rebellion against the dogmas of the classical ballet changed the direction of development of both the art and the sport.

In Germany, Rudolf Bode (b. 1881 - 1970) produced some valuable additions to the women's gymnastics in the form of body waves and expressive body movements, and Heinrich Medau introduced hand apparatus (ball, ropes and tambourines) and in 1929 established a school in Berlin to train the new leaders of what he called "modern gymnastics".

This term was officially recognized in 1951 and the World Modern Gymnastics Federation was established. After World War II, scoring methods, based partly on Idla's degree of difficulty tables, were developed in Europe to create the competitive form of rhythmic gymnastics, which was recognized as a sport by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in 1962. FIG changed the official name to "Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics" in 1973, to "Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics" in 1977, simplified to "Rhythmic Gymnastics" in 1998.