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‘Cross battles’ in Rhythmic Gymnastics with 'knock-out' rounds and gymnasts competing directly against another to be introduced for the new European Cup

The European Cup series, a new event by European Gymnastics, is to be debuted in Baku (Azerbaijan), from 03 to 05 May 2024 with a rather unconventional format that promises to surprise audiences and press alike.

Announced on January 16th, the event welcomes world-wide National Federations. European Gymnastics announced the following:

The European Cup Series aims to present high-level competitions with new and exciting formats. On the programme in 2024: ‘Cross battles’ in Rhythmic Gymnastics, knock-out rounds with gymnasts competing directly against another to reach the following stage.

"That looks like a fun format and something that the media can report on without knowing much about rhythmic gymnastics!" a Facebook user comments.

The strategy changes that gymnasts and coaches must conduct for this event may reshape approaches to competition. Firstly, one must consider the fact that each phase of the final will be to a different apparatus, which poses a lot of questions.

We may see very safe and plain routines for ball and hoop and riskier routines when it comes to ribbon since it's the final apparatus at competition. For the general public that this format is trying to win over, this may just reinforce the idea that ribbon is the only "fun" apparatus to watch.

On the other hand, there can be speculation on which parts of the routine gymnasts will prioritise. Will Difficulty take the centre stage throughout the entire cross-battle? Will artistry be a central part to master in a routine? Will different aspects be more important at different stages of the competition?

European Gymnastics also confirmed that a total of €40,000 prize money will be paid for this event. Individual Senior gymnasts are said to win €8,000 for first place, €5,000 for second place, €3,000 for third place, €2,000 for fourth, €1,000 for fifth, and €500 for sixth in the all-around cross battles per gymnast.

This possible financial incentive may entice gymnasts to participate in the European Cup instead of some more established competitions to be celebrated at the same date, such as the International Tournament Portimao (Portugal, May 03-06). The Gdynia Rhythmic Stars event in Poland is also to take place from the 3rd to the 6th of May.

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