After four back-to-back interactive avatars, the Google is going back to static for the London 2012 rhythmic gymnastics doodle on Saturday.
Rhythmic gymnastics is one of the two female-only sports in the Olympics. The other is synchronised swimming – that Google celebrated in its 10th London 2012 doodle on August 5. After the constant tippity tap of the keyboards, the weekend will be relatively silent and graceful with swirling ribbons and shiny balls. The doodle though only has a gymnast with her ribbon that swirls to form the two Os of the Google logo.
Rhythmic gymnastics is described as a combination of ballet, gymnastics, theatrical dance, and apparatus manipulation. And body manipulation, considering how these women might pull one foot over their head or do the splits while upside down and balancing on their chests.
The Russians rule in both rhythmic gymnastics and synchronised swimming, and the sports are hugely popular in Eastern Europe.
There is some debate over whether rhythmic gymnastics is pure kitsch or requires sporting skill? It is in fact a mixture of both art and sport.
Look past the spangly outfits, fixed grins and thick layers of make-up. Detractors may shake their heads in bewilderment over all this multi-coloured kitsch but just watch what the gymnasts can do with a twirling hoop or a swirling ribbon.
Lyrics are banned, the gymnasts can use only the tune as accompaniment. Sounds “such as engines, police sirens and objects breaking are not allowed,” the rules state.
Perpetual motion. Poetry in motion. If they can combine the two, the gymnasts are up there with top marks but some real disasters must be avoided.
Never ever let your hoop flutter in the air. Woe betide the gymnast whose ribbon gets knotted. Always balance your ball impeccably like a performing seal. For the club-wielding routine, think drum majorette meets juggler.
The gymnasts in their spangly outfits have to sit in the “kiss and cry” seats in front of the audience waiting to hear their scores.
Detractors may dismiss the sport as being over the top but there is no doubting the skills of the gymnasts who start as young as six perfecting their ball, hoop, club and ribbon routines.