Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Venue(s): Rio Olympic Arena, Barra Olympic Park, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Date Started: August 20, 2016
Date Finished: August 21, 2016
Having won the group competition at each of the last four Olympics, Russia were clear favourites to once more lift the title. Not only were they the reigning Olympic champions, but Russia went into the Games as the defending world champions after they won their first group title since 2007, and three members of that squad, [Anastasiya Maksimova], [Anastasiya Tatareva] and Maria Tolkacheva were in Rio. Bulgaria, the 2014 world champions and 2015 silver medallists, were the biggest challenge to the Russians, and Spain, regarded as the âclubsâ experts, came third in the 2015 worlds and were hoping for a repeat in Rio. It was Spain who led the qualifiers by just 0.233 of a point ahead of Russia with Belarus a further 0.083 of a point behind. Spain ranked one in the clubs and hoop, and two in the ribbons while Russian were first in the ribbons but ranked a lowly sixth in the clubs and hoop.
Just as their domination was being challenged Russia put in their best performance to outscore Spain on the clubs and ribbons and rank third in the ribbon to capture a fifth successive gold medal, winning 36.233 points, while Spain and Bulgaria tied second place on 35.766, although the silver medal went to the Spaniards as their execution scores were one tenth of a point better than the Bulgarians. It was Spainâs first rhythmic gymnastics medal since they won the team event at Atlanta in 1996.