ECSS Congress, Prague, Czech Republic 2019


European College of Sport Science

ECSS Prague 2019

24th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS)

Czech Republic Czech Republic, Prague, Prague Congress Centre

Video format: MP4 | watch on YouTube

The European College of Sport Science Annual Congress in Prague 2019


The European College of Sport Science (ECSS) is the leading association of sport scientists in Europe, and its main scientific event is the ECSS Annual Congress. The ECSS was founded in 1995, and the 1st ECSS Congress was held one year after that in Nice, France. Nowadays, the ECSS Congress is the biggest event in sport and exercise science in Europe, and the second biggest in the world, with around 3 000 people participating every year. This year the ECSS Congress is being held on 3-6 July 2019 at the Prague Congress Centre in Prague, Czech Republic.


At this Congress I will be presenting findings from our study on body composition and nutrient intake of elite rhythmic gymnasts from Bulgaria. The participants in this study consists of a unique sample of world-class competitors, bronze medallists from the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, and gold medallists from World Rhythmic Gymnasics Championships. Our presentation will be part of the Oral presentations from the official scientific programme at the ECSS Prague 2019. The abstract will be published as conference proceedings of the 24th Annual Congress of the ECSS, and together with our presentation will be both available for download on this page. After the Congress, our study will be built upon further and the complete findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.


Body composition and nutrient intake of Olympic and elite rhythmic gymnasts

Oral Presentations

Dr Stefan Kolimechkov at the BASES Conference 2018 in Harrogate, United Kingdom

ECSS Prague 2019

Body composition and nutrient intake of Olympic and elite rhythmic gymnasts

Stefan Kolimechkov, Silvia Miteva, Iliya Yanev, Lubomir Petrov
National Sports Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria

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Special consideration is given to the external appearance of rhythmic gymnasts, and this demands particular adherence to their diet and body composition. The purpose of this study was to assess the body composition and nutrient intake of top-level Olympic and elite rhythmic gymnasts.


Twenty-one elite rhythmic gymnasts from Bulgaria were divided into three groups: FNT (First National Team, 2016 Olympic bronze medallists, n=5, mean age 24.2), SNT (Second National Team, 2017 World silver medallists, n=8, mean age 17.8), and JT (Junior Team, n=8, mean age 12.6). Body fat and muscle mass were estimated by skinfold methods, VO2max was measured, and ethics approval was granted prior to the tests. The dietary intake was assessed by using a food frequency questionnaire, in addition to questionnaires concerning the nutritional behaviour, as well as the weight control management.


The average height-for-age percentile score in the SNT was 83.0, which was significantly higher than the 50th percentile (PR) of the WHO norms. The average BMI of the FNT was at the lower normal limit (18.5 kg/cm2). The average BMI PR for the SNT and JT were significantly lower than the 50th PR of the WHO norms (‘thinness’, BMI < 15th PR). No significant differences between the measured weight and the target weight were found. The % body fat of the gymnasts was within the norms for athletes. The FNT had significantly higher % muscle mass (44.0%) in comparison with the SNT and JT (40.5% and 37.6%, respectively). The SNT showed the highest VO2max results (52.0 ml/kg/min, p < 0.05) vs the FNT (44.0 ml/kg/min) and the JT (38.6 ml/kg/min). The relative energy intake of the gymnasts did not differ significantly from the guidelines for female gymnasts, whilst the energy contribution of proteins was significantly higher in the SNT and JT (17.6% and 19.4%, respectively) than the recommended 15%. However, there was no significant difference between the relative protein intake between the groups (1.7 g/kg/24h vs 1.7 g/kg/24h vs 1.9 g/kg/24h). The energy contribution of fats was above the recommended norms in the FNT, whilst that in the other groups was within the norms. The relative fat, protein and carbohydrate intakes were within the norms. All of the rhythmic gymnasts followed the desired nutritional habits, and 17 of the 21 competitors indicated a high degree of self-control in relation to their nutritional behaviour. The methods most frequently applied by the gymnasts for weight management included a reduction of carbohydrates, fats and salt, use of sauna facilities, and additional aerobic activities.


The BMI and % body fat of all gymnasts were considerably low, but within the reported values for elite gymnasts. Olympic and elite rhythmic gymnasts maintain their target weight, while they are keeping their % body fat and nutrient intake at the lower normal limits.


Oral Presentation: Body composition and nutrient intake of Olympic and elite rhythmic gymnasts

Presenting Author: Dr Stefan Kolimechkov

Date & time: 5th July 2019, 4:45 pm

Oral Presentations, Prague Congress Centre, South Hall 1B
Chair: ...
Session-ID: OP-PM45 Nutrition: Protein and Dietary Regimens
Abstract-ID: 1081




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Latest News

Preparing the presentation for the ECSS ...


Accepted to Present at the 24th Annual Congress of the ECSS in Prague 2019

14 March 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Our study is accepted for an oral presentation at the Physiology and Sports Medicine Sessions of the ECSS Congress in Prague.

Dr Stefan Kolimechkov is accepted to present at the ECSS Congress in Prague 2019


Submission of an Abstract to the ECSS Prague 2019

14 February 2019

Our abstract entitled 'Body composition and nutrient intake of Olympic and elite rhythmic gymnasts' is now submitted to the ECSS Reviewing Panel.


Preparing the Study

December 2018

I am invited to join Dr Petrov from the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, and Dr Yanev from the Gymnastics Department at the National Sports Academy in Bulgaria, in an exciting study on elite rhythmic gymnasts from the Bulgarian National Team, and present the results at an international conference (preferably the ECSS Congress).


24th ECSS Congress in Prague 2019

August 2018

I could not attend the ECSS Congress in Dublin this year due to my preparation for the PhD defence, but I hope that I will attend the biggest event in sports science in Europe for the first time next year.

ECSS Prague 2019



Stefan Kolimechkov, PhD

Silvia Miteva

Iliya Yanev, PhD

Lubomir Petrov, PhD

Contact information with the corresponding author:


How to cite this study?

After the 24th ECSS Congress in Prague, our study was built upon further and the complete findings were published in the the Journal of ...., Vol.?, 2019, so you can cite the article in this journal as follows:



ECSS Prague 2019