U.S. High School Gymnastics participation

Down over a 5 year period.

(via Greg Marsden)

Shawn Johnson went to regular school

Shawn on Freakonomics:

… My coach was Chinese, born and raised Chinese. When he was three years old, living in China, he was taken away from his family and actually put into their Olympic system. And raised to be an Olympic gymnast in China. And he kind of had this career within the gymnastics world in China that I would say almost traumatized him. He lost his childhood. He kind of lost his family in this trend. This crazy career.

So when he was 21 years old he actually left China, came to the United States, opened a gym in West Des Moines, Iowa, of all places. And had this dream, this American dream, to raise an Olympian or Olympians that were also children and how to balance in life and were fun loving and had a true childhood.

And I was really really blessed to fall under his guidance and his coaching because he let me go to school. I mean not even let me. He kind of demanded that we go to a full day of school. He encouraged us to go to school dances, to go to Dairy Queen after practice. He incentivized us by letting us sleep over at the gym and have popcorn and ice cream. And he just was this fun loving guy.

And I think because he let us have fun as children, but yet pushed us and challenged us at the same time, it challenged us and encouraged us to go farther in the sport. And I feel the intensity of elite athletics, you weed out a lot of people just because you burn them out so quickly. So no, I don’t think the intensity is necessary. I think you need intense training but in small doses, not the 80 hours a week people think. …

(via Steve Arkell)


by site editor Rick McCharles

RecGymnastics.com is the sister site to this one. It’s dedicated to non-competitive programs at Gymnastics clubs, schools and … wherever.

“… where coaches, teachers, educators and program directors can discuss ideas, games, lesson plans, etc. … Everything non-competitive.”

Anyone can read and comment. But what we really need are experts in the field who will share their expertise.

Email RickMcCharles (a) gmail.com if you think you might want to be a micro blogger on RecGymnastics.

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Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in St. Louis

After NCAA Nationals while walking in Forest Park, close to the site of the 1904 Olympics, I happened upon this statue of one of the historical founders of Gymnastics.

On either side are statues of a male and female athlete.

Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (11 August 1778 – 15 October 1852) was a German gymnastics educator and nationalist. His admirers know him as Turnvater Jahn, roughly meaning “father of gymnastics” Jahn. …

The first Turnplatz, or open-air gymnasium, was opened by Jahn in Berlin in 1811, and the Turnverein (gymnastics association) movement spread rapidly. …

A man of populistic nature, rugged, eccentric and outspoken, Jahn often came into conflict with the authorities. …

Jahn promoted the use of parallel barsrings and high bar in international competition. In honor and memory of him, some gymnastic clubs, called Turnvereine (German: Turnvereine), took up his name …


Somehow the word STOMP seems an oxymoron in an anti-bullying campaign.

Perhaps that’s intended to make the URL more memorable. #stompoutbullying

Click PLAY or watch Laurie Hernandez on Twitter.


decline of USA High School Gymnastics

Brian Mozey:

… 1978, the United States had 1,279 high schools and 29,943 boys participating in high school boys gymnastics. There were also 32 states that had at least one school competing in the high school level.

Fast forward to the year 2016-17, the United States has 117 high schools and 1,894 boys competing in boys gymnastics at the high school level. From 32 states in 1978 to eight states in 2016-17, there’s been a drastic decline in men’s gymnastics.

… Iowa High School Athletic Association removed boys gymnastics from its sports because of liability issues and insurance related concerns. …

The national decline of high school boys gymnastics

High School Gymnastics in Canada has nearly disappeared completely. ☹️

Mark Williams points out that Texas still has a thriving competitive High School program, WAG and MAG.