Acrobatic Gymnastics: Walker And Williams Winning Wonderfully in Wroclaw

Walker And Williams Winning Wonderfully in Wroclaw

The wonderful World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, saw the acrobatic gymnastics of both Lewis Walker and Kitty Williams lift a brilliant bronze medal. In this most specialist skill, the charismatic mixed pairing performed superbly to make the podium, landing just behind Russia and Belarus.

Getting to the final was an achievement in itself given the standard of competition. But then the dynamic duo scored an impressive 28.810 points impressing both spectators and judges along the way.

Lewis said: “It feels amazing, it’s our first major championships as a pair and we just wanted to do all our hard work and commitment justice. We feel like we’ve gone out there and shown everyone what we can do and how amazing our sport is so we’re both very proud.”

Acrobatic Gymnastics Draws The Crowds

Understandably this can be a nerve-racking experience at the best of times, but being first to compete in qualifying in front of a sizeable crowd in the amazing Centennial Hall, can’t have been easy. Lewis went on to say: “We were very focused in qualifying on making sure both our routines were clean,” added 16-year-old Kitty. In the final, there was no pressure or expectation, once we completed our first balance move I think we knew it was going well.”

Just to make matters a little tenser, the pair then had to sit out quite a long wait as the trampoline competition got under way. They completed their balance routine scoring 28.170 giving them a total of 55.350, and a clear margin over the USA to qualify 4th and make the final.

Overcoming Adversity To Become World Champion

Kitty’s proudest moment was becoming age-group World Champion 2016 in China, and she loves her discipline. Soaring through the air is a great feeling for the Croydon based athlete who loves being part of a team.

But she admits to having really bad eyesight and having to wear contact lenses when she trains and competes. This in itself is proof to all youngsters, you can overcome any minor problems if you really want too. Mind you, both athletes have four-hour training sessions each day, not only to perfect routines, but to aid conditioning.

The discipline needed to become successful in this dynamic area is huge.

Poland’s Biggest Sporting Event

More than 3,000 athletes, from 31 sports and 111 countries, were taking part in the biggest sporting event ever staged in Poland. This fantastic extravaganza is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. Founded in 1981 and very much the ‘Olympics for non-Olympic sport’, they provide a gateway to Olympic inclusion.

Acrobatic gymnastics is the competitive field where partnerships of gymnasts work together and perform figures consisting of acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling, set to music. There are three types of performances; a ‘balance’ routine where the focus is on strength, poise and flexibility. A ‘dynamic’ routine including throwing, somersaults and catches, and a ‘combined’ routine including elements from both balance and dynamic gymnastics.

It’s governed and regulated by the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG). At international level, there are four FIG categories of competition defined by age; 11-16, 12-18, 13-19, and 15+ (Senior).

The fascinating thing about this discipline is in each partnership, the gymnasts’ different sizes and abilities will be balanced to complement each other in order to undertake the complex moves. Some will mainly carry out supporting and pitching roles, known as bases, they are then balanced with smaller gymnasts who become the ‘tops’.

There’s not much doubt both Lewis Walker and Kitty Williams are both tops when it comes to representing Great Britain.

Gymnastics Academy Coach Helen Reddy Wins Double Award

Gymnastics Academy Coach Helen Reddy Wins Double Award

Helen Reddy from Ivybridge Community College has been named as  Devon Sports Coach of the Year and received The Outstanding Contribution Award at a recent awards ceremony. Known to many as a ‘super woman teacher’, she’s managed to create not just a forward thinking gymnastics academy, but also the most successful school gymnastics team in the UK.

If ever there was a superb example of how to get youngsters more involved in this exciting sport, this was it. Having built up and run the Ivybridge Gymnastics Academy at ICC, Helen has supervised a squad that has won more national titles than any other UK school in the past two years.

Devon gymnastics Are In Very Good Hands

To add to her teaching and Academy commitments, this incredibly hard working, high-performance coach also uses her expertise at nearby Honiton Gymnastics Club. As a former national gymnast of some repute, and now a level five British coach, she’s vastly experienced in the sport.

And now she’s using all the knowledge accrued across more than 30 years to help the next generation of gymnasts.

Helen has constructed a sustainable coaching structure enabling students to take their first steps as young gymnastic leaders. The innovative scheme has been endorsed by British Gymnastics, selecting Ivybridge Community College as one of only a handful of apprentice hubs in the UK.

Recognition Of Her Commitment

The Outstanding Contribution award was selected by judges from people short-listed in all categories. It recognises an individual or organisation that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to develop sport in the county.

Sandy Park, home of Exeter Chiefs rugby club, provided the venue for the ceremony, in the presence of the guest speaker and Olympic gold medal rower James Cracknell. The aim was to celebrate the best of community sport in Devon.

Helen said: “I honestly didn’t think I was in with a chance, so I was stunned when they read out my name. It’s a real honour to be welcomed to collect an award in front of so many of your peers, so when they announced the second award I was even more astounded.

A Gymnastics Academy 15 Years In The Making

Helen began her PE teaching career at ICC in 2002 and has held the role of Head of Year, Director of Sport and Head of Performing arts. She began building gymnastics at the school by focusing on starting young boys’ gymnastics. It was a case of slowly moving forward into other areas before the Academy took shape.

This amazing lady is responsible for the development of more than 300 students at primary and secondary level, and she even comes up with the ideas and directs the performing art show at the college, involving 500 pupils. She believes this link is important, as such mass participation can help identify those who have a real gymnastic talent.

The overall aim isn’t about finding an elite gymnast, but encouraging pupils of all abilities to at least attend one of the extra-curricular clubs for a short while. And to top it all, Helen also organises the UK’s biggest annual acrobatic development competition in Honiton every year.

Recent achievements have included coaching and choreographing routines for British champion teams at junior and senior levels. Helen added: “I’m surrounded by a team of dedicated coaches, helpers and supporters who make it possible for me to put successful procedures in place. I couldn’t do any of this without their continued support.”

The award organisers, as well as those around her, see this passionate coach as someone who really does make a difference to young people in terms of helping offer valuable life skills. And who knows, she could be bringing on the next star gymnast.

Liz Slater, leisure partnership manager at Plymouth City Council who nominated Helen for the awards, said: “In my 25 years of involvement in Devon sport rarely have I witnessed a teacher and coach who has such a high level of passion, enthusiasm and a will to make a difference to young people.”

The Devon Sports 20th Anniversary Awards were organised by Active Devon in Association with The Exeter Foundation and Exeter College.

Team Gym At The British Gymnastics Championship Series 2017

Team Gym At The British Gymnastics Championship Series 2017

The Liverpool Echo Arena will be packed to the rafters at the end of this month enjoying an amazing four days of the 2017 British Gymnastics Championship Series. ‘Team Gym’ is the name of the game, amid fervent support from friends, family and spectators.

It’s a genuinely exciting concept where the action just keeps coming, as the teams battle it out in some pretty incredible disciplines. The Floor event will see between six and twelve gymnasts performing to instrumental music on a non-sprung area of 14 and 18 metres.

Team Gym Presents The Fabulous and Charismatic

Involving both men and women, each member of the team must take part in the fabulous floor programme using expressive presentation in a number of gymnastic elements. You’ll see charismatic choreography, meticulous in its planning and using linked movements, synchronisation and excellent teamwork.

Each routine should have two pirouettes, two balance-power elements, two jumps-leaps and one combination of two elements. Female teams are asked to include body waves, while the men should incorporate swing-type movement, lifts or throws.

Promoting Whole Body Gymnastics

The idea is to involve whole body gymnastics in the process, and it’s simply great to watch. With apparatus in mind, The Trampet sees the teams performing their best somersaults, with a section of individual programmes incorporating the vault table.

There are three different rounds with six gymnasts in each, but in the first round, everyone must perform the same element with a controlled landing all important. You’ll see lots of twisting double somersaults, quite dramatic in their execution.

Tumbling Teams Take Their Turns

For those who love their tumbles, this is the competition for you as Teams perform a tumbling series on a 15-metre track with what they call good ‘streaming’ – consecutive tumbles quite close to each other.

The result is a fast, exciting and dynamic section of the competition. As you might expect the evenness of the streaming is crucial. There are three rounds in this section all performed to music.

In every series, there must be three differing acrobatic elements. Again, all members of the team must perform the same series for the first round. This gets particularly interesting because you may be allowed between 6 and 12 gymnasts on the floor at one time – but you only need to put six forward for each tumble pass.

The mixed teams must include three boys and three girls. Here, the judge will be looking out for a really good flow to the tumbles and a perfect finish on the landing area. The gymnasts aren’t expected to stand still at the end of their run but must show control as they move out the way for the next tumbler.

All in all, it makes for an enthralling competition, highly recommended for those who have never been to a big gymnastics event.

So remember – from 27 – 30 July you will be treated to an incredible feast of gymnastics with multiple disciplines and age groups uniting under one roof competing for prestigious British titles.

Here’s the event schedule:

Thursday 27 and Friday 28 July – Aerobic Gymnastics British Championships.

Friday 28, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July – Rhythmic Gymnastics and Acrobatic Gymnastics British Championships. Sharing the floor over three days.

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July – TeamGym British Championships and GB Gym for Life Challenge

Friday 28 July – British Gymnastics Gala Evening

Introducing The New Gymnastics Form That’s Engaging Teenage Girls

New gymnastics form TeamGym

New research has confirmed ‘TeamGym’ gymnastics and ‘MY CLUB’ are proving a hit with teenage girls. In a week when a separate report has revealed how difficult it is to get youngsters exercising, this is music to the ears for the creators of this new gymnastics form.

These new concepts are also providing an added attraction for those girls wanting to get involved in gymnastics, but preferring to be eased gently into the more technical aspects of the sport. And let’s be honest, all youngsters should be given the opportunity of enhancing their lives through a sport of their own choosing.

Women In Sport Study

The study was undertaken by Women in Sport in partnership with British Gymnastics. It found by introducing a team ethic and a more relaxed style of coaching, those involved enjoyed the activity even more. Individuals can still enjoy gymnastics without competing, so the scheme really does cater for everyone in this sense.

The aim is to take skills from other types of gymnastics and add a team element – this means everyone works together to both learn and perform more flexible routines. This involves the tumbling track, trampette and floor, eliminating apparatus like the beam and uneven bars. In fact, many girls of this age said they’d prefer to leave those items out.

Taking away the many hours of work and discipline was also very appealing, enabling the girls to fit the sport fully into their lives and still enjoy benefits both physically and socially.

An Exciting New Gymnastics Form

MY CLUB itself is becoming a huge success, giving gymnasts total control over each session they undertake. They can pick up the skills they want to learn in their own time, and create excellent displays along the way.

One of the great things about the concept is the fact girls can choose to take part alongside friends and choose exactly which apparatus to use. It seems a lot of youngsters welcome the opportunity of developing skills they can show off to friends and family, so it’s no surprise to also discover they felt it made them proud of their bodies, and becoming very active actually seemed easier. Those teenagers interviewed said it felt better than leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Funded by Sport England, the project has completely engaged Women in Sport who feel it resonates deeply with girls. It’s all part of the plan to offer greater diversity and meeting the requirements of the all important Equality Standard in Sport.

Everyone agrees gymnastics has always welcomed youngsters keen to learn more, but this new approach is quickly winning friends up and down the UK. The fact is, this new gymnastics form is proving a great way to engage girls in a sport as teenagers but in a way that best suits them. It’s another hugely successful initiative with full credit going to British Gymnastics.

You can discover more about taking part in MY CLUB or TeamGym by visiting www.DiscoverGymnastics.uk  

Or, if you’re a club and you’d like to find out more about MY CLUB and TeamGym or if you would like to access the case study, please contact participation@british-gymnastics.org

2018 European Gymnastics Championships Heads For The Greatness Of Glasgow

SSE Hydro Arena Glasgow - 2018 European Gymnastics Championships

It may be more than a year away but an exciting new multi-sport event is already capturing the imagination of British gymnastics fans. The Glasgow 2018 European Gymnastics Championships will join together the existing Europeans for Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon along with a new Golf team championship.

But the cream for club members up and down the land will be the inclusion of gymnastics. Tickets are already on sale, and seemingly going well for an exciting event set to bring 250,000 sports fans into both Glasgow and Scotland as a whole next year.

Gymnastics Set For The Hydro Arena

From the second of August, there will be an exile rating 10-days of gymnastics competition carrying men’s and women’s competitions at both junior and senior level at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow. It’s  a particularly memorable venue for one of the sports stars Ellie Downie, who said:  “It’s going to be amazing to perform on home soil, The Hydro Arena is a very memorable arena for me, it’s where we won our first World team medal, so it will be nice to be back there. I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible with the home crowd, and there’s going to be a lot of hype around it.”

This sporting extravaganza will be staged every four years and is certain to become a top highlight on the world’s sporting event calendar. In fact, this will be an 11-day festival of world-class sporting excellence broadcast across the globe.

The initial event will certainly enhance Scotland’s reputation as a high-end sporting host – and a potential 1.03 billion viewers across Europe alone will watch the ongoing action. Indeed, as you might expect, the BBC will be a major player.

52 Nations Set To Be Involved

More than 4,500 athletes from 52 nations will be involved in a bid to be crowned European Champion, with the athletics themselves being hosted in Berlin. For the gymnasts, this will also provide the opportunity of mixing with all the other athletes, in itself creating a truly wonderful atmosphere – with an almost Olympic feel.

Ellie added: “It’s going to be unreal going in as reigning all-around champion. I’ve never been in that position before at a European Championships so it will be different in that respect, but it will still be really exciting.”

Dubbed ‘The friendliest city in the world’, Glasgow is one of the world’s top 10 sporting cities offering a number of world-class venues such as the Emirates Arena and The Hydro. This won’t be just a welcome sporting feast but also a cultural celebration everyone involved will enjoy.

Yet again, however, this sparkling event will propel the sport of gymnastics into the hearts of many new fans. It will also continue to raise the profile of some of our most talented performers, like Nile Wilson who told the media: “It’s fantastic to have it in this country, I have competed in Glasgow numerous times at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships and each time it was fantastic. To have a multi-sport event as well is really exciting, as it’s a chance to meet athletes from different sports and interact with them.”

It will be the biggest sporting event hosted in Scotland since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The gymnastics will be an exhibition to savour, adding to the greatness of Glasgow and the event as a whole.

Fans can buy tickets for 84 thrilling sessions of sport starting at just £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s and over-60s.

Tickets for all events can be purchased from www.glasgow2018.com/tickets and will be sold on a first come first served basis, with fans encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

FIG New Duty Of Care Initiative: Safeguarding Gymnasts

Safeguarding Gymnasts

The Federation of International Gymnastics is to develop a duty of care code for safeguarding gymnasts and everyone involved in the sport. Their determined commitment means gymnasts will be able to compete safe in the knowledge they perform under an umbrella of prevention, education, reporting, investigation and sanctions.

Both male and females should be able to immerse themselves in the sport free from any form of abuse, sexual harassment or bullying of any kind. This marks a clear move toward ensuring those very high standards already employed are enhanced further within the gymnastics world.

Making Gymnastics Safer

FIG President Morinari Watanabe has wasted no time since taking over in January, organising a working group charged with reviewing existing rules of the federation with the aim of re-enforcing them.

The group includes Slava Corn, Jane Allen and Steve Butcher, who held their first meeting in Lausanne between May 31 and June 1, starting from the premise ‘everyone in sport has the responsibility to develop a culture of dignity and safety.’

The group has based its work notably on the strong recommendations of the international federations of the IOC’s Agenda 2020, providing a framework outlining the key components required for the quality care of athletes. A solid duty of care code has since emerged utilising a series of supporting procedures intended to serve as an acceptable standard when both adopting and protecting policies.

Mr Watanable said: “As FIG President, I declare we will not tolerate abuse or sexual harassment in the gymnastics community. We observe the rules because we are educated to do so. But rules cannot be observed only through education and legislation. Severe sanctions are needed. The same level of severe measures as anti-doping is necessary for eradicating harassment.”

Developing Positive Methods of Safeguarding Gymnasts

In any sport of course, where coaches are working so closely with athletes – where there’s regular travelling involved, and where there are close working relationships involved, it’s vital to protect everyone. The group have since insisted, it will be the responsibility of each member federation to ensure the implementation of such policies is carried out professionally and with due care and attention.

As the governing body of one of the world’s leading Olympic sports, the FIG fully endorses these principles and is committed to strengthening the support offered to all its members. In truth, the safety, well-being and welfare of gymnasts across the world must be at the epicentre of everything the FIG does. Both now and in the future.

It was emphasised, everyone in the sport has a responsibility to both recognise and prevent misconduct, harassment and any form of abuse at the source. The FIG will also develop educational material and provide opportunities to share case studies of best practice to further assist its member federations.

This hard working group also recommends the establishment of an Ethics and Welfare Unit within the Federation’s headquarters in Switzerland. They will collaborate with other FIG bodies and their activities in the process of delivering a duty of care to other members.

Slava Corn. FIG Honorary Vice President of the group told the media: “Our member federations, in particular, must demonstrate strong leadership by identifying and eradicating unacceptable practices and implementing preventative programs.”

The Ethics and Welfare Unit will work closely with the FIG Academy programme for coaches to develop and enhance educational resources and examples of best practice when it comes to safeguarding gymnasts.

This will encompass FIG courses, World Championships, events and congresses. The whole project ensures the sport consolidates itself around leading principles as the 21st century gathers pace.

Driven Daniel Purvis: What It Takes To Become An Olympic Gymnast

Daniel Purvis: Become An Olympic Gymnast

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become an Olympic gymnast take a closer look at the highly talented Daniel Purvis. We all hear stories of hard work, discipline and dedication, but sometimes fate can also lend a helping hand.

And it seems for this internationally elite three-time British all-around champion in men’s artistic gymnastics, being a hyperactive child, actually created a catalyst for future glory. Along with most parents of youngsters with an energy overload, Bob and Denise Purvis suddenly had their hands full.

An outlet was needed, and what could be better than a sporting activity to both focus the mind and take care of that excess energy. After all, both were PE teachers.

But what?

Finding An Aptitude For Gymnastics

By his own admission, he was hopeless at football and other related activities just didn’t work. One of his teachers suggested visiting a gym, so off they went to Southport YMCA – a converted egg factory.

Within a few visits the coaches were remarking about his strength and ability – and then the penny dropped with Bob as he explains: “From a very early age – probably around two – we would take him to the park to do his monkey climbs on the bars just because he enjoyed that kind of activity and it helped him let off some steam. There was obviously a link between the two. We said: ‘Right, that’s enough for us’. If this is where he needs to be, this is where we’ll make sure he is as regularly as he needs to. By the time he was eight, we had to make sure he had enough fuel in his stomach once home from school and before driving to the gym. It would then be a three-hour training session.”

For Daniel himself, it was a case of finding something he really loved. And It was clear he felt very comfortable in that environment, even though many at that time still thought of gymnastics as a girls sport.

The Burden of Support

He admits to being a shy boy, and gymnastics helped him to develop socially. Mum and Dad would take him to the gym six times each week, and when he had competitions in London they’d drive him there and back.

He learned to drive as an 18-year-old, but by then his parents had already given up so much to support him. Daniel added: “It was a massive burden on them. But at the same time they were so supportive and without them I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have achieved. In the early days, there were only a couple of hundred people in different school venues. When we moved to where we are now there were about 450 members. Now we’ve got 1,300.”

The Role of Jeff Brooks

In the most part Olympic gymnasts have been heavily influenced by a quality coach and mentor, and in Daniel’s case, it was Jeff Brooks. He said: “When Dan was a young boy he was very introverted and didn’t have a lot of confidence. Even when I realised how good he could be, it was a long time before he accepted what I was saying could be true. That’s the biggest achievement on my part, I think.

Apart from the long hours and complete discipline, Daniel’s regime has affected life at home. From shopping in the supermarket for perfectly balanced meals the whole family can eat, to rest and relaxation, everything is geared to his performances.

His dad retired early to help support his son explaining: “It has certainly been a massive part of Daniel’s progression in this sport that as a family we have been able to support him and give him all the extra time that he needed. Gymnastics is a sport, of course, where you can’t just go in the back garden or go to the park and run around. It has to be so specific, with specific apparatus.”

It’s true athletes actually do give up so much for a chance of a medal, something fans should really appreciate.

To Become An Olympic Gymnast…

As a Junior in 2006, he came fourth in the team for Great Britain at the Junior European Championships in Greece. Two years later in Lausanne, he helped the British team win the Gold medal and individually won the all-around silver at the Junior European Championships again.

From The Commonwealth Games to The World Championships, amongst his other achievements was a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics in the all-around competition alongside Kristian Thomas, at the North Greenwich arena.

Dan stepped up to the plate with vigour in 2015, performing for Great Britain at the World Gymnastics Championships. His superb and disciplined performances across all six events played a leading role in helping the team qualify for the Rio Olympics.

All involved parties recognise success at the highest level can’t be achieved without an excellent support strategy and a lot of personal sacrifices. Dan now has his own gymnastics club called Dan Purvis gymnastics, based in the Nac Netherton and Dunes, Southport.

Who knows – there could be another star in the making, very much in the Dan Purvis mould.

Oksana Chusovitina Enters The International Gymnastics Hall Of Fame

Oksana Chusovitina

There can’t be a greater example to up and coming gymnasts than the charismatic Oksana Chusovitina. She may have been inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean her career is over.

The Sporting Legend And Role Model Just Keeps On Going

In fact, at the age of 42 the only woman to have competed in three Olympics for three different nations, is still going strong. She most recently performed on balance beam, floor exercise and vault at World Cup meets back in March. It would also seem Tokyo 2020 is still a realistic target for this disciplined gymnast who has also performed for the old Soviet Union, Germany and her native Uzbekistan in various other events.

Speaking at the induction awards ceremony in the States last weekend she told the assembled throng through her translator, former team-mate and now coach Svetlana Boginskaya: “It seems like this award is for people who retired. In this case, I am not, and you will never be alive until I retire. So keep waiting.”

Her sense of mischief is legendary of course, and she is naturally the only woman to be inducted into this supreme role of honour while still competing. When she arrived at the 2016 Rio Games, she became the first gymnast to compete in seven consecutive Olympics. And she wasn’t just there to make up the numbers either.

Chusovitina qualified to the vault final, where she threw a Produnova (handspring-double front), the hardest vault possible. She’s also won vault medals in an incredible nine World Championships. The Hall of Fame, housed in the Science Museum, Oklahoma, has now chronicled the exploits of 95 individuals from 22 countries.

And for the first time, the entire ceremony was streamed on Facebook LIVE.

In a colourful speech, she added: “I would like to thank my mother for longevity in the sport because she’s the one who didn’t want me to do it,” Chusovitina said Saturday. “I wanted to prove her wrong. With any child, you just want to do the opposite of what your parent tells you. So, thank you, mom. She always wanted for me to be scientist or piano player, or someone that was not an athlete, so thank you, mom, for making me an athlete. And I think when my mom actually will say, “Honey, I’m OK with you being a gymnast, maybe that will be the time where I will stop.”

Tribute To Her Son

Her son was diagnosed with leukaemia in October 2002, but made a full recovery and will turn 18-years-old in November. Her move to Germany was tied to her young son’s diagnosis, so they moved there to receive treatment. She went on: “As a mother, I would like to thank the gymnastics community all over the world. Because of their help, my child in cancer-free. He didn’t take a passion for gymnastics; he is afraid of heights. He is short, like me, but he likes basketball. And he believes he’s going to be a basketball player and be in NBA. He is short, but I don’t want to kill his dreams.”

Chusovitina’s career as an elite gymnast has spanned more than a quarter of a century. She won the USSR Junior Nationals in 1988 and began competing at the international level in 1989 before many of her current rivals were even born.

Chusovitina has also competed in 10 World Championships, three Asian Games and three Goodwill Games. She also holds the record for the most individual world championship medals in a single event (nine, on the vault).

The Petroleum Club also saw three other gymnasts inducted: Japan’s Shun Fujimoto helped Japan to the 1976 Olympic team title competing amazingly with a broken leg, Alexei Nemov, the 2000 Olympic all-around champion from Russia, is 11 months younger than Chusovitina but retired after the 2004 Olympics. She also received a warm welcome along with 2008 Olympic silver medallist Alicia Sacramone from America who retired four years ago.

Supporters and guests covered 15 countries, and it seems fitting the 21st coming of age ceremony should feature the exploits of one, Oksana Chusovitina, perhaps the greatest role model the sport has ever seen.

The Love To Move Programme: How British Gymnastics Is Helping Dementia Sufferers

The Love To Move Programme: How British Gymnastics Is Helping Dementia Sufferers

A recent report has revealed British Gymnastics Foundation’s chair-based gymnastics exercise programme for dementia sufferers, has been a great success so far. Research carried out by Age UK has confirmed the scheme was found to offer demonstrable benefits for those with mild to advanced forms of dementia. These included physical, emotional and cognitive aspects.

The Love to Move programme has the goal of getting older people moving and functioning better, with a view to improving the lives of those living with this life changing disease. Based on a similar programme developed by the Korean and Japanese Gymnastics Federations, the BGF has taken its core principles and adapted it for the British culture.

More than 150 people have been enjoying specially designed and unique ‘bilaterally asymmetrical exercises’ where the individual draws different patterns with the left-hand side of their body to the right-hand side. The exercises carried out over a long term period bring positive changes to posture, movement and memory as well as the social engagement of those taking part.

Providing Life-Changing Benefits

British Gymnastics Foundation Manager, Patrick Bonner, said: “This age and dementia friendly programme is astonishing people with its life-changing benefits. So many people involved are seeing their lives improving as a result of the programme and it is remarkable that people are regaining functions which were thought to be lost because of the Love to Move gymnastics based exercises.”

Recent assessments made by care home staff have revealed 10 out of 14 participants have noticed physical improvements. A total of 86% is now socialising with other residents and staff better. 13 out of 14 residents are reported to be happier and more settled. And amazingly 100 per cent of participants are now easier to connect with.

Several individuals are able to use their hands again to feed themselves, do crafts and play games. And to the delight of all involved, one participant, who began taking part in the sessions twice a week and who previously showed few signs of improvement, has now regained her independence. As a result, she’s been able to move back into her own home.

Many other people have been taken off hypertension medication, been lifted from depression and are now sleeping much better.

Positive Early Results

These are early findings of course, but it does seem as though much can be achieved through this ground-breaking project. All results in Asia have been positive with every aspect being state-funded, and now the scheme run by the BGF is set to become more widely available.

Vinal K Karania, Research Manager (Evaluation and Impact) at Age UK said: “For many of the older people participating, their external environment changed little and one can, therefore, be confident that much of the improvements observed will have been because of this programme.”

Programme ambassador, gymnast and two-time Olympian, Kristian Thomas, added: “It’s amazing to see what the Love to Move programme has achieved. Dementia affects so many people and to know that gymnastics is making their lives easier and improving their quality of life; it’s something I’m extremely happy to be a part of.”

Meanwhile, the Foundation has been striving to secure extra funding through a number of outlets including a crowdfunding campaign which you can now donate to. More staff will be trained in the next few months and a booklet containing some of the key exercises is available for people to download and try for themselves.

It’s more proof gymnastics is a sport also putting a great deal back into the community Why not visit www.britishgymnasticsfoundation.org/lovetomove for more information and to access the full report and Love to Move booklet.

Team GB Trampoline Gymnasts: Bouncing To Glory

Laura Gallagher Team GB Trampoline Gymnasts: Bouncing To Glory

Both Laura Gallagher and Andrew Stamp have been bouncing with joy following their French Masters Open success. The likeable Team GB trampoline gymnasts have been hitting new highs in the sport for a while now.

So it was no surprise to see Laura take the women’s title with a total of 53.765 marks. This, having qualified for the final in second place. Andrew clearly took charge of the qualifications in the 15 to 17 year’s group. And it was glory all the way as he went on to win the final with a score of 56.730.

And we mustn’t forget the talented Corey Walkes of course who finished in 16th place in his own category. The whole event proved to be an exciting and sociable competition, thanks to the commitment and ethos of all those gymnasts, clubs and coaches who took part.

Trampolining is Terrific

In terms of gymnastics, trampolining is one of the most thrilling categories, and one of the most fascinating for those looking to take up the sport. How many children have enjoyed playing on a small compact trampoline in their own back garden?

It was George Nissen who, in the 1930’s watched trapeze artists performing tricks when bouncing off a safety net. He constructed the first modern trampoline in his garage to reproduce this on a smaller scale and enjoy his diving and tumbling activities.

George created a  company to build trampolines for sale and used a variant of the Spanish word trampoline (diving board) as a trademark. He’d enthral onlookers inviting them to participate in his demonstrations as part of his marketing strategy. It was, of course, the beginnings of a new sport.

Bouncing All Over The World!

It wasn’t long before trampolining became commonplace in American schools as part of physical education programmes. The sport declined there however largely because of inadequate training, but elsewhere in the world, the sport was most strongly adopted in Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Since trampolining became an Olympic sport in 2000. More nations have followed suit with China producing world champion athletes in less than a decade. The International Trampolining Federation became part of the Fédérationn Internationale de Gymnastique in 1999. FIG is now the international governing body for the sport, paired with Tumbling as the skill sets overlap.

International competitions are run under the rules of FIG. Individual national gymnastics organisations can make local variations to the rules in matters such as the compulsory and optional routines, and a number of rounds for national and local competitions.

Pike, Twist, Tuck…

Currently, individual trampoline competitions are made up of two or three routines, one of which may involve a compulsory set of skills. These consist of various combinations of somersaults, shaped bounces, body landings and twists performed in various body positions such as the tuck, pike or straight position.

In each routine, the athlete must perform 10 different skills on a standard 14 foot by seven-foot trampoline complete with a central marker. They must always finish on their feet. The routine is marked out of 10 by five judges with deductions for incomplete moves, moving too far from the centre mark or poor form.

Usually, the highest and lowest scores are discarded. Additional points can be added depending on the difficulty of the skills being performed.

Here in the UK, you can discover a number of clubs specialising in this thrilling sport. All have professional and well-qualified coaches – they are welcoming and openly encourage new members with a taste for adventure. Trampolining is fun and you can go at your very own pace, developing some simple routines as you go.

As for Laura Gallagher and Andrew Stamp? The sky’s the limit!