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Over the past couple of decades, America has been dominating the gymnastics scene by producing extraordinarily talented and world-renowned gymnasts. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the gymnasts in Australia. Some of you may be wondering why there are such marked differences?
Well, part of their success is due to the coherent gymnastic programs in place but the US team owes the other half of their success to the wide pool of resources, funding and commercial assistance they are provided with. Australia just cannot compete with US gymnastics due to geographical and population constraints. We only had one gymnast that qualified for Rio, as mentioned in my previous blog post. Australia is a nation that is isolated from the rest of the world which it makes it difficult to source the best equipment and coaches from other countries. Additionally, USA’s population size is around 40 times greater than Australia’s population, so the US have a much wider range of gymnasts to choose from.
America has a group of world-class coaches that we cannot compete against. Marta Karolyi, the head of USA gymnastics since 2001 has lead all 4 of her Women’s team to claim gold at the Olympics. On top of this, she has produced countless world class performers and champions too. Peggy Liddick – the Australian Head of Gymnastics has done a phenomenal job over the past few years developing and enhancing gymnastics here. Since her time as head coach, Australia was able to produce its first ever floor exercise champion, Lauren Mitchell at the 2010 World Gymnastics Championship.
Check out the table below to see the sheer differences between these two countries’ treatment of gymnastics
From this table we can gather that Australian figures pale in comparison. The most significant figures are from the recent Olympic Games in Rio, where the US gymnasts attained 12 medals and Australia did not receive any. This is due to the fact that only one female Australian gymnast qualified to compete at Rio. So let’s get on board to increase awareness and participation levels of gymnastics within Australia!