The Road To The Olympics

The road to becoming a Olympian in gymnastics requires a lot of training and dedication to the sport. An estimated 97,000 children are enrolled in the Junior Olympics program, but only a small handful are selected to represent the US in international competitions.

 

The Junior Olympics Gymnastics Program

This competitive program is run by USA Gymnastics (the governing body for gymnastics in the US). There are ten different levels to the program and each gymnast must achieve a certain minimum score in order to progress to the next level. In acrobatic gymnastics, however, the gymnast’s coach decides if the gymnast is ready to progress. No gymnast is allowed to skip levels, but is allowed to compete in more than one program per year. The exception to this is men’s artistic gymnastics, as the gymnast can only compete in one level per year.

 

In women’s artistic gymnastics, there is an age minimum for each level. Levels one and two is a minimum of being four years old, whereas level ten is a minimum of being nine years old. In men’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, all competitors must be at least six years old. In trampoline, tumbling and acrobatics there is no age minimum.

 

Becoming An Olympian

Once a gymnast has reached level ten, he or she can attempt to qualify for elite (Olympic level) competition. In every program, the procedures vary by gymnastic discipline and even by year to year, where the gymnast must have a certain score in the competition or received a certain rank in a national competition. In all competitions, once a gymnast has reached the elite level, he or she is no longer part of the Junior Olympic program.

 

Once a gymnast has been selected for the elite level, he or she is expected to become dedicated to the sport and to excel in it. While there are nearly a hundred thousand children entered into the program, only the best are ever selected to be part of the US Olympic team. If you or your child has dreams to reach Olympic goals, keep the dream alive and keep practicing. Practice makes perfect and if there is passion, there is always success!