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Gymnastics has been part of my life since 1976, where I watched the wonderful routines of Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian who score seven perfect tens during the Montreal Olympics. I was 6 years old.
I started doing gymnastics myself and only gave up training, once I had children of my own. Now my eight year old daughter (named Emilia, after famous Romanian gymnast, Emilia Eberle!) is also a gymnast.
I think gymnastics is a great sport to do and to watch, especially as there are several branches of the sport to suit any fan - rhythmics, sports acro, etc. as well as associated sports such as trampolining and diving, where gymnastics skills are used.
It is also a sport you can participate it at any level, from training yourself, to coaching or just being a fan, enjoying watching it on television or going to events.
I'm sure many of us over the years have tuned in to the gymnastics events. How many people remember watching Nadia? Nelli Kim? Olga Korbut? Then later on, the American stars led by Mary Lou Retton (ugh!) and Shannon Miller. Each decade has its stars and memorable - if not spellable! - names.
My all-time favourite gymnast is Elena Davydova, a Soviet gymnast who is now very rarely remembered, but she won the overall gold medal in the 1980 Olympics (beating Nadia) and was a huge inspiration to me.
I must admit the 1980s is my favourite decade of the sport, with other favourites including Oksana Omeliantchik, Ecaterina Szabo, Daniela Silivas and Natalia Yurchenko.
These days, the Romanians and Russians continue to dominate the sport, but the Chinese are also excellent and beautifully graceful.
The recent Sydney Olympics were dominated by the Romanian girls, who continue to produce gymnasts of a very high standard. It was also nice to see the developing trend towards gymnasts competing at a more advanced age.
Nadia was 14 in 1976, you now have to be 16 to compete at that level and the 2000 Olympics produced several medallists in their twenties.
I would recommend this sport to anyone and everyone, it is a sport that has been a big part of my life and very important to me.
If you are interested, look in the Yellow Pages or Thomsons Directory for local gym clubs or contact the British Amateur Gymnastics Association.
my favourite gymnast has to be the russian steplana korkina thats not how you spell it but how you say it, dunno how you spell it. i was a gymnast and met her after she won a competition i watched, she signed my programme and i felt so inspired. you can't forget the british gymnast annika reid however who wons many mdal for britain, who for me was also a huge inspiration. Good rveiew x
GraingerN 28.09.2001 11:01
Blimey this brings back memories of my school days. I used to love gymnastics, I've still got my BAGA badges too. Nichola :)
offy 28.09.2001 00:31
I love gymnastics too and I have even done it (badly) as an adult. I think the BAGA awards are a great idea and gymnastics at a basic level encourages co-orditation and posture.