How to Become an... Olympic Gymnast

Written by Jay Jarman

Introduction

“You have to fight and refuse to quit!”,Gabby Douglas states.

And she’s right. I may be in level Excel Gold, throwing my round-off back handsprings with bent knees and bad technique like they're nothing, but when you’re in the Olympics you HAVE to give it your all and try your best. A few fun facts about being an Olympic Gymnast are: the first modern Olympics were held in 1896, gymnastics is one of the most popular events in the winter Olympic games. And what a LOT of people don’t know about gymnastics is that gymnastics is a very dangerous sport and people risk their lives every single day at gymnastics.

Preparing for Competition

When you know you have a competition you might as well start getting enough sleep in the long run. You would be giving it your all when you walked into gym the next day because you have a competition coming up, so make sure you’re working as hard as you can before competition and even every time you go. You should also think about starting young so that your body becomes more flexible and fit at a young age.

Day to Day Life of a US Olympic Gymnast

As a person you always should eat healthy but when you’re an Olympic Gymnast you should always incorporate a healthy side for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not saying you’ll never be able to eat chips ever again, I’m saying that you should limit yourself if you do. We all know that when you eat healthy you grow strong, but you have to have a lot of body strength to be able to do the daily stuff of a gymnast, such as a simple handstand. It may look easy, but as a gymnast trust me on this one, you have to squeeze your butt muscles, your leg muscles, point your toes, have a tight stomach and keep your head in, and on top of all that you have to do this while on your hands! But enough of the handstand nonsense. You have to stay active and fit.
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Professionals in the Field

Justin Springs won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games as a gymnast in Beijing. He also hosts a gymnastics meet called the Justin Springs Invitational. Another professional is Jordyn Wieber. She practices for 30 hours a week (boy, would I be exhausted!). She said that you go to the Olympics with a partner and your partner does two events and you do two events. The judges add up you and your partner’s scores together to make up the final score. Jordyn suggests that you keep your routine all year so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting your routine at your state competition. Since I didn't have the chance to interview either of these people I chose to interview my coach, Karen Insalata. My coach stated that a healthy meal consists of oatmeal, a banana and orange juice for breakfast. For lunch maybe you could eat chicken, a side of yogurt with granola and some fresh fruit. For supper maybe you’d have fish with a side of potatoes and another side would either be grilled veggies or a salad.

Conclusion

Just remember what I said, always stay active, eat healthy, train hard and believe you can do it and I’m sure you’ll be just fine. But if it doesn’t work out for you then don’t be discouraged, gymnastics isn’t for everyone.