- Jan 17, 2018
That is a great post! Thanks for sharing it!
The gymnastics story for our family, like many, was a very treacherous one. It was filled with much glory and much sorrow. I think that when many people look at high achieving athletes who are successful, they think they have it all. My daughter’s story is one of many that on the outside looked great and on the inside was crumbling. We were so lucky my daughter had great coaches that cared about her as a person not just as a gymnast and that Carly was able to tell her coach how she felt. This was key! Gymnastics is not everything! We are so lucky to have our healthy happy daughter and she has gone on to do many wonderful things outside of gymnastics just like a lot of former gymnasts doThanks for sharing. It must have been a hard read as the parent. I am so glad that my older daughter left the sport after two years of 9 and really hope my younger one leaves before she starts high school. It has served us well, but man is there ever more to life than this.
Thanks for asking what is SUCH an important question! I feel like I could write a book on this, so I will try to keep it succinct. I came from an elite training gym as a kid and had teammates make worlds/ Olympics etc. It was very a very abusive environment. I swore I would NEVER let any future children of mine do gymnastics. I had 4 kids. It was clear #1 was born to be in a gym. I wouldn’t allow it-we did other things. Until at 8 she was invited to a gymnastics b-day party. She was flipping around that gym and I had coaches surrounding me and she was begging me to take lessons. I aquiessed and I still look back and question that decision as it changed everything for our entire family. I tried my very hardest to keep her out of toxic environments, but as she was moving up the levels so quickly it became harder and harder as she didn’t always tell me what was really going on. She essentially knew I would intervene, as I had already pulled her out of previous toxic environments. She was very intense, very driven and would have done whatever it took to succeed. That was the scary part. I had to be ahead of her and know what was going on. She would defend the abusive coaching saying she was the problem. It was very complex. The gym we landed in the last 4 years was the best because they were good coaches and cared about her as a person. They were communicative with me as well.I truly wish we had never gone the gymnastics route, honestly. I blame myself because I Knew better. I had hoped it had changed since my days back in the 70’s. I got sucked in when coaches got so excited about her and I saw the talent and I truly didn’t know what to do. I thought we could stop it if it was bad, but it all went out of control so quickly. There is nothing anyone can say to make me feel worse about the situation than I’ve already said to myself. We went to therapy together to sort it all out and we have a very good relationship. I’m proud of her for writing the blog. It makes me emotional, but she wants to help others through her own difficult experiences. We certainly all hope the culture of gymnastics changes to a positive one for allThanks for your comments.*gymnastics depended on a toxic culture to breed success*
This. This is what needs to change.
One question for you as a parent. Did you realise the culture was so toxic? if you had realised the hurt and damage would you have changed anything? How does reading that blog make you feel?
I think part of the reason the toxic culture persists is parents, consciously or subconsciously, allow it or don't see it. Or they think it's what is needed for success, and that success will make the suffering worth it.
It's pervasive in many sports, not just gymnastics. I took my DD out of a club with a toxic culture. Only for the NGB to have taken over the job of apparently trying to destroy her self confidence and constantly find her lacking in comparison to others (that she beats regularly).
truly wish we had never gone the gymnastics route, honestly. I blame myself because I Knew better. I had hoped it had changed since my days back in the 70’s.