Parents New Yorker Article: Elite Gymnasts Are Aging Up

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Mom9024

Proud Parent
It's nice to know the sport is giving options to older athletes if they want to compete elite, even after college:

https://www.newyorker.com/sports/sporting-scene/elite-gymnasts-are-aging-up


"By the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (which were held in 2021, because of the pandemic), the average age of the U.S. team was over twenty-one. “There’s been a lot of misconceptions about women in sports,” Ellen Casey, a doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery who serves as the U.S.A. Gymnastics Women’s National Team physician, told me. It was “one of the big myths in gymnastics”—a “belief,” Casey reiterated, “not fact”—that the height of a female gymnast’s career would come in her mid-teen-age years, and that attempting to improve into her twenties would be “dangerous, if not impossible.” I asked her if there was contrary evidence now. She answered, “It’s happening.”
 
It's really good to see. Becky Downie is in the GB team for Paris at the age of 32... I guess it's to do with the way the women's sport is more about physical power than it once was, which gives athletes a much longer shelf life and makes the onset of puberty an advantage rather than a hurdle.
 
I guess it's to do with the way the women's sport is more about physical power than it once was, which gives athletes a much longer shelf life and makes the onset of puberty an advantage rather than a hurdle.
completely agree, but I think there's other factors too.

I think puberty wasn't a permanent problem even with the old codes, but the problem was that with your changing body it was a temporary hurdle as you get used to your new body. In that time, you're not good enough and gymnasts used to get shoved aside before they would have a chance to overcome it imo.
Now we have a somewhat better culture where people dare to speak up more and make their own choices, and we find out that when you get used to your new body puberty isn't an issue. Age limits rising also has helped a lot with that.

I also think healthier environments have made it possible. If you feed gymnasts 500 kcalories a day and make them train, then often their bodies will be broken by age 18. If you make them train on a broken leg, their bodies will be broken by age 18. etc. That's not age, that's just mistreatment taking its toll. And I think that also played a huge part in why we used to think gymnasts couldn't compete until higher ages.
 

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