Olympic Games Inspire Gymnasts All Over the World
|The Olympic Games always have a positive influence on the sports world, but this year was an even larger influence than ever.|
The gymnastics events at this year’s Rio Olympic Games were so intense, so wildly entertaining, and so dominated by the U.S., that gymnasts across the country have sprouted up and began having their own imaginary gymnastics events in their living rooms, taking gymnastics classes, and just following the sport more closely.
One of the main reasons the sport’s popularity is rapidly growing is thanks to the 19-year-old gold medalist, Simone Biles.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Summer Olympics usually brings a 20% increase to gymnastics facilities across the country, but Simone Biles and how well she did will most likely contribute to at least that number, not to mention Aly Raisman’s success and the rest of the Final Five.
“There is typically a significant boost in enrollment after an Olympic Games,” said Jennifer Teitell, spokeswoman for USA Gymnastics. “For example, the women’s program had over 16,000 new athletes in 2012 to 2013, which was a 22% growth over the previous year.”
In 2004, after 16-year-old Carly Patterson won gold in Women’s All-Around gymnastics event, kids across the world wanted to flip through the air like Paterson. This year is no different, except the kids are yelling out the names Biles, Douglas, Raisman, Hernandez, and Kocian.
It’s not just the U.S. that saw a surge in gymnastics interest, however, as hundreds of thousands of kids rushing to gyms in the United Kingdom. British Gymnastics reports that the website traffic to their gymnastics directory, www.DiscoverGymnastics.uk, saw 68,000 visits in less than two weeks.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people wanting to get into gymnastics and great to see it’s not only the younger generation, but the appeal is right across the board,” said David Marshall, Participation Director at British Gymnastics, referencing the significant increase of 838% in adult gymnastics. “Gymnastics is so much fun and has opportunities for everybody, regardless of age, gender, ability, or ambition.”
As far as U.S. Olympic interest is concerned, gymnastics and swimming are usually the two big surges. After the 2008 Olympic Games, swimming saw an 11% boost, and a 13% boost after the 2012 Games.
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