Thursday, 18 July 2024

The Evolution of Women’s Gymnastics: New Opportunities Beyond College

  • GIGA aims to extend gymnasts’ careers with a professional league.
  • The perception of gymnasts’ peak age is shifting to older athletes.
  • NCAA compensation rules are enabling more gymnasts to compete longer.

The landscape of women’s gymnastics is set to change with the advent of the Global Impact Gymnastics Alliance (GIGA), which plans to establish a professional league for post-collegiate and international gymnasts.

This initiative aims to provide athletes with opportunities to continue competing beyond the traditional endpoints of their careers, addressing the issue of forced retirements due to graduation, injuries, or burnout.

Breaking Barriers in Women’s Gymnastics: Extending Careers with GIGA

The Global Impact Gymnastics Alliance (GIGA) is revolutionizing women‘s gymnastics by offering a professional league for athletes post-college. This initiative provides a platform for gymnasts to extend their careers and compete on their terms, countering the traditional trend of early retirement due to various constraints.

GIGA’s founders, including Aimee Boorman, recognize the growing popularity of women’s sports and NCAA gymnastics, leveraging this momentum to create a viable professional pathway. The league plans to host its first event in 2025, offering a hybrid competition format that balances artistry and skill difficulty, aimed at promoting longevity and reducing injury risks.

This new league also addresses the changing perceptions of a gymnast’s peak performance age. Notably, the US Olympic team for Paris 2024 is expected to feature several athletes in their 20s, illustrating that gymnasts can continue to excel well beyond their teenage years. The easing of NCAA compensation rules further supports this trend, enabling athletes to remain in the sport longer while benefiting financially.

In addition to competitive opportunities, GIGA envisions a comprehensive support system for athletes, including multiple training centers and benefits like paid maternity leave. By treating gymnastics as a professional career rather than a hobby, GIGA aims to provide gymnasts with the resources and recognition they deserve.

GIGA’s initiative represents a pivotal shift in women’s gymnastics, offering athletes new opportunities to extend their careers and compete at a professional level. This evolution underscores the growing recognition and support for women’s sports, paving the way for a brighter future in gymnastics.

“Part of me wants to do gymnastics forever. It’s something that is not easy to walk away from.”

– Luisa Blanco

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