Thanks to Nade for the heads-up on these.
They make for insightful, but also rather sad, reading. For a long time we've wanted to hear the opinions of the gymnasts and gym parents themselves, but to finally get them is like asking someone how their day was, then sitting down, taking their hand and saying, "No, REALLY how was your day?" and getting the woeful response.
The primary issues at stake are those of funding, and Waverley's limited use of VWHPC facilities, as well as the fact that the girls didn't have their personal coach on the floor with them in Beijing.
Read Georgia's take here.
Australia's media coverage of international gymnastics has been appalling... In the US, college gymnastics fills stadiums and provides universities with the revenue to offer full scholarships to many athletes. I have been offered two positions already with US colleges, providing me with 4 years tuition, accommodation and living allowance. This kind of revenue could not be achieved without media support. Australia could really benefit if some effort was directed towards media coverage.
Read Mama and Papa Shona's take here.
Our girls train 32 plus hours a week and also attend school. They have no time to earn money in a part time job. This severely restricts their lifestyle; particularly when they reach 18 (and older) when they need money for living expenses - running a car etc. This lack of financial support is a major factor contributing to the excessively high drop out rate at this point. It seems a waste that all of the valuable years of training are not continued.
Read Mama and Papa Emma's take here.
Funding needs to be directed into helping and supporting the gymnast, coaches and clubs that are achieving results, not as it currently does, where the funding is used primarily to run the state institutes based gymnastics, paying for rent, coaching, equipment and administration.
Good on you, gym families. Fight the good fight. It's high time we heard from you as well as the staff and fans connected to training centres.