Acrobatisation and establishment of pixie-style women’s artistic gymnastics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


This chapter will discuss the transformation of the traditional, balletic style of women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG) toward acrobatics and spectacle. In doing so, it will demonstrate the changing gymnastics bodies and styles, from physically mature with graceful performances to pre-pubescent with cute routines. Gymnasts’ comportment will add weight to this analysis, with socially and politically active women of the 1960s contrasting with the young girls’ childish behaviours of the 1970s. Locating this period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it will also demonstrate how these changes grew from geographically and politically diverse contexts. This will reveal how pixie-style gymnastics was a slow building trend, which Olga Korbut came to represent, despite the involvement of a variety of other actors to 1972. Comparing media coverage of pixie-style with old-style WAG will illuminate the role of the media in cementing this trend.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen's Artistic Gymnastics: Socio-cultural Perspectives
EditorsRoslyn Kerr, Natalie Barker-Ruchti, Carly Stewart, Gretchen Kerr
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003007005
ISBN (Print)9780367440015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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