Growing up and speaking out: female gymnasts' rights in an ageing sport

Georgia Cervin, Roslyn Kerr, Natalie Barker-Ruchti, Astrid Schubring, Myrian Nunomura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines the experiences of ‘older’ elite gymnasts competing in Women's Artistic Gymnastics in Australia, through the framework of athlete rights. Using a qualitative approach interviews were conducted with elite or former elite gymnasts who were at least 20 years old during their active career, and coaches and judges who worked with such athletes. This paper focuses on three key themes that emerged from the data. First was the relationship with the maturing body, which, combined with new coach policies toward athlete health, lessened gymnasts' risk of abuse in the form of weight control. Second, the changing coach–athlete relationship prolonged careers, although gymnasts had to demand their rights as adults. Finally, financial support provided a basis for continued participation for some, while others were excluded through economic discrimination. Such research should guide coaches and federations towards best practice when working with (adult) athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-330
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of leisure research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2017


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