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college teams

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momofagymmie

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We were just at a meet that included a college session. I watched some of it with my dd. It was so much fun. My dd noticed how much fun the gymnasts were having and how supportive of one another they were. It was really nice to see. I was very impressed by all the girls. They worked so hard and carried themselves so well. When we left my dd was so excited that someday maybe she too could be on a college team be it NCAA or Club. Anyway 3 cheers to college gymnasts. They are great role models.
 

Aussie_coach

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I think College gymnastics sounds like an incredible idea. We do not have anything like that in Australia, we do not have high school gymnastics either. All the gymnastics is club gymnastics. It is really sad to see all the girls hit about 12 and 13 and the numbers dwindle in gym clubs as the kids turn their interests to other sports and activities. There is very little future for them in the gymnastics world.
 
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NYgymfan

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I think College gymnastics sounds like an incredible idea. We do not have anything like that in Australia, we do not have high school gymnastics either. All the gymnastics is club gymnastics. It is really sad to see all the girls hit about 12 and 13 and the numbers dwindle in gym clubs as the kids turn their interests to other sports and activities. There is very little future for them in the gymnastics world.
It is certainly not un-heard of for athletes in foreign countries to come to the USA for college to play varsity sports. Not sure exactly how the scholarships work with the athletes not being US Citizens and all. Since English is their first language they would have an advantage over foreign students from non-English speaking countries.

I guess the sports culture over there is a little different then it is here. Actually I know it is since I've been to Australia and actually got to see a rugby match :D
 

Aussie_coach

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NYgymfan, even with kids going overseas for scholarships it would not promote the special environment that it does in the USA. In the USA most people know about gymnastics scholarships and it is a goal many gyms have their athletes strive towards. In gyms in Australia the majority of competitive gymnasts will never have heard of them they do not exsist as a motivator to keep larger numbers of girls in the sport.

Sporting culture is very, very big in Australia. But very, very different to the USA. Swimming is the national pastime and I all children swim. (it is the law that every child must learn to swim). Gymnastics is different here though. We do not have a system like in america where the kids progress from levels 1-10 and then can have a shot at elite. We have the levels 1-10 system which most gymnasts do, but there is nothing after level 10.

The elite system is a totally different system. Kids are selected for the elite system when they are 6 or 7 years old and sent to train in high performance centre's in a totally different levels system. They compete only against other kids in similar programs. These kids are the only ones who will be considered for international competition. So our regular level 1-10 kids (which is nearly allthe gymnasts in the country) don't really feel like they have an ultimate goal to work towards. It's often just train until you have had enough and then quit.
 
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Tusk

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College Gymnastics

Aussie_coach, you mentioned high school gymnastics. Interestingly enough, the allure of NCAA gymnastics scholarships, I think, has had a negative effect on high school gymnastics in the US. Despite a few strongholds, high school gymnastics is widely dying out in favor of club gymnastics. Some of the reason for this has to do with another issue the likes of which you may not have to contend with in Australia, Title IX, but that's a discussion for another day. As the overall number of available college gymnastics scholarships for women continues to stagnate, or even to dwindle (also because of Title IX - it's complicated - don't ask), competition for scholarships becomes more and more fierce. Gymnastics parents are smart enough to see that club gymnastics does a vastly better job of preparing their daughters for that competition than high school gymnastics, with their limited time and resources, can ever hope to do.

From your description, it sounds like Australia has a gymnastics system more similar to Canada's. Of course, Canadians have the advantage of proximity for receiving NCAA scholarships. Even for them, though, opportunities are fewer than one might think - simply because Canada, like Australia, has a population that is only a small fraction of the US's. Having said that, the 'powers that be' in US elite gymnastics, in my opinion, would love to see the system you describe for Australia instituted in the US.

To me, though, the real difference is likely to be found in the relationship between the individual Australian and the Australian higher education system. In the US, even though many, if not most, colleges and universities are state owned and operated, individual prospective students can expect to pay most, if not all of the expenses involved with attending. As you can imagine, therefore, an NCAA gymnastics scholarship - which pays for, basically, everything - is worth many, many thousands of dollars, or in the case of a place like, say, Stanford, many tens of thousands of dollars. Even gymnastics parents, who after all tend have more 'disposable income' than others, are happy to be relieved of that burden.

I don't know, frankly, how the system of higher education works in Australia. However, if there is a system in place that would make an athletic scholarship largely irrelevant, I don't imagine college gymnastics would be very successful. Even in the US, if a gymnast could go to any school she could get accepted to based on her academic standing, regardless of the expense involved, I don't think nearly as many would care to, in effect, 'work for their education' as college gymnasts.

It's a real shame, of course, because I contend that NCAA college gymnastics is by far the most popular form of gymnastics in the world, using fan attendance as the measure. How much more popular would it be if there were a world college team championship?

Wow, sorry for the length, I guess I should have written just an article for my blog!
 

Aussie_coach

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Tusk, that is true our education systems are very different and there in probably lies the problem of college gymnastics ever catching on here. Full fee paying students are quite rare in Australia, our students fee's are subsidized by the governement so they are quite low. And even the low fee's are rarely paid up front. We have a program called HECS (higher education contribution scheme). Which means a student does not pay for the tertiary education up front. Once they start to earn an income of a certain amount it will be paid back over the years. If they never earn that amount then they are not required to pay it back ever. The desire for scholarships just isn't there because they are not needed.

Our system for preparing elite gymnasts is a good one. As children are selected at such a young age for having the perfect body characteristics of an elite gymnast. They are trained for the next 10 years in the best facilities in the country with the best coaches getting almost one on one attention (for 35 hours a week for 10 years). It is good for us competitively as we have been able to place incredibly well for our low population against countries like the USA with 20 times the population. But it isn't good for the popularity of the sport. Only a very select few people are involved in the proccess.

In the USA you must have thousands and thousands of little girls training with the dream of one day representing america or winning gold at the olympics. Most won't even come close but simply having the dream will motivate them in their training and give them a positive career. Our kids are told as 6 or 7 years of age "sorry but you will never make it". They are told they are too tall, or too weak, or too much of a chicken, too uncoordinated, too flat footed or whatever reason. At 7!
 

gymgymgymnast08

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I think i'm definitely going to do college gymnastics. It looks so much fun!
 

MartinaE

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For gymnasts from other countries going to the US for college and NCAA gymnastics there are quite a few gymnasts from Canada who do this.
There have also been a few from Germany. Currently Daria Bijak is competing for Utah. :)
 
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Tusk

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What I would love to see...

...would be a World College Gymnastics Women's Team Championship, that would be amazing. (I am aware of the World University Games, and that they have sometimes included gymnastics, but I am talking about a real women's team championship here, like the one the NCAA does.) I was reading recently about the Bologna process* and it looks like many countries are trying to standardize their college degree programs internationally. Why not, while they are at it, go the full distance and come up with a standard way for universities to compete athletically?


*a humorous term for us here in the US, BTW, because calling something 'bologna' - or as we would pronounce it, 'baloney', means that it is silly or foolish. I'm guessing that's not the image the Bologna process folks were going for!
 
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