The world of sports is filled with incredibly female athletes. We all love to stare in awe at these inspiring and powerful women. A lot of female athletes know that too, play to it, and their levels of popularity skyrocket and they gain tremendous fan followings – not all of them, but a lot do. There are certain sports that have more inspiring athletes than others. Tennis is one. The WTA tour is filled with ridiculously strong and skilled women. But another sport that has plenty of fantastic women in the ranks is gymnastics. It’s fair to say that gymnastics isn’t really a mainstream sport.
But when it comes on TV, perhaps when viewed at the Olympics, people sit up and take notice, not only because of the amazing feats of the gymnasts, but because there are plenty of awe-inspiring female gymnasts on display. But we’re not just going to base this article on the best gymnasts. Here’s a twist. We’re going to go through the shortest but most incredible female gymnasts. It makes defying gravity and pulling off amazing feats in the air just a little bit easier and more suited to them. We can't believe such tiny women can be such strong and agile people, but they wow us all every single time we watch them. Without much further ado, here they are. These are 15 of the shortest but most fascinating female gymnasts.
15 Gabby Douglas
For those of you who aren’t in the know, there are different types of gymnastics events. Each one is remarkable to watch and the athletes are super skilled and talented. Artistic gymnastics is a discipline that certainly draws in the crowds. It’s about executing skills, but it’s also about overall presentation. These gymnasts do their thing to wow the judges, and Gabby Douglas has certainly done that during her relatively short career. She’s 21, but has already achieved so much success that she’s had a lifetime biopic film made about her. She’s also one of the shortest athletes around, even in gymnastics terms. Gabby Douglas stands in at 4'11". Her height certainly hasn’t hindered her performances. If anything, it’s helped her flourish.
14 Bruna Kuroiwa Yamamoto Leal
So her name might be a bit of a mouthful to pronounce, but Bruna Leal is certainly a sight to behold. The 24-year-old Brazilian beauty has been wowing audiences for the past five years. She’s another artistic gymnast who competes for her national team. Bruna has had quite a bit of success too. It seems as if wherever she goes, whichever event she partakes in, she wins medals. She has numerous silvers and a couple of golds to her name in what’s been one impressive career to date. She’s also rated as being a seriously amazing athlete, one of the most popular for team Brazil. Bruna is short in stature and has all the grace, poise and elegance of a seasoned pro. That she certainly is, which surprises a lot of people when they first set eyes on her, because she looks quite young, which is in part due to her 4'9" frame.
13 Corey Hartung
Corey Hartung is one of the older lot from this list. She’s in her 30s and sure, she no longer competes, but we can still classify her as a gymnast, and when you set eyes on her photo and hear about her career, we are sure you’ll all agree she can be called an inspiring gymnast. Corey first started gymnastics before a lot of those on this list were born. She began in 1994, and around a decade later, managed to secure a place on the U.S. national team. Her goal was to compete for her country, and today she can sit back and reminisce proudly having achieved that goal. During her brief international gymnastics’ career, she didn’t set the world alight. But she certainly gained some level of popularity as one incredible athlete. Corey is 5ft. 3 but was obviously shorter during her younger days when she first began competing. Her height made her pretty decent in what was to become her favorite events: floor exercises and the balance beam.
12 Jamie Dantzscher
American Jamie Dantzscher is all about gymnastics. She loves gymnastics, and is still involved in the sport despite having retired from competition what seems like many moons ago now. The life of a pro gymnast at elite level is gruelling but short. Jamie certainly filled her boots and was actually part of the national set up for longer than most. For seven years she competed for team USA, and she won a ton of gold and silver medals too. Jamie is 4'11" and is another fantastic gymnast who had quite a pedigree. Despite winning plenty of gold and silver medals, her best achievement would have to be being part of the bronze medal-winning American team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Post-gymnastics, Jamie has given back and has used the skills and knowledge she’s built up over the years to coach youngsters coming through the ranks as gymnasts.
11 Aly Raisman
This 5 foot tall gymnast may not be the shortest woman in the world of gymnastics, but she is short and is certainly amazing, so she fits the criteria for this list. Aly Raisman is only 23 years old and is in the prime of her career in gymnastics terms. After excelling at junior level, Aly made the big step up to elite level, competing for her national team, and has flourished. She looks right at home on the world stage, has had a decent amount of success, and has achieved a great deal of popularity. Even for those who aren’t really into gymnastics, it’s clear to see why. Aly Raisman is beautiful, without a doubt one of the fascinating gymnasts around. If you didn’t know that she was a gymnast, you’d probably look at her and think she walks catwalks for a living. She does do plenty of posing for the cameras today, and we can thank her gymnastics prowess for getting her noticed.
10 Daniele Hypolito
We have mentioned that the life of an elite gymnast doing their thing on the main stage is pretty short. Normally it’s around a few years, then they move on to other things. We've also mentioned that this career usually takes place when the athlete’s pretty young, and if they reach elite level, this normally happens when they’re in their early 20s. Well, scrap all of that. Daniele Hypolito is different from the norm. Sure, she started off young, in the early 2000s, but has been competing right through to last year when she took part in the Brazilian Summer Olympics, and her career’s still ongoing. Her longevity in gymnastics is pretty amazing as is her thirst for success. One thing’s for sure and that’s that the crowds haven’t tired of seeing her. The 4'10" Brazilian beauty is undoubtedly one of the most stunning gymnasts around – actually she’s got to be one of the most stunning athletes, period. She’s got a huge fan following, not only when she competes, but on social media too. Her 440K Instagram followers follow her for one reason, and that’s not necessarily to keep up to date with the goings on in her gymnastics’ career!
9 McKayla Maroney
Here’s someone who’s been there, done that, and got out when she was just starting to make a name for herself. American McKayla Maroney is only 22 years old, but she’s already retired from gymnastics. It’s not what you’re probably thinking. She didn’t retire because she was sick and tired of the gruelling training regimes and what not and had something better lined up. McKayla called time on her career because of health issues; you’ve got to feel sorry for an athlete when their career’s cut horribly short due to injuries. Anyway, for the short time McKayla was in action on the world stage, she made quite an impression. She was known for being part of the American’s Fierce Five gymnastics team at London 2012. McKayla wanted nothing but gold at those games, and her seriously angry expression when she had to make do with silver ended up getting picked up by news outlets around the world. Standing in at 5'3", McKayla’s feisty, and she’s got this steely look that makes her one fierce and intimidating competitor. We’ve also seen a few stunning pics of McKayla that she herself has shared, and so we can safely say that McKayla is one incredible gymnast and fascinating person.
8 Alicia Sacramone
When it comes to success in the world of gymnastics, Alicia Sacramone is right up there. The American gymnast is one of the most decorated of all time due to her successes at various championships throughout what was a glittering career. She won medals for fun and has a whole heap of achievements to her name. Alicia started off dancing as a youngster. That’s the period she developed her poise and grace, all vital attributes for gymnastics. So when she began training in gymnastics a few years later, she took to it gloriously. It became her primary focus, and she excelled at her discipline. Alicia, who stands in at 5 feet is regarded by many to be one of America’s best Olympic athletes.
She looks amazing when wowing audiences and judges on the balance beam and looks stunning off it too. As a 20-year-old competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics, she became one of the most searched Olympians on Google, second only to Michael Phelps. Despite a mistake that cost her team a gold medal, her internet popularity just went through the roof. She left that event and continued along with her career being able to claim top honors for internet popularity.
7 Vasiliki Millousi
Vasiliki Millousi is a Greek gymnast, and although it might sound corny, many people would deem her to be a Greek Goddess. She just looks spectacular as an artistic gymnast and keeps your attention when she’s going through her routine on the balance beams. That’s because she’s artistic and graceful and also one seriously inspiring athlete. Vasiliki specializes in the balance beam, although she hasn’t done too badly at team events either. She’s represented her country at three different Olympics over the course of 16 years, which is quite a feat. Throughout these years fans have come to know her not only as one amazing gymnast, but as one of the best Olympians on the scene. Vasiliki stands in at 5'2" so although initially her height might not get her noticed, her beauty and poise on the beams certainly does, because her beauty shines through.
6 Claudia Fragapane
20-year-old Claudia Fragapane has become a real hit in the UK. Not only has she been successful in her disciplines in the UK in terms of gymnastics, she’s also branched out and has done other stuff, becoming something of a media personality in the process. And she’s only 20! This British artistic gymnast began training in gymnastics at the age of six. Her dedication paid off as she quickly rose through the ranks and started winning things for fun. At the age of 20, she’s one of Great Britain’s top gymnasts, and is undoubtedly one of the nation’s most popular competitors. The public have taken her into their hearts, not only because of her gymnastics prowess, but because they’ve seen her in different settings, on various other TV shows. She’s certainly a celebrity figure. Claudia’s one of the shortest gymnasts on this list standing in at 4'7". She’s one of the shortest, but we reckon most would agree, she’s certainly one of the best.
5 Giulia Steingruber
Giulia Steingruber stands in at 5'2" and during the course of her relatively brief career to date, she’s already made quite an impression on the world scene. The Swiss artistic gymnast was the first to win a medal at the Olympics for her nation and the first to win a European all-round title. It’s safe to say that Giulia’s been making waves on the pro scene ever since she progressed onto elite level. Not only are there a lot of firsts in her career, she’s also rated as being one of Switzerland’s most stunning athletes and certainly one of the world’s most interesting gymnasts. She’s got this steely gaze of determination, but at the same time has warmth in her eyes, and that combined with her beauty and incredible physique has meant that she’s gained a whole heap of popularity over the years. The fact that she’s got 88K Instagram followers tells you a little something about how much she’s liked.
4 Nastia Liukin
If you didn’t know that Nastia Liukin was a gymnast, you’d think she earned her corn walking catwalks and posing for the cameras in beautiful modelling shoots. Most of the time, she looks as though she’s just walked in from a modelling session of some kind. It’s little wonder she’s achieved such a great deal of popularity and such a mighty fan following over the years. Nastia is a former Russian American artistic gymnast, someone who broke records and achieved a great deal of success with team USA. After achieving major success, she took some time off, then attempted to make a comeback, but realized she was never going to achieve the same feats as before, so retired from gymnastics permanently. Nastia’s 5'3" frame certainly helped her when it came to her expressive lines and flexibility. It’s also come in handy, along with her looks of course, as she’s gone about establishing herself in film and TV.
3 Andreea Răducan
Andreea Răducan is a Romanian former gymnast. The 34-year-old retired a while ago now, in 2002, but not before creating quite an impression and leaving her mark on the world stage. Romania is a country with quite a pedigree when it comes to gymnastics. When she started out, she was part of the new generation of gymnasts and from the get go, she was trained to excel. She did just that, winning numerous golds and silvers at various championships around the globe. There was a stain on her career when she tested positive for a banned substance. She was banned, but the ban was subsequently lifted after it was discovered there had been wrongdoings with her nation’s Olympic Committee, not her. Standing in at 4'11", Andreea is certainly petite. She’s also good-looking. She’s gone about pursuing a career in sportscasting. She’s also become something of a TV personality. Her beauty and personality make her perfectly suited to a career in front of the cameras.
2 Aliya Mustafina
This Russian artistic gymnast has been doing her thing on the world stage for around a decade. She’s won numerous accolades during this time and is rated as being one of the world’s top gymnasts. Possibly her biggest triumph was at the London 2012 Olympics. Due to her success, the Russian President awarded her with the prestigious Order of Friendship award. That’s quite an accomplishment when only in your teens. Over the years we’ve also seen her blossom from a child star into a beautiful woman. She keeps people’s attention when she’s on the floor or the beams, and not just because of her prowess as a gymnast. Aliya is one amazing Russian athlete, and looks fabulous when in competition mode or just going about her day to day life. Luckily the petite 5'2", 48 kg gymnast keeps everyone updated with the goings on in her life by posting beautiful pics on Instagram. It’s led to her acquiring quite a fan following.
1 Simona Peycheva
Although the gymnastics aficionados amongst you may be shaking your heads in condemnation when we write this, but we are going to do so anyway; simply put, the different disciplines in gymnastics are very similar, only slight variants of each other. Sure, they require different skills, but more often than not, the judges are looking for the same thing. Most of those on this list are artistic gymnasts. Simona Peycheva is a rhythmic gymnast. It combines ballet, gymnastics and other dance elements, all requiring a tremendous amount of skill. Simona has that in spades. She began competing way back in 1991 and began winning tournaments for fun. Then at elite level, she did decently without setting the world alight. But she did set the world alight by gracing competitions with her presence – perhaps not the world, but those in attendance! Simona is 5'2", but isn’t diminutive in any way. Her beauty shines and captures people’s attention. She’s the very definition of a short but incredible gymnast.