When it comes to thinking about your child being a gymnast and eventually making it to the Olympics, it's something that just brings a smile to some parents faces. You just love those cute little outfits and the pigtails and you suddenly feel warm and fuzzy inside. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes to this sport though and it’s something that people need to consider before signing their kids up for it. You might be surprised to hear about some of the messed-up rules they have to follow. This is no easy sport and one that takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication. The sport looks pretty cool when we watch it, but there is nothing fun about what some of these people go through to achieve success. You might be surprised to learn that there is a dark side to being a gymnast. The rules are demanding to say the least and at the end of the day, we feel bad for what these gymnasts actually go through.
Watching the Olympic games are really fun because you get to see gymnasts performing at their top level and the things they are capable of doing is rather extraordinary. It looks so graceful and beautiful and truth be told, a little easy. But in reality, it’s anything but easy. The price these gymnasts pay might just be a little too steep for your child. Check out these messed-up rules gymnasts have to follow.
15 Always Maintain Self-control
Have you ever seen a gymnast take a tumble that looked like it really hurt? We cringed just watching it and yet the gymnast kept a smile on her face and didn’t freak out. We wanted to freak out for them but what you may not realize is that gymnasts are required to stay calm and in control even if they really hurt themselves. It kind of seems cold, right? Even the best gymnasts out there will take a tumble at some point in their lives. Regardless of the kind of tumble that they take,
these gymnasts have to stay graceful throughout the whole process and not show that they would rather be screaming in agony.
They can actually lose points if their demeanor isn’t always cool and collected at all times. That seems a little harsh, but it’s graceful until the bitter end!
14 Messing Up
We imagine that these gymnasts try to go to the bathroom before they compete, but it’s probably not always easy considering they are in one-piece suits with leotards. When it comes to having an accident,
there is probably nothing more mortifying when you are in front of thousands of people.
It can be hard to keep your cool in a situation like that especially if you’re a young person. It has happened that gymnasts wet themselves while performing and the show must always go on. They have to virtually pretend that nothing happened even if everyone is aware that something most certainly did happen. A French gymnast in 2016 literally sprung a leak that was obvious to the crowd. It was embarrassing, but just like they are taught, she kept her cool until she could get to the bathroom.
13 Puberty Gets Delayed
Wait, what?! It’s not really a rule, but it’s still pretty messed up. When it comes to a gymnast’s body, it is generally very muscular. If a gymnast starts training from a young age, it can delay puberty from arriving. Their bodies are just different from that of normal teens. If you notice, even the chests of the girls take longer to develop than girls who aren’t gymnasts. So, why on Earth does this happen? It has a lot to do with having a low percentage of body fat which is actually kind of scary. When kids, especially girls start training at a young age,
their bodies start to get used to the fact that they have a low percentage of body fat.
The body actually starts to think it has to put puberty off because there isn’t a lot of body fat to work with. We’re not sure that’s the healthiest thing.
12 No Goofing Around Ever
This is probably an easy rule to follow for an adult gymnast, but when you’re young, we can imagine that it would be a difficult rule to follow. It seems to be a pretty strict rule for young gymnasts and somewhat unrealistic. Kids will goof around; it’s just the way they are. But goofing off or playing around is just something that kids like to do, but gymnastic teams will not tolerate that at all. We may feel like it seems a bit overboard but for coaches,
they won’t tolerate anything but model behavior. If kids don’t abide by this rule, then they can get kicked off the team.
Not all kids take gymnastics seriously, some just want to learn how to do flips, but it’s almost like they take the fun out of the sport right at a young age.
11 They Can’t Touch Their Clothes
It doesn’t matter if one of their butt cheeks becomes exposed during a routine, gymnasts are not allowed to adjust their clothing until their routine is completed. The costumes are very tight and sometimes they even look uncomfortable. When a gymnast is doing flips and turns, the clothing that they wear doesn’t always do what it’s supposed to do. There are times that a gymnast’s private parts have been exposed during their routine. The worst part is
they aren’t allowed to adjust their clothing until the whole routine is complete.
The clothing is bad in all aspects, gymnasts have also been known to break out into rashes from the tight outfits. So, wedgie’s or not, these gymnasts have to deal with clothing malfunctions for all the world to see and can’t do a thing about it.
10 Coaches Take Extreme Measures
When it comes to being a gymnast, you have to be able to contort your body in ways that most humans are unable to do. It’s very similar in the world of cheerleading. Doing the splits is an absolute must when it comes to training. There are some coaches that have been known to take extreme measures when it comes to training their students. There was a video that went viral of a
student being forced to do the splits.
The coach was literally forcing her legs into position while she was screaming. The video didn’t exactly shine a good light on coaches on gymnastic teams. It’s not uncommon either — there are plenty of things online that show coaches going to extreme measures like standing on the legs of their students at a young age to get them in position. It's wrong on so many levels.
9 They Compete Regardless Of Injuries
Injuries in gymnastics is a pretty common thing; they are injured just as often as any other athlete. We’ve already discussed injuries during competing and it’s tragic to think that gymnasts are expected to perform if they become injured. Not only do they have to put on a happy face, but they have to try to complete their routine. That can be dangerous because you can make the injury far worse,
causing permanent damage if you continue to train with an injury.
There are many different ways that a gymnast can break their body. The injuries that they see the most of are anterior cruciate ligament injuries, wrist sprains, lesions in the shoulders and elbow dislocation. There are many young girls that will develop back problems before they are even old enough to drink. It’s scary to think of what these gymnasts are put through.
8 They Have To Watch Their Weight
This one is hardly surprising since their body-fat percentage is so low that puberty becomes delayed. With any sport, there are requirements when it comes to managing your weight. Sometimes, that comes in the form of time spent at the gym or diet restrictions. When it comes to being a gymnast, coaches want them to be skinny and strong. It can be difficult to build muscle when you are trying to maintain being lean and it wouldn’t be the first time that someone developed an eating disorder because they were limiting their calories.
You might be shocked to know that the NCAA found that 51 per cent of all gymnasts reported having an eating disorder.
A study was done in 1992 and that was the results of the study. That’s a high number; it’s more than half of all gymnasts. We really hope these coaches are keeping in mind the gymnast’s health as well.
7 Sometimes Rules Lead To Abuse
There is a rule for gymnasts that want to compete in the Olympics and that’s undergoing treatment with a doctor that is specially chosen by the Olympics Association. That doctor will provide treatment and care for gymnasts who are at the Olympic level. That’s what happened to gymnast McKayla Maroney, except her experience was one of abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar, the USA Olympics team doctor who is now awaiting trial for abuse against his patients. McKayla has spoken about the abuse that she endured for seven years under his care.
"It started when I was thirteen years old and it didn’t end until I left the sport. I had a dream to go to the Olympics and the things I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”
It’s sad that there is abuse everywhere, even in the Olympic teams.
6 They Break Them Until They Cry
Crying is a thing in gymnastics and that’s because coaches can be harsh and go to extreme measures to get what they want. We are not talking about the crying that happens when a gymnast wins a medal in the Olympics. We’ve all been in stressful situations that have made us cry or at least wanted to cry. When it comes to young athletes, especially kids, the exhaustion and stress that comes with being a gymnast can be huge. They have to deal with long training sessions and criticism every single day. Their bodies and their minds are tired.
Coaches will push their students to the point of breaking them in order to prepare them for the life of a professional.
Unfortunately for some athletes that can mean getting demanding coaches that make them cry all the time. Although they are preparing athletes, it can also have a detrimental effect on the gymnast’s self-worth.
5 No Advice During Your Routine
If you go to any other sporting event, you will often see coaches on the sidelines directing their players to make the right move. When it comes to boxing, the fighters have their coaches in the corner and they are literally shouting things out to help the fighter. Even at a soccer game or a football game, you will find coaches and even family members cheering the players on. But it’s very different in gymnastics.
It doesn’t matter what is going on during the routine, coaches are not allowed to offer advice, hug, or touch a gymnast while they are doing their thing.
It’s kind of sad. The coach too is expected to remain cool and collected despite anything that is going on during the routine. Parents, however, are allowed to cheer and congratulate their child. We wonder why they have these strict rules.
4 No Underwear Allowed
We honestly have to ask ourselves why these girls and guys can’t wear underwear during performances. Especially since wardrobe malfunctions seem to happen on the regular. We can’t figure out why this is a rule considering the outfits are skin tight and a little revealing. Though we suppose considering the costumes are so tight, that underwear would feel uncomfortable, but it would have saved a lot of girls from showing off more than they wanted to.
But when it comes to competing the judges want the gymnasts to look seamless and flawless and that includes their outfits as well.
They don’t want to see any panty lines through the outfits. Considering some of the moves they make it would be likely that people would see their underwear at times so that might be even more awkward.
3 No Pain No Gain
Just like many sports such as MMA or boxing, pain is just all part of getting to the top. If you don’t like pain, then you might as well not sign up for gymnastics. Like we said before, injuries are all part of being a gymnast.
Getting injuries such as blisters is pretty common when it comes to being a gymnast, but that’s not even the half of it.
The things that these girls and guys are doing to their bodies in the form of contortions can be pretty wild. Getting chiropractic care is pretty essential as a gymnast and so is massages, Epson salts and painkillers. They always have a medical staff on hand to help the gymnasts with injuries and even dealing with the sore muscles that come along with the training that they do. They try to manage the pain as best they can, but it’s just something they have to deal with for the most part.
2 Practice Goes On For Hours
One pretty strict rule about being a serious gymnast is that you have to practise over and over again. Just like with most sports, training to be a professional athlete is a full-time job. Very few athletes can manage a side job as well. This is everything to them and they are required to practise for hours on end. The problem with training for hours on end is that it’s physically exhausting. It’s one of the reasons why athletes can’t have a lifelong career in sports because their bodies can’t handle it.
When it comes to training, many gymnasts will train 6 days a week and anywhere between 4 to 7 hours at a time.
American Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman said, “I don’t finish workouts most nights until 9 p.m., so I try to get home as quickly as I can. By the time I shower and everything, probably around 10:30, which is when I kind of wind down, because after a four-hour workout, it takes me a bit to get myself to fall asleep sometimes.”
1 No Gatorade
Sounds weird, right? You would think an athlete would be allowed to have Gatorade, but that’s not the case. We’ve always thought that athletes trained with Gatorade as part of their healthy diet. These types of drinks are filled with electrolytes and a great for hydrating the body, but they are also filled with sugar. Many athletes don’t care because they can get away with the extra calories in their training. But for gymnasts, that’s not the case because they are all about low body fat.
They just don’t find the extra sugar worth it even though it does help them with hydration, so gymnasts just stick to water to quench their thirst.
The sad part of any diet that the gymnasts are on, it’s always plain and there isn’t a whole lot of worry about having things that taste good. Hopefully, all this is worth it to the gymnasts who want to go to the top.