Age perception and sports career in the women's artistic gymnastics

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Wahrnehmung des Alters und sportliche Karriere im Kunstturnen der Frauen
Author:Montandon Aleixio, Ivana; Nunomura, Myrian
Published in:Science of gymnastics journal
Published:10 (2018), 3, S. 381-389, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Electronic resource (online) Print resource
Online Access:
Identification number:PU201812008918

Author's abstract

Women's Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) is an Olympic sport that has produced young girls celebrities over time, which has been extensively criticized for producing "little pixies." The present research was generated by the project "Coming of age: Towards best practice in Women's Artistic Gymnastics" (Kerr, Barker-Ruchti, Schubring, Cervin, Nunomura, 2015), whose focus was to analyze the experiences of older gymnasts and the factors that contributed to the prolongation of their career. The participants of this study were former gymnasts and are still active in Portugal, at the high level. We conducted a semi-structured interview to collect participants' reports and the thematic analysis was used as data treatment. The perception of becoming physically older was the most difficult fact to manage among the majority of respondents. The experience of being "older" gymnasts has helped them to understanding how particular contexts happen and thus face the challenges of the new phase of their careers. The factors that influence the development of the career have been to soften the myth that mature women would not compete internationally in the WAG; to propose alternatives for training in order to preserve the general health of gymnasts; propose guidelines for the management of the sports career. In short, we bring about future research into what could be done, which should not be done; or what should be avoided, by coaches, gymnasts and stakeholders in general to further the career of WAG gymnasts.