2021: Gymnastics Victoria Wrap Up

Gymnastics Victoria is proud of the entire gymnastics community who have stayed engaged with gymnastics through what has been another challenging year facing multiple lockdowns.

In February, Gymnastics Victoria collaborated with Special Olympics Australia and Playbk Sports to release a new online learning course, Creating a Positive Experience for Participants with Autism. This course covers practical strategies of coaching athletes with autism in gymnastics, and is available via the Special Olympics learning portal, SOA Learn. This program was recognised in November, winning the VicHealth Sport Initiative of the Year Award at the 2021 Disability Sport and Recreation Awards.

In March, the Aerobic Gymnastics Victorian Championships was hosted by Aerodynamix Gymnastics, featuring athletes competing in levels 6-10, international and Aerodance categories.

The Senior Rhythmic Gymnastics Victorian Championships were held in May at Prahran Rhythmic Gymnastics, featuring athletes from Sub Junior, Pre Junior, Junior International, Level 10 and Senior International levels.

Later in May, the Australian Gymnastics Championships were held on the Gold Coast. Victoria was well represented over the two weeks of competition, with athletes from rhythmic, aerobic, trampoline, acrobatic, men’s artistic and women’s artistic disciplines securing a total of 123 medals for Victoria.

June saw the collaboration of Gymnastics Victoria and Victoria University to provide free courses to club owners, presidents and managers. This collaboration then broadened to provide discounted rates to access other leadership and professional development opportunities through Victoria University during the lockdown period.

Also in June, Gymnastics Victoria released a new online learning platform, LearnGym. The platform is designed to provide training and development through short online modules that are focused on developing soft skills for technical members and club administrators.

Victoria was well represented in the Australian Ninja Warrior competition in July, with past gymnasts/coaches Ashlin Herbert, Charlie Robbins, Sarah Blackmore, Troy Cullen, Georgia Bonora, as well as Zak Stolz who took out the title of Australian Ninja Warrior for 2021.

With the Olympics just around the corner, Gymnastics Victoria ran the Green and Gold Competition in July, which gave participating clubs the chance to have Olympians visit their club through submitting a photo of their club members dressed in green and gold.  

Gymnastics Victoria also organised a campaign in which athletes could write letters to our own Olympic gymnasts, Tyson Bull and Emily Whitehead, to show support ahead of their Olympic debuts.

Victorian gymnasts Emily Whitehead and Tyson Bull competed at the 2020 Olympics in late July/early August. Both athletes performed strong routines in qualifications, with Tyson qualifying as the first Australian male gymnast to make an apparatus final, in which he finished in fifth place.

In early August, Gymnastics Victoria hosted our first annual Child Safe Bootcamp, which consisted of a series of webinars relating to the safeguarding of children in the sport.

Later that month, we released Raising the Bar, a workshop in response to the Change the Routine report released earlier in the year. The workshop was presented by Olympians Ashleigh Brennan and Stephanie Moorhouse and was developed by child safe consultant Samantha Dellamarta, with a focus on fostering athlete empowerment through coaching and how coaches and clubs can support an environment where athletes have a voice.

The 2021 Club Conference was held in September with week one of the conference including; Simon Rae of Tennis Australia speaking on the notion and implementation of care, trust and safety in the coach-athlete relationship, and breakout rooms discussing ‘The other side of Covid with coaches’, led by Alex Ash, and ‘Evolution not Revolution’, led by Michael King.

Week two featured former Sydney Swans Premiership player Jude Bolton as keynote speaker, focusing on fostering positive culture in high-performance environments. Following this, breakout rooms covered ‘Managing conflict and confrontation’, led by Nicole Davidson, and ‘Engaging with multicultural communities for business growth’, led by Molina Asthana and Tammy Robison.

In October, Gymnastics Victoria hosted the eighth annual Women in Sport Breakfast  in collaboration with Victoria University. Despite being held online for a second year, over 300 people attended to celebrate the achievements of women in sport in 2021.

The event was hosted by journalist Georgie Tunny and featured an address from Sarah Styles, Director of Office for Women in Sport and Recreation in Victoria, and a star-studded panel made up of Layne Beachley AO, Lucy Stephen OLY, Emily Whitehead OLY and Ellie Cole OAM, who shared their experiences in each of their sports and the Olympics.

Gymnastics Victoria also released our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan at the end of October, which outlines our plan to empower gymnastics clubs to be safe, inclusive and thriving so they can activate movement across Victoria with a focus on the four strategic pillars of;

  • Fostering a culture of care
  • Strengthening the gymnastics community
  • Making a difference to Victoria by leading movement
  • Developing a sustainable business model

According to Sport Australia's latest AusPlay data gymnastics continues to rank in the top three organised sports for children under the age of 12 in Victoria and we hope to see this trend continue in the new year.

Gymnastics Victoria would like to extend many thanks to the gymnastics community for your ongoing support and perseverance throughout 2021. We hope to see everyone in their gyms again next year and look forward to seeing you in 2022.