A couple of weeks ago, our team returned from the 2019 USAIGC World Championships gymnastics meet in Nashville. The venue (the Gaylord Opryland Resort) was terrific. Although I didn’t stay on-site, a number of our gymnasts did, and they thought it was great — restaurants, convention center, water park, and more, all under one roof.
USAIGC held two parties just for gymnasts, and all of my gymnasts who attended had a great time. They really felt like they were a part of a special event.
The meet was well-run and organized. The sessions ran on time, and the awards were fast and efficient. Overall, the scoring was fair and consistent, and the meet was competitive. Scores weren’t handed out to athletes; gymnasts had to earn their awards and titles.
To top it all off, although I spent the 4th of July working, it was something very special to have the National Anthem sung so beautifully on our nation’s 243rd birthday.
Once again, the same as last year, the coaches were all very nice and cooperative. Although we were there to compete against one another, the fact that we all had a basic respect for the USAIGC program and its underlying philosophy, gave us a sense of camaraderie. We were there to support our gymnasts and to give them the best experience possible. This healthy attitude was displayed throughout the week from all of the coaches. Our gymnasts see coaches from different clubs working together, and they become more friendly with one another too. This is one of the things I really enjoy and respect about USAIGC.
Another intelligent aspect of the USAIGC rules is the encouragement of the event specialist. This year, even more than last year, the event specialist was truly celebrated. This is a very realistic view to have of gymnastics. “The USAIGC/IAIGC promotes and encourages Individual Event Competition in all competitive levels with the same qualification procedures. Collegiate gymnastics is built upon Individual Event Specialist” (USAIGC Rules & Policies, pg. 9). Not all gymnasts excel at the same rate on all events. This is normal. In fact, event specialty is a fundamental part of college gymnastics (for instance, I was recruited for my vaulting prowess), something which many of these young gymnasts want to be a part of one day.
In USAIGC, if a gymnast does not qualify to World Championships as an all-around gymnast, she has the opportunity to qualify on up to two individual events. She is not held back on her stronger events because of her weaker events. Then, at World Championships she has the opportunity to qualify in her age group as an event finalist, competing again, and having the chance to become a World Champion. In any other organization, this would not be possible. Many of my gymnasts did not qualify as all-around competitors, but as event specialists. This rule makes sense; it is a smart and realistic rule for the sport of gymnastics.
Just as in college gymnastics, let’s not hold a gymnast back because of what she cannot do, let’s give her the opportunity to go as far as she can and push herself to the best of her ability on what she can do. Let’s see where her talents take her, not force her to quit or compete at a lower level because she doesn’t have all four events at the same level.
We appreciate USAIGC and its intelligent structure. Our gym has finished our second year of competition under its umbrella, and we cannot be more happy about the change we made for our girls.