Op-Ed: Gymnastics is investing to inspire a new generation

12 Nov 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

British Gymnastics is booming at elite and grassroots level and the organisation is planning for another decade of success. CEO Jane Allen explains how she and her team are working to create more opportunities for the nation to be inspired by the sport.

It is a truly fantastic time for everyone at British Gymnastics.

Our athletes are enjoying huge success. We won four medals at the World Championships in Stuttgart earlier this year, including Britain’s first medal on parallel bars thanks to Joe Fraser; Ellie Downie became the first British female to win a world medal on vault; Becky Downie picked up a well-deserved silver on bars, and Max Whitlock became a triple World Champion. 

Since Beijing 2008, we’ve won 12 Olympic medals - including our first ever Olympic golds and trampoline Olympic medal. Now is the time to build on these high-profile successes.

We are working to invest £7.5 million in facilities over the next six years, which will create more opportunities for aspiring gymnasts. By investing substantially in gymnastics, we are working with partners to create a lasting legacy, transforming the sport across the nation.

But while it is our medal success that grabs the headlines, I am just as proud of the role that gymnastics plays in helping children develop. As a foundation sport, gymnastics improves physical literacy and development of motor skills. The sport also helps build resilience and improve confidence as well as developing teamwork and leadership abilities.

I genuinely believe that gymnastics plays a fundamental role in helping build children and young people for life. Gymnastics is deeply rooted in communities all over the country. Over a million people take part in the sport every week - and through our facilities investment, club support and partnerships, we hope to increase this much further. 

Innovation is a key focus for us and we are looking to connect even more closely with the deliverers of our sport, parents and participants in the shape of new digital platforms and products. We are listening carefully to how we can best support our 400,000 members in this space.

We are piloting a new programme for our recreational gymnasts, enabling them to explore the breadth of gymnastics through fun, engaging and positive experiences. This will create the foundations for life-long participation in sport and physical activity.

While everyone will be firmly focussed on the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, we also have some major global events heading to Great Britain. Our strong event strategy has resulted in the UK being selected as the host for World Championships in 2022 and 2023. We also a host a World Cup every year. And, of course, Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 which will be a huge moment for the sport and the UK.