Elite Female Gymnasts and Eating Disorders By: Danielle MacMillan, Melissa White, & Sarah Isherwood
Overview Introduction to the sport of gymnastic Problem Pressures Coaches Judges Family Role Models Personality traits of gymnasts Solutions
Gymnastics • Aesthetic sport • Requires a small figure to do the performance at an elite level • Very time consuming sport • Requires a lot of support from family
Problem • There are many pressures associated with female gymnasts in achieving the ideal body type in order to successfully compete at an elite level. • These pressures can often lead the athlete towards an eating disorder which is very detrimental to their health.
“Female gymnasts adhere to the demands of image in both sport and society. With pink ribbons in their hair, make-up plastered faces, and petite frames, the desired little princess look is achieved. The girls have to always perform, act, and look a certain way. Sadly, what once were women athletes are now pretty little girls doing flips and spins” (Millar, 2002).
Wasn’t always a problem • Larissa Latynina • Nadia Commaneci
Pressures • Coaches • Judges • Family • Role models
Pressures from Coaches • Coaches are a very important part of a gymnasts life. • Coaches can worsen their chances of life long problems. • Ex: Coach Karolyi
Pressures from Judges • Judges are the people that the gymnast must impress the most. • The younger these gymnasts look the more apt they are to sway the judges in favour of them. • Christy Henrich
Pressures from Family • Parents can get very caught up in their child's talent that they often forget about the true importance of the sport.
Pressures from Role Models • Television • Teammates
Suggested Solutions • Higher minimum age required to participate. • Better technology. • Coaching education. • Programs to promote healthy lifestyle.
References • Arsenault, H. (2009). Disordered Eating and Obsessive Exercise: The Dangerous Cycle. The Women’s Health Activist, 34(1), 8-9. • Benardot, D. (2006). Advanced Sports Nutrition. U.S.A.: Human Kinetics. • (Karin) de Bruin, A.P., Bakker, F. C., & Oudejans, R. R. D. (2009). Achievement goal theory and disordered eating: Relationships of disordered eating with goal orientations and motivational climate in female gymnasts and dancers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10(1), 72-79. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2008.07.002 • Krane, V., Waldron, J., Michalenok, J., &Stiles-Shipley, J. (2001). Body Image Concerns in Female Exercisers and Athletes: A Feminist Cultural Studies Perspective. Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal. Retrieved from http://coachrey.com/volleyball-blog/wp- content/uploads/2011/01/Body-Image-Concerns-in-Female- Exercisers-and-Athletes.pdf • (K. Thompson, personal communication, March 11, 2011). • Lin, C. (News anchor). (2001). Whatever It Takes: Pursuing the Perfect 10 [CNN]. Atlanta: Time Warner Inc. • Millar, S. (2002). Thinness to success: eating disorders in elite female gymnasts. Canadian Woman Studies, 21(3), 122.