British Gymnastics has broken the 250,000 member mark, reaching an historic milestone for the organisation. There are now more people enjoying and delivering gymnastics than ever before in UK as the sport from toddler to Olympian grows from strength to strength.
To mark the occasion our 250,000th member Kizzie Ward, was invited as a VIP to the recent British Gymnastics Championship Series, an event that saw over 1,500 gymnasts from across Britain compete in a range of different gymnastics disciplines at Echo Arena, Liverpool. 10 year old Kizzie, from Tees Valley Gymnastics Club in Middlesbrough, was presented with a special certificate, she awarded the medals to our top gymnasts and also got a chance to meet Team GB medal winning acrobatic gymnasts Ryan Bartlett and Hannah Baughn.
Our membership base is hugely diverse and testament to the wide range of participation options provided by the organisation. The largest sector of members are “bronze” members, typically those who are enjoying taking part in gymnastics at least once a week as a great recreational activity to keep active, try new things and socialise with friends. Bronze members range from age 2½ to 85 years old!
Jane Allen, British Gymnastics CEO commented on reaching the 250,000 members saying: “This is a very significant milestone for British Gymnastics and clearly shows the sport is thriving in the UK. Our membership base demonstrates that it is not just the youngsters enjoying the sport, adult gymnastics is on the rise too with adults wanting to return to the sport or find a new, exciting way to keep fit and have some fun. Since www.DiscoverGymnastics.uk was created, it’s received half a million visits from people looking to find their nearest club and explore the gymnastics activities available.”
The growth of membership in gymnastics can also be attributed to the plans that we have put in place to ensure that everyone can engage and take part in the sport, supported by Sport England. Our community clubs are delivering more opportunities to more participants than ever before. £2million has been invested in facility development to increase capacity for more people to enjoy gymnastics and training for 10,000 people to deliver the activities. In the last four years there have been 160 new dedicated gymnastics facilities created with 120 satellite club established in the last two years.
At the elite level, British gymnasts have raised the bar over the last two Olympic cycles and are consistently winning medals at major championships across the world. This in turn has seen the profile of the sport transformed with millions of people regularly watching our British gymnasts compete on television and following us in social media. Momentum continues with the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow this October, a qualifier for the Rio, followed by The Olympic Games themselves next year. We are gearing up for another spike in demand as these events inspire yet another generation of gymnasts.
Three-time Olympic medal winner Louis Smith MBE is one gymnast who has helped to inspire the next generation and his success along with many others has seen younger gymnasts in particular motivated to take up the sport.
Louis described our 250,000 membership growth as a proud moment for the sport saying “Ever since the Beijing Olympic Games the resurgence of gymnastics in this country has been incredible. Everywhere I go people are talking about how much they have loved watching the British team’s success and often how they have been inspired. Gymnastics clubs across the country are full of budding gymnasts wanting to be the next Beth Tweddle or the next Louis Smith and that’s incredible. British Gymnastics have created great role models, nurturing club environments that are really welcoming, supported fantastic facilities to help grow the sport an innovative new types of gymnastics so there’s something for everyone these days competitive or not – I’m very proud to be part of it.”
Check out our video of 250,000th member Kizzie Ward visiting the recent British Gymnastics Championship Series!