62 Gymnastics Statistics You Should Know | Livestrong.com

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Gymnastics demographics show most athletes start very young and continue competing into early adulthood.

Alongside swimming, gymnastics is probably one of the most eagerly anticipated sports of the summer Olympics. And it’s no surprise, considering the amount of skill and precision that goes into a single routine.

There are millions of gymnasts but few make it to the international stage — so who are the best gymnasts in the world? And how prevalent is gymnastics in the U.S.?

Vault into these gymnastics statistics to learn more about this high-flying sport.

Global Gymnastics Statistics

Gymnastics is popular all over the world, but the U.S. is ranked first by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique or FIG (the main international governing body for the sport). The U.S. also holds 36 gold medals in gymnastics, which is the second-highest count in history.

At LIVESTRONG.com, we are intentional with the language we use. But like many other sports, gymnastics typically categorizes athletes as women or men, which is why we’ve used these terms below.

World rankings are calculated based on the total number of points each country wins in competition throughout the year. According to the FIG, the scores for the 2019 (the most updated rankings) top-ranking countries in women’s gymnastics are:

  1. United States‌: 235
  2. Canada:‌ 205
  3. Japan:‌ 170
  4. Germany:‌ 140
  5. Russian Federation:‌ 135

The FIG scores for the 2019 top-ranking countries in men’s gymnastics are:

  1. United States:‌ 200
  2. Russian Federation:‌ 170
  3. People’s Republic of China:‌ 165
  4. Great Britain:‌ 160
  5. Ukraine:‌ 140

According to NBC Olympics, here are the scores of the leading countries in the 2023 Women’s Gymnastics Championships:

  1. United States:‌ 167.729
  2. Brazil:‌ 165.530
  3. France:‌ 164.064

According to NBC Olympics, here are the scores of the leading countries in the 2023 Men’s Gymnastics Championships:

  1. Japan:‌ 255.594
  2. China:‌ 253.794
  3. United States:‌ 252.428

U.S. Gymnastics Statistics

There are millions of gymnasts in the country. And USA Gymnastics (the national governing body of gymnastics) has nearly 200,000 total members (including staff, coaches, and athletes) for the 2022 to 2023 season.

  1. In 2023, there were about 4.57 million gymnasts in the U.S, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) [2023 Gymnastics Single Sports Report](//storage.leafmedia.io/contentlab-data/11/15/Gymnastics Single Sport Report.pdf).
    1. 28 percent of U.S. gymnasts live in the Southeast.
    2. 49 percent of U.S. gymnasts are between the ages of 6 and 12.
  2. According to Gold Coast Gymnastics, over 90,000 gymnasts are actively involved in competitive programs under the supervision of USA Gymnastics.
  3. USA Gymnastics oversees six disciplines, including acrobatic, artistic, gymnastics for all, parkour, rhythmic and trampoline and tumbling programs.
  4. The best gymnastics states according to GymCastic, are Texas, California and Illinois.
  5. The 2023 men’s senior and junior elite national teams have 33 athletes and the women’s senior and junior elite national teams have 24 athletes, according to USA Gymnastics.
  6. The top-ranking division 1 college gymnastics programs for women as of 2023, according to NCSA College Recruiting are:
    1. Stanford University
    2. University of Florida
    3. University of California — Los Angeles
    4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    5. University of Michigan

Gymnastics Demographics by Sex

There are about three and a half times more women participating in gymnastics in the U.S. than men, per the SFIA. However, men and women compete in different gymnastics events, so some people consider them to be totally separate sports.

  1. More than 120,000 athletes are members of USA Gymnastics, according to USA Gymnastics Parents.
  2. There are about 12,000 athletes in USA Gymnastics’ men’s programs, according to AP News.
  3. The six events that make up men’s artistic gymnastics, according to the Olympics and NBC Olympics are:
    1. Floor exercise
    2. Pommel horse
    3. Still rings
    4. Vault
    5. Parallel bars
    6. Horizontal (or high) bar
  4. The four events that make up women’s artistic gymnastics are:
    1. Vault
    2. Uneven bars
    3. Balance beam
    4. Floor exercise
  5. Although there are more female gymnastics athletes, more men compete in consecutive Olympic games, according to a March 2018 study in the Science of Gymnastics Journal.

Number of Consecutive Olympic Games

Men

Women

1

278

408

2

102

70

3

29

11

3

6

0

5

1

1

6

0

1

Source(s):
Science of Gymnastics Journal

Gymnastics Demographics by Age

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LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Gymnastics is most popular among kids and preteens: Half of gymnastics participants are between the ages of 6 and 12, per the SFIA.

  1. Male athletes born on or before December 31, 2006 (17 years old) will be allowed to compete in the men’s event at the Paris 2024 Olympics, according to the Olympics. Female athletes born on or before December 31, 2008 (15 years old) will be eligible to compete in the women’s competition at Paris 2024.
  2. A majority of female gymnast participants are 6 to 12 years old, according to the SFIA. The age range with the highest number of male gymnasts is 25 to 34.

Age

Female

Male

6-12

58%

22%

13-17

16%

10%

18-24

9%

16%

25-34

10%

25%

35-44

4%

19%

45-54

2%

3%

55-64

1%

2%

65 and up

0.0%

2%

Source(s):
Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2023 Gymnastics Single Sports Report

Gymnastics Demographics by Education Level and Race

According to the SFIA, a significant portion (51 percent) of gymnastics participants are in 8th grade or below. In addition, the majority of participants (67 percent) in gymnastics are caucasian/white.

Education Level

Female

Male

8th Grade or Less

60%

22%

1 to 3 years of High School

11%

13%

High School Grad

7%

17%

1 to 3 years of College

8%

11%

College Grad

11%

25%

Post-Grad Studies

3%

12%

Source(s):
Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2023 Gymnastics Single Sports Report

Race

Female

Male

African American/Black

10%

16%

Asian/Pacific Islander

5%

7%

Caucasian/White

70%

59%

Hispanic

14%

17%

Other

1%

2%

Source(s):
Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2023 Gymnastics Single Sports Report

Statistics About Gymnastics Injuries

Gymnastics injuries are pretty common but differ between men and women. Men tend to get upper-body injuries, while women usually have issues in the lower body, according to the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer.

  1. There are more than 86,000 gymnastics-related injuries in the U.S. each year, according to the University of Washington Medicine Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.
    1. Some of the most common gymnastics injuries include elbow dislocation and wrist sprains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, achilles tendon injury and foot and ankle injuries.
    2. Gymnastics causes about 480 injuries per 100,000 people each year, according to a 2023 study published in ‌Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach.
      1. Most of the visits to the emergency room were by kids between 6 and 15 years old (84.0 percent).
      2. Younger kids, aged 6 to 10, mostly broke their lower arms, while older ones, above 10 years old, often sprained their ankles.
      3. Boys had more shoulder injuries (8.0 vs. 3.9 percent), while girls had more elbow (9.9 vs. 5.9 percent) and wrist (10.5 vs. 8.3 percent) injuries.
    3. After observing 64 male and 55 female gymnasts from 2001 to 2011, authors of a March 2015 Sports Health study recorded 240 injuries for men and 201 injuries for women.
      1. 24.4 percent of the injuries in women required surgery
      2. 9.2 percent of the injuries in men required surgery.
      3. 24 percent of men injured their hands or wrists, their most frequently injured area.
      4. 39 percent of women injured their feet or ankles, their most frequently injured area.
    4. Women experience about 2 injuries for every 1,000 hours of training, according to an April 2015 study of college gymnasts in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

Olympic Gymnastics Statistics

While there are yearly gymnastics competitions, the sport is probably best known for its popularity in the Olympic Games.

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  1. At the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, U.S. gymnasts brought home 6 medals, according to USA Gymnastics:
    1. 2 gold
    2. 2 silver
    3. 2 bronze
  2. In 2006, the standard 10-point-maximum system (also known as the “perfect 10” system) of scoring was replaced with an open-ended system, according to NBC Olympics. The updated scoring system allows gymnasts to score beyond a perfect 10, giving judges the ability to award points based on the difficulty and execution of routines.
  3. The U.S. men’s and women’s gymnastics teams won their first gold medals in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, according to USA Gymnastics.
  4. Simone Biles was the first American woman gymnast to win 4 Olympic gold medals.
  5. Biles is the first woman to win six World all-around titles and the first woman to win six World floor exercise titles, according to USA Gymnastics.
  6. Biles became the most decorated gymnast of all-time with 37 World/Olympic medals, according to USA Gymnastics.
  7. Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, according to the Olympic website.
  8. Comaneci has won 5 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal in her career.
  9. Laurie Hernandez won 1 gold and 1 silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
  10. Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura is often considered the greatest male gymnast in history, according to the Olympics.

The 2024 U.S Olympic Team for Gymnastics has not been determined yet. However, according to NBC Sports, the gymnastics team will be selected based on the top two all-around finishers at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for gymnastics in June 2024.

The trials will be held at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to the USA Olympic Trial’s website. Based on the the total scores from both days, the top two all-around finishers will automatically be named to the Olympic team. A selection committee will then choose two more athletes to join them for the Paris team event.

World Championship Statistics

Outside of the Olympics, the World Gymnastics Championships are the top gymnastics competition.

According to NBC Sports, the 2023 men’s all-around winning athletes are:

The 2023 women’s all-around winning athletes are:

Gymnastics Level Statistics

Gymnastics programs are organized by three stages, each of which involves its own levels and training protocols. Athletes must complete all of the levels in order to compete at the elite level.

  1. USA Gymnastics categorizes gymnastics programs into the following stages and levels:
    1. Developmental Stage: Levels 1 to 3‌ — During this stage, gymnasts must learn the basics of the sport before they can compete.
    2. Compulsory Stage: Levels 4 and 5‌ — These levels build on the basics learned in the previous stage as gymnasts begin to compete.
    3. Optional Stage: Levels 6 to 10‌ — Each level in this competitive stage (aside from Level 10) has difficulty restrictions based on the movements and routines permitted in competition.
  2. Level 4 and 5 are the most common levels for many young athletes, according to the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA).
  3. After Level 10, a gymnast is considered an elite athlete, according to NCSA Sports.

Historical Facts About Gymnastics

Although gymnastics has been around for a long time recreationally, large-scale competitive events began about 120 years ago.

  1. Rhythmic gymnastics emerged in the Soviet Union, where the sport’s first championships were held in 1948, according to Olympedia, an Olympic athlete and record platform.
  2. Some form of gymnastics has been around for more than 2,000 years, according to the University of Michigan.
  3. Gymnastics first came to the U.S. in 1830s.
  4. The sport was first included in the Olympics in 1896, which means it’s been in the Olympics 30 times, according to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum.
  5. Women first competed in Olympic gymnastics at the 1928 Games.
  6. The FIG organized its first men’s World Championships in 1903, according to Gymnastics Canada.
  7. Women were first included in the World Championships in 1934.
  8. Artistic gymnastics was first introduced in the Olympics in 1894.
  9. Trampoline gymnastics was first included in the Olympics in 2000.

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