70 Years of Gymnastics NSW:
It was 1921 when gymnastics first came onto the scene within Australia. The first club in operation was Grahame’s Men’s Gymnastics club, founded by our now life member, Jim Brown. YMCA Sydney quickly established a club, before the NSW Gymnastics Association was officially formed in 1948.
By 1949, NSW were hosting their first state championships, held at Grahame’s Men’s Gymnastics Club. 1950 saw NSW compete in their first Australian Championships, and the following year, host its first Australian Championships at Sydney YMCA. In a world without television or social media, promotion of gymnastics took place through regular outdoor displays on iconic locations such as Bondi beach.
1956 was a year of change and growth for Gymnastics in New South Wales. Women first competed in the NSW State Titles and Brain Blackburn and Bruce Sharp are selected for the Melbourne Olympic Games, Australia’s first Gymnastics representatives at the Olympics.
Gymnastics became more popular each year, and growth reached new heights when Women’s Gymnastics was included into the National Champion
ships in 1960. The growth of the sport continued in 1977 as our state become the first in the nation to introduce Rhythmic gymnastics.
In 1986, GNSW, held its very first Annual Awards night. Just over 100 people attended the event, a different world to the 600 people today. Wrapping up the 80’s, Monique Allen represented Australia at the Seoul Olympics, becoming the first Women’s artistic gymnastics representative from NSW at the Olympic Games.
Coach education surged ahead in 1993, as NSW held its first coaches’ congress. The following year was on record as the best year for membership, over 30,000 members.
As the membership increased, it was only natural that the sport began to evolve further. In 1997 competitive Aerobics joined Gymnastics, with Juanita Little titled Aerobic
World Champion in Perth the same year. Only a year later, Trampoline Sports and Sports Acrobatics dissolved their respective international organisations and merged with Gymnastics. Each of these sports entered the gymnastics family with a history of successes and knowledge that would grow our sport in the new millennium.
Gymsports were unified and our community united in the lead up to of our Nations proudest sporting moments, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Following the excitement of the games the Aussie medals flowed, and then in 2006 High Bar Champion Philippe Rizzo became Australia’s first Artistic World Champion. The same year, Gymnastics NSW’s overall success was acknowledges by winning the Sport NSW Organisation of the year; a title we were a finalist for 3 more times and won again in 2013.
Highlighting that Gymnastics really is for everybody, GNSW hosted the Sydney International Gymfest, bringing performance groups from around the globe to celebrate the diverse world of gymnastics.
The success continued, as Commonwealth Games AA Medallist Naazmi Johnston ranks 22nd at the Beijing Olympics, the highest ranking ever from a Rhythmic Gymnast in Australia still to this date!
Maintaining a dedication to safety, Gymnastics NSW were awarded by WorkCover NSW for safe sport practise in the delivery of a WHS App, risk management strategies and member protection strategies. In 2011, after launching an inclusions project only a few years earlier, Gymnastics NSW held its first Inclusion’s State Championships.
Celebrating the opportunities found within our sport, Gymnastics NSW developed the “Start here, go anywhere” initiative in 2013, which has now become our National motto. Constantly changing and developing, the exciting world of freestyle gymnastics came to our shores, with FreeG launched in 2016.
From the first Olympic Games to medalling performances at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and World Championships, NSW athletes have always made their mark on
the world stage.
Now, in our 70th year, Gymnastics NSW are the leading state in athlete registration, innovation and technical membership of coaches and judges. We have successful High Performance programs running for Men’s, Women’s, Trampoline, Acrobatics, Aerobics and Rhythmic Gymnastics. We have over 220 clubs registered and achieved a record breaking 72,000 registered athletes.
In 70 years, Gymnastics NSW may have changed, yet our successes have not waivered. We are proud of the people that make up our amazing sport and look forward to the success we will all see together in the future.