The impending autumn means one thing and one thing only for many people – the kickoff of football season. Millions will sit on bleachers and couches to watch the football players play their sport, cheering on their athleticism and strength.
But what about the dedicated athletes on the sidelines? Few people recognize it, and it’s been a point of contention for years, but the cheerleaders supporting the team are working just as hard as the players on the field.
“Football has historically been viewed as a very ‘manly sport,'” remarked our guest editor Dempsey Marks, a fitness expert and yoga trainer who founded DepmseyFit.com, about what separates football and cheerleading in people’s minds. “The sport itself is associated with toughness, pain, and even violence. And primarily football is played by men. [The sport] glorifies aggressive behavior, which society associates with men and masculinity.”
“Cheerleading has evolved from simple movements and cheers to a highly athletic undertaking, which requires strength, coordination, agility, and skill,” she added. (more…)
On the first show of Ellen Degeneres’ new season, the talk star meets with the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.
She speaks with Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross about what it was like to win big at the Summer Olympics. The team swept the scoreboards, winning by the largest margin in 52 years at the Games, which helped them take home the team gold medal. Douglas also took home an all-around gold medal and Maroney got a silver in vault. (more…)
Karen Sherwood for Nutritious America
Every four years I am more inspired by the determination and power of the amazing athletes who compete in the Olympic Games. Gymnastics is one of the most-watched events in London this year as millions of people are glued to their televisions to witness the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, nicknamed “Fab Five,” and their quest for Olympic gold. Not since the Magnificent Seven in 1996 did a women’s gymnastics team win a gold medal and these five young ladies are ready to make it happen again! As teenagers, the pressure they are under is unimaginable, yet they hop onto their balance beams with poise and stamina.
Watching Gabby Douglas float gracefully across the mat, and Kyla Ross soar what looks to be eight-feet above the uneven bars, leaves a curious nutritionist wondering… what in the world are these teenagers eating that they look and move like superheros? More importantly, is it something sustainable and realistic? I began to investigate.
While their meal plans weren’t publicly listed (aside from Aly Raisman’s chocolate milk as a recovery drink), from what I discovered they have a great support system of coaches, trainers, and family members who do their best to look after them. Don’t underestimate these gals just because they’re young, they know how to create a safe and healthy relationship with food on their own. Fab Five member Aly Raisman takes her eating very seriously and knows that a nourished body means a better performance. A nice balance of healthy foods along with occasional “fun foods” always takes the gold. Too much restriction can be dangerous for young women since they are already susceptible to things like eating disorders brought on by media hype and the pressure of competition. (more…)
During the uneven bar routine, the 2008 all-around gold medalist slipped and fell face-down onto the mat. She received a standing ovation after climbing back on the bar and finishing her routine.
“It took a lot of courage,” a teary-eyed Liukin said, according to The Wall Street Journal, “I have learned to be a fighter.”
Unfortunately the fight was not good enough for Liukin to make this years U.S. team. She finished 10th on the uneven bars and seventh on the beam during the weekend’s trials.
No Olympic gymnast championhas returned to the next games since Nadia Comaneci in 1980. This year is no different and the team is full of first time Olympic gymnasts. The team includes Gabrielle Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Alexandra Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross.
The 2012 Summer Olympics are just a few weeks away! Many have been reflecting back on previous games and the inspiring feats that have been performed. Among Team USA’s proudest memories is the 1996 Women’s Gymnastic team. They were known as “the Magnificent Seven” and the first and only American women’s team to take home the gold. Just this past week one of the members of that 1996 team released her memoir about the darker side of that triumphant time in her life and opened doors to see how many in the sport fought similar battles.
Dominique Moceanu was a history-maker. At the age of 14 she was the youngest gymnast in history to win an Olympic gold medal. She was a fan favorite and known for her charming smile. This amazing athlete is all grown up now. She’s a wife and a mother of two. She just released “Off Balance,” a book detailing her struggles as a young gymnast. Specifically she relays the abuse she took from her famous coach, Bela Karolyi. Moceanu explains how her coaches severely restricted her diet and called her names like “picky” and “fat.”
Disordered eating is a common problem among gymnasts and it’s devastating to hear it can be the result of a coach’s prodding. However, is that always the case? In Moceanu’s it was true, but it’s refreshing to learn that not all coaches and gyms take young athletes down this dangerous road. (more…)