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Your Road to the Olympic Team - How to Become an Olympic Gymnast

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How to Become an Olympian
Your Road to the Olympic Team - How to Become an Olympic Gymnast

The 2004 USA Olympic gymnastics teams

© Clive Brunskill / Getty Images (Both photos)

Are you ready to take on a full-time job? Most Olympic gymnasts train around 40 hours a week to reach the highest level of the sport. In the end, though, many would say it was all worth it.

To get started in gymnastics, find a club that’s a USAG member and has a competitive Junior Olympic training program. Once you progress through the levels (10 is the top level), you’ll attempt to qualify as an elite. In order to make the Olympic team, you’ll need to be classified as an elite.

As said before, the specific qualification procedures vary each Olympic year, but in general, to make the team you’ll have to be one of the top gymnasts in the United States. In men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, that means being one of the best all-arounders or an excellent event specialist. In trampoline, it means you've earned one of the highest point totals in Olympic qualifying competitions. In rhythmic gymnastics, it is usually the top ranked all-arounder who goes.

Though it’s a very rigorous process, and of course the odds are long, it’s still worth trying. Every gymnast who makes the team dreamed of becoming an Olympian long before his or her dream became a reality – and even if you never come close, you can still enjoy all the benefits of gymnastics.
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