From the Carpet to the Executive Committee: Women Leading Women’s Gymnastics

  • Georgia Cervin
  • Grégory Quin
  • Axel Elías Jiménez
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Sport and Politics book series (PASSP)


Competitive gymnastics has made space for women since the 1930s, making it historically progressive in terms of gender participation. But paradoxically, it has always encouraged female-oriented stereotypes. This research looks at three of the rule makers throughout the twentieth century: Egle Abruzzini, Jackie Fie and Naomi Valenzo. Each served on the technical committees of the International Gymnastics Federation that governed women’s disciplines. This “intergenerational collective biography” highlights how the conditions of women’s influence in gymnastics have, and have not, changed over the twentieth century. Moreover, it allows us to critically reflect on how progressive gymnastics really was, when women’s leadership has been limited to a separate sphere for women only.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgia Cervin
    • 1
  • Grégory Quin
    • 2
  • Axel Elías Jiménez
    • 3
  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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