In Finland, I often hear the word “Huippuvoimistelu.”
It means something like “professional gymnastics” or “elite gymnastics.”
If we look in Wikipedia the definition of pro sports, it says:
“Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance.”
To my knowledge, no AGG gymnast earns money.
Not even the winners of the world championships.
In fact, traveling, training and paying coaches costs the gymnasts -or more precisely, their families- a lot of money.
As much as it hurts me to admit, AGG is not a professional sport.
It doesn’t mean that it won’t be one day.
It just means that right now it’s not.
I will agree that anyone involved in AGG is not in it for getting rich, but it is somehow sad that well over a decade of training will only get you a medal worth 5 euros.
However, not all hope is lost.
What can we do to help clubs and gymnasts gain exposure and have better training conditions?
We need to think of different marketing strategies that don’t fit the old-school approach.
If someone would ask you who is the most famous gymnast in AGG, you probably couldn’t answer.
Every other sport has stars.
Why don’t we have stars? Where are the celebrity gymnasts?
You may not know much about bodybuilding.
But if you live in Finland, you know who Jari “Bull” Mentula is.
You may not like soccer, but you have heard about Messi and Ronaldo.
Every sport needs idols.
Here are 5 ideas that you could use to grow AGG:
1. If you are a gymnast, open a website.
Write about gymnastics, write about the clothes you wear, what you eat, what music do you like.
Maybe soon everybody will know who you are and buy t-shirts with your name on them. You can be the first star of your sport.
2. If you’re an AGG Club, create a youtube series showing the joys and struggles of a group of gymnasts.
The average person can’t relate to the specifics of the sport, but they understand passion, drama, defeat, and joy.
3. If you are a coach, Create a daily program on Snapchat giving training tips for gymnasts.
Once the channel has thousands of followers, organize paid seminars around the country for both gymnasts and coaches.
4. If you’re the Federation, organize an AGG competition for the women’s category.
After covering costs (all teams pay inscriptions) use the rest of the money as a price for the top 3 teams.
Paying for results will increase the level of the sport very quickly.
5. If you’re a parent, have lots of patience
We can complain that AGG is expensive for families and that coaches get lousy pay, but what are we doing to change it?
My small contribution is writing this blog.
What is yours?