Tokyo Olympics 2021: Can You be Too Tall for Gymnastics?

Published 07/15/2021, 2:46 PM EDT
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 22: Gymnast Riley McCusker poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 22, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)


If you are a follower of gymnastics, you would have seen mostly short people being involved in the sport. There has been an ongoing debate over whether gymnastics can stunt your growth or is gymnastics more suitable for short people.

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So, can you be too tall for gymnastics or is it a myth? Although not impossible, it is definitely harder for tall people to do gymnastics.

Why gymnastics is more appropriate for short people?

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Short people are at an advantage when it comes to gymnastics because of multiple reasons. Rotating a shorter and lighter body takes less power and effort. So, for short gymnasts, rotating the body in the air is easier in comparison to taller gymnasts.

Well, the same isn’t just about easiness or discomfort, but also about performance. In a study published in Sports Biomechanics, it was found that the rotational performance of the taller gymnasts couldn’t match that of the shorter gymnasts.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin performs live during Kellogg’s Tour Of Gymnastics Champions Exhibition at Staples Center on September 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images)

Another reason behind this is that the shorter gymnasts get benefitted due to the lower center of gravity while performing on a beam.

Similarly, tall women find it difficult to do well with bars because they may hit other bars in the process.

Certainly, practicing may help a taller gymnast flip better, the fact that it is easier for shorter gymnasts to do gymnastics cannot be denied. Are there any advantages of being tall in the sport?

YEAH, there are!

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Gymnasts with longer limbs find it easier to jump high bars or onto vaults because they have longer limbs.

Who is the tallest gymnast who has been to the Olympics?

So far, the tallest female gymnast has been Marie Sophie Hindermann, who has a height of 5’7″ and she competed in the Olympics in 2008. In males, it was Igor Cassina of 5’9″, who won gold in 2004.

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However, the tallest male gymnast who has been to the Olympics is Alexander Shatilov, who’s 6 feet tall. He has won several medals at the World and European Championships.

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Aastha Kochar

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Aastha Kochar is a Gymnastics writer at EssentiallySports with over 4 years of writing experience. Having earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Media from the University of Delhi, she has interned with The Indian Express among other renowned organizations. She joined EssentiallySports to further her passion for sports content.

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