Have you ever watched Gym Stars on CBBC? If not, you definitely should. There are three series so far, with each episode focusing on a different style of gymnastics. The show follows some of the top young gymnasts involved in each discipline. Olympians such as Nile Wilson and Bryony Page also make regular appearances on the show.
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There’s a really good balance between showing the excitement of competition, and the training and dedication required to get there. My sons love watching the glitz and glamour, but seeing the Gym Stars putting in all of the hard work in their own gym clubs too helps them to see that if they want that for themselves, they must work for it.
Although the original stars of the show, Amelie Morgan and Phoebe Jakubczyk, are now almost adults, competing alongside the likes of Claudia Fragapane and the Downie sisters, Gym Stars also follows some much younger children, many of whom are the same age as the programme’s target audience. When we watch as a family at home, I feel like this adds a sense of realism to the show, and helps the little gymnasts watching to see that their own goals can be achievable.
Some of the programme’s stars have been followed for two or three seasons now, and are becoming well-known faces in their own right. Alongside Amelie and Phoebe, acro pair Finn and Kirsten, and men’s artistic gymnast Chase are the particular favourites in our house!
My boys also really enjoy watching the sections of the show where famous gymnasts make guest appearances, especially when they are taking part in fun challenges. It really helps them to see their idols as real people, who were once small children with a dream, just like they are.
When they go on to watch the likes of Dominick Cunningham and Max Whitlock taking part in international competitions, they see not only the professional, polished gymnast competing that day, but also the ‘real’ person who had a giggle challenging the Gym Stars kids to see how many times they could toss and catch the rhythmic ribbon without dropping it!
As Nile Wilson says in series one “we may be Olympians, but we’re just normal people”. I think that Gym Stars does a fantastic job of showing young gymnastics fans exactly that.
All three series of Gym Stars are currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b0b23j7w/gym-stars