Degrees of difficulty : how women's gymnastics rose to prominence and fell from grace / Georgia Cervin

Cervin, Georgia

Edited by University of Illinois Press - 2021

Electrifying athletes like Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci helped make women’s artistic gymnastics one of the most popular events in the Olympic Games. But the transition of gymnastics from a women’s sport to a girl’s sport in the 1970s also laid the foundation for a system of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of gymnasts around the world. Georgia Cervin offers a unique history of women's gymnastics, examining how the high-stakes diplomatic rivalry of the Cold War created a breeding ground for exploitation. Yet, a surprising spirit of international collaboration arose to decide the social values and image of femininity demonstrated by the sport. Cervin also charts the changes in style, equipment, training, and participants that transformed the sport, as explosive athleticism replaced balletic grace and gymnastics dominance shifted from East to West.

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