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Gymnastics provides a springboard to a lot of places in life: coaching, counseling, college scholarships, gym ownership, a lifelong love of physical fitness; a rarefied few make it to the Olympic podium. For Chris Lung, beginning gymnastics at the age of 4 paved his path to entrepreneurship as the founder of GymnastX.
Like GMR, GymnastX is a gymnastics gear and apparel company that cares. They sell silicon bands that secure the velcro grips gymnasts wear to prevent them from ripping off the bar. They sell stylish sports wear and specially treaded socks that keep gymnasts from slipping on the floor. Of significant importance, they provide financial support to individual gymnasts and causes near and dear to the hearts of the community as a whole.
Today, we are excited to announce that we are partnering with Chris and GymnastX to sell a selection of their X Band designs on our website with Free Shipping in the contiguous United States.
GymnastX Founder and CEO, Chris Lung’s life follows a course familiar to many gymnasts. He began his love of gymnastics as a pre-schooler. He went on to excel in the sport throughout his education. When he was on the gymnastics team as a high school senior, Chris made it to the United States’ national team where his hard work, skill, drive and dedication earned him the title of National Champion in the pommel horse event.
Good grades and gymnastics excellence garnered him a scholarship to the University of Illinois where he competed all 4 years. His senior year saw Chris take leadership of the university’s gymnastics team as its captain. That same year, the team won the Big Ten Championship and Chris earned the esteemed title of All-American in his best event the pommel horse. Though, if you ask him, Chris will tell you the high bar is his favorite.
After graduation, Chris went to work on his MBA from Babson College, a school renowned the world over for its focus and excellence in turning students into entrepreneurs. It was in an assignment for his entrepreneurship class that GymnastX was born.
Gymnastics, like music, art and other niche sports, has suffered greatly from educational budget cuts. Fewer high schools feature gymnastics programs. Kids are lucky, these days, if they get physical education (PE) at all. Cuts have hit so hard at the college level, the number of NCAA men’s gymnastics teams has gone from 270, only a few decades ago to just 16, now.
The sad and frustrating part is that enthusiasm for boys and men’s gymnastics continues to grow, but boys and men have fewer opportunities to pursue it on a competitive level, in a way that pairs gymnastics with an advanced education.
As the number of college teams has plummeted, so have scholarships to compete and attend school. That, in turn, makes for fewer educational opportunities for many male gymnasts’ who rely on athletic scholarships to offset the expense of college.
What we’re seeing is men who want to continue with gymnastics — while they’re bodies are in their prime — end up forced to choose between gymnastics and a higher education. Because of these cuts to teams and scholarships, male gymnasts are being deprived of opportunities to get an education on par with other athletes.
What ends up happening is that male gymnasts stay local and attend a community college, rather than a larger university, so they can still do gymnastics at their own club or gym. Fewer men at the larger, NCAA affiliated schools also leads to an impoverished NCAA field when good gymnasts get weeded out based on scholarship opportunities and scant team availability.
We spoke with a dedicated men’s gymnastics coach who’s taken a different tack to keep his athletes both in college and in the sport of gymnastics at a high skill level.