The general consensus is yes. However, gymnastics will be harder if you are tall, but not impossible. So why is it advantageous to be shorter when it comes to gymnastics? Short individuals do have the benefit when it comes to body rotations, because it takes less power for a smaller individual to rotate in the air verses a longer individual. A study published in “Sports Biomechanics” found that taller gymnasts couldn’t match the rotational performance of their shorter colleagues. Those who are shorter also benefit from a lower center of gravity, which is helpful when it comes to performing on a beam.
As one gymnastic coach explained, when you are taller, you need more power when doing flips; however, that doesn’t mean a tall person can’t gain the strength to nail a flip. Also, with female gymnasts, the bars can be difficult. Taller girls have to be careful not to hit the other bar when doing tricks, but again, that doesn’t mean with practice they can’t perfect their routine.
Are there any advantages for taller gymnasts? The answer is yes. One is that in taller gymnasts’ performances, they can show more grace with their longer limbs, which gives them longer lines.
Also, one female gymnast, who is 5’10’’, explained that being tall makes it easier when it comes to jumping to the high bar or jumping onto the vault.
Even in the Olympics, there have been taller athletes who have performed well in gymnastics. The tallest female gymnast to compete in the Olympics was Marie Sophie Hindermann, who is 5’9’’. She competed in the 2008 Olympics. The tallest male gymnast to win gold in recent years at the Olympics was Igor Cassie from Italy. He stands at 5’11’’ and won gold in Athens in 2000.
For those who are over 6 feet, don’t give up on your gymnastic dreams yet! In the NCAA there are over a dozen gymnastic male athletes who stand taller than 6 feet, so there is still a chance!