Trampoline gymnasts’ body-self narratives of the leotard: a seamless fit?

Rhiannon Lord, Carly Stewart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

102 Downloads (Pure)


Critical gymnastics literature suggests that a specific and narrowly defined body aesthetic is, in part, to blame for a range of serious health and well-being issues observed amongst female gymnasts. The leotard, a vital component of this ideal body aesthetic, has received relatively little scholarly attention which we suggest reflects a wider lack of focused attention towards gymnasts’ subjective or phenomenological experiences of their bodies. In this chapter we draw from an 18-month ethnographic study of British trampoline gymnasts’ bodily experiences told through their body narratives. We draw upon Frank’s (2013) body typology to explore the moments of body-self construction, unity, and disruption as the trampoline gymnasts respond to action problems in various social contexts. We illuminate moments of body-self disruption as gymnasts experience puberty and body dissatisfaction highlighting the role of the leotard in these experiences. We close by suggesting that the focus on gymnastic body problems requires more self-conscious and reflexive solutions and encourage researchers and practitioners to enable gymnasts to tell stories in an ethical endeavour to find more liveable relations with their bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen's artistic gymnastics
Subtitle of host publicationsocio-cultural perspectives
EditorsRoslyn Kerr, Natalie Barker-Ruchti, Carly Stewart, Gretchen Kerr
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003007005
ISBN (Print)9780367440015
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameWomen, Sport and Physical Activity


Dive into the research topics of 'Trampoline gymnasts’ body-self narratives of the leotard: a seamless fit?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this