Every four years, a gymnastics spectacle captures the world’s attention, and it’s not the Olympics. The World Gymnaestrada will be held in Helsinki, Finland, this July and is expecting over 21,000 participants from 50 countries. This non-competitive gymnastics event is a celebration of the universal appeal of and participation in every kind of gymnastics at every level of mastery and at every age level. Potentially the most exciting performances to watch are the mass routines. Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of gymnasts of all ages perform in these choreographed displays of athleticism and culture. In these routines, gymnasts from all over the world have the opportunity to display not only their gymnastics skills, but to introduce their culture to the rest of the world. Since focus is not on winning medals, participants are more focused on taking in all the event has to offer, including getting to know other participants. And because the event is not limited to elite athletes, young and old, experienced and beginner gymnasts have the unique opportunity to make Olympic-style connections.
This particular iteration of the World Gymnaestrada will be the first time the event has ever been held in Finland. To mark the occasion, the Finnish organizers have arranged the “Midnight Sun Special,” a performance in Olympic Stadium to introduce participants and spectators to the “nightless night” in Finland. It’s definitely a first for the World Gymnaestrada!
If you think gymnastics can’t be exciting without competition, you’ve never seen the Gymnaestrada. The ‘net is full of videos from previous Gymnaestradas, so take a look! And get ready for a global gymnastics performance that will leave you with a greater appreciation for the grace and agility of the human body!