I was given the opportunity to volunteer with two of the area Special Olympics gymnastics teams this spring. Both teams had gymnasts who were deaf.
It was interesting to see how much hearing loss can exclude a person. Oftentimes gymnasts who were deaf were unsure as of what they were supposed to do because the coaches weren’t fluent in sign language. I actually ended up interpreting for them at times (a deaf person interpreting for another deaf person, ironic, eh?). You could see they weren’t confident because they didn’t always know what was going on. It’s amazing the difference that communication makes.
Anyways, it was such a good experience. I was disappointed that the local gymnastics teams had such a short season (2-3 months). Both gymnastics teams did an amazing job for only being able to practice a couple of months. Practices were only an hour a week which isn’t very long considering 4 routines must be learned, conditioning, and warm-up must all occur in that short period of time.
I’m kind of disappointed these gymnasts don’t have the opportunity to train year around. So many of them have the potential to go far.