Stephen Martin, Chief Executive Olympic Council of Ireland attended the re-launch of Gymnastics Ireland. Martin was joined by fellow Olympic Medallist,John Treacy, ISC Chief Executive and current Gymnastic star Loius Smith to help promote the sport and Gymnastics Ireland’s brand transformation that included the launch of a new webstie, www.gymnasticsireland.com , Facebook Page (Gymnastics Ireland) and Twitter account @gymnasticsire .
Beijing Olympic medallist Louis Smith and a number of Ireland’s elite gymnasts including Irish Men’s star, Luke Carson, leading female gymnast, Emma Lunn and Irish Rhythmic athlete, Aishling McGovern. Smith also coached a group of young Irish 2016 Olympic hopefuls on the morning of the launch.
“I know Luke (Carson) very well from the international circuit and we have trained together for years, so I have been aware of what Gymnastics Ireland are trying to do with the sport” Smith said. “Their results have been constantly improving and Kieran Behan’s World Cup medal (recently?) was a great achievement.”
“It’s really exciting to see what Gymnastics Ireland are doing with the new brand because I believe the best way to promote our sport is by making it cool and edgy. I worked with some young Irish gymnasts this morning that are aiming for 2016 and there is some real talent here. However, it’s not just a matter of having the right structures in place for these athletes, but also for Gymnastics Ireland to continue being progressive and appealing to a new audience. The way they have embraced social media and positioned their communications and brand is really impressive and I wish them the best of luck.”
Ciaran Gallagher, Gymnastics Ireland Chief Executive Officer, is thrilled with the new initiative and believes Louis was the perfect person to help the re-launch.
“We are delighted that Louis could be here today to help us launch the new Gymnastics Ireland brand. He is the ideal individual as he is not only one of the best gymnasts in the world, but he is also a great personality and really conveys what Gymnastics Ireland is now all about.”
“Gymnastics Ireland is the governing body for a sport that has enjoyed rapid growth over the past number of years. Participation levels have increased from 6000 in 2007 to almost 12,000 now. This rate of increase looks set to continue and our activity today will hopefully increase this even further,” Gallagher added.
Gallagher believes there is a misconception in Ireland about gymnastics, where it is viewed and referred to as a ‘minority’ sport.
“Gymnastics is one of the biggest sports in the world, one of the oldest Olympic sports and achieves some of the highest viewing figures for sports events on the planet. In Germany, for example, male gymnastics is the second most popular sport after football. Gymnastics is a sport for everyone and is the foundation for other sports like rugby, soccer and GAA, as strength, balance, agility and spatial awareness are all key gymnastic elements essential to the development of the all-round sports person” the Gymnastics Ireland CEO added.
In terms of Ireland’s top gymnasts and next year’s Olympics in London, it is doubtful that Ireland will have a representative at the games, but Gallagher sees it as a more long term initiative.
“With the structures we have now put in place our primary aim is 2016 and beyond.”