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Raising The Minimum Age to 18 In Senior Elite Women’s Gymnastics with Chellsie Memmel & Kyle Shewfelt

In today’s episode of The SHIFT Show, I am joined by gymnastics legends Chellsie Memmel, and Kyle Shewfelt.

The 2005 World All-Around Champion and Beijing Olympic Team member Chellsie made an inspiring comeback to gymnastics in her thirties and is now U.S. National Team Coach.

Kyle was the first ever Canadian gymnast to win gold at the Olympics, now coach he is at the forefront of trying to make positive change in our sports culture.

Together we had an insightful conversation about the idea of raising the minimum age for senior elite women’s gymnastics to 18. 

The discussion highlighted the need for cultural change in the sport and the importance of promoting longevity and later peaking-based training.

We touched on various aspects of the issue, including training hours, early specialization, and the benefits of training in multiple sports, then gave our recommendations and thoughts for coaches around this topic, as well as the potential impact of raising the senior age to 18.

The conversation was not prescriptive but instead opened up a dialogue about what the sport should look like to promote the health and well-being of gymnasts at every level. 

Chellsie and Kyle both emphasized the need for a positive cultural narrative that celebrates the strength and power of women in the sport, regardless of their age or level of competition.

We discuss:

  • Chellsie Memmel & Kyle Shewfelt thoughts on raising the age limit to 18 in Senior Elite Women’s Gymnastics.
  • The pros and cons of changing the age limit.
  • The branding issue of gymnastics. 
  • Junior Worlds.
  • At what age should a child specialize in one sport?
  • How to give athletes autonomy in gymnastics.
  • The importance of taking offseasons. 
  • What do you do with 20 hours per week? 
  • The overarching goal for gymnastics. 
  • Chellsie & Kyle’s suggestions for making positive change in our sports culture. And… 
  • How will this affect College gymnastics?


Raising The Minimum Age to 18 In Senior Elite Women’s Gymnastics with Chellsie Memmel & Kyle Shewfelt




Hope it helps!

– Dave

Dr. Dave Tilley DPT, SCS, CSCS
CEO/Founder of SHIFT Movement Science