a few of my
ducing it on a shoestring budget from a desk in
the corner of my bedroom. It was pretty tough
going for the first few issues, and I had to borrow
money to produce the second issue, but the 1993
world championships were to be held in Birmingham, England, which was a great opportunity for
me. I was very lucky to be so well supported by
British advertisers, one of whom allowed me to
sell my magazine from their merchandising stall,
and my subscription base took off.
Gym Stars was my life for the next eight years,
and I will always be grateful to everyone who supported me: the British Gymnastics Association;
the International Gymnastics Federation; several
advertisers; and of course the wonderful subscribers, many of whom I met. I traveled to gymnastics events all over the world and met many
gym fans like myself. I was also lucky enough to
meet my childhood idol, Nadia Comaneci, and
interview her for the magazine, as well as many
other top name gymnasts from the era.
I even took up adult gymnastic classes for a
while, but at the age of 30 I lacked the bravado I
once had as a teenager. Suddenly, the beam was
terrifying—I could only manage walkovers on a
low beam. Fear, or the lack of it, plays such a
huge part in this sport.
By 2001, however, I was feeling tired of running the business on my own, and I knew I was
never going to make my fortune from what was
essentially a labor of love. When I was offered a
“proper” job that I couldn’t refuse, I made the
soul-wrenching decision to close the magazine. It
was time to move on in my life.
I may have left gymnastics, but gymnastics
never left me. In the years since I closed Gym
Stars, I took up new opportunities of work in
Dubai and Sydney, but continued to follow the
sport. When I returned to London in 2007, I discovered that the 2009 world championships
would be held in my home city for the first time in
my life. I couldn’t resist getting involved again, and
found myself assisting the FIG with written commentary for its website. I met up with journalists,
photographers and gymnasts I hadn’t seen for several years—and it felt like I had never been away!
I’m reminded of the line from that great Eagles
track, “Hotel California”: you can check out any
time you like, but you can never leave. That is
what gymnastics feels like to me. IG
“My Story” is how readers can share their personal
gymnastics stories. Email your story (700-1,500
words), along with high resolution JPEGs, to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: My Story.