I’m a New Zealand-based sports scholar focused on governance, gender, and gymnastics. My work has traversed issues of abuse and athlete rights in gymnastics, to the relationships between international federations and the IOC, to how the politics of the Cold War affected sport.
As a former international gymnast, my research has focused on the culture and the history of women’s gymnastics. Based on nearly a decade of research, my book, Degrees of Difficulty: How Women’s Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell From Grace, has been published by the University of Illinois Press and will be available in June 2021 (and you can pre-order your copy now).
I’m passionate about turning this knowledge into actionable change for gymnastics. In August, 2020, I initiated with my fellow gymnastics researchers a statement based on our research. The “Eight actions to protect gymnasts from abuse,” advises organisations what they can do to address the culture of harm in gymnastics.
I’ve also worked closely with media to help spread these messages, and my research and commentary has contributed to articles in the New York Times, the Guardian and several radio shows and podcasts. You can find more details of these – and have a listen – on the media page. The podcasts are a great place to start if you want to understand more about the culture of gymnastics.
I’ve also published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on gymnastics and women’s leadership in sport. I’ve collaborated closely with other researchers to develop best practice recommendations for coaches and national governing bodies to create a more positive training environment for gymnasts. And my 2020 co-edited book Histories of Women’s Work in Global Sport: A Man’s World? was shortlisted for best anthology at the North American Society for Sport History. You can see the details of these works on the publications page.
Starting in late 2021, I will lead a three-year European Union funded project called “Engendered Sport” that will investigate how international sports federations and participants together create, enforce, and dismantle gender within their sports. This Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions fellowship will be hosted by Örebro University.
Until then, I remain an honorary research fellow affiliated with the University of Western Australia.
If you’d like to get in touch about socio-cultural-historical issues in gymnastics, the history of women’s sport or Cold War sport, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.