The February 2022 issue of Inside Gymnastics magazine celebrates our 50 Most Artistic, Class of 2022!

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50 Most Artistic, Class of 2022

Gymnastics combines aesthetic beauty with awe-inspiring skills, undisputed power, strength beyond measure, and mastery of control. It’s a truly unique sport that invites the highest levels of perfection in form and execution while demonstrating unparalleled acrobatics, artistry-in-motion in milliseconds and the celebration of the ultimate stuck landing. These are athletes making incredible strides to reach their goals who draw us in beyond their skills with captivating personalities and determination. All demonstrate the ultimate in inspiration and motivation, training and competing at the very highest level of their sport, and surpassing human limits.    

As we celebrate Tokyo and look ahead to Paris in 2024, and at so many of the names that provided such incredible headlines, our team at Inside Gymnastics assembled a list of those athletes we feel best exemplify these special qualities in our 50 Most Artistic feature, Class of 2022. They have truly left us with indelible impressions to last a lifetime.

Heath Thorpe: Putting the Art in Artistic Gymnastics – Preview!

When looking for examples of fully extended leaps, perfectly pointed toes, and stunning flexibility, a male gymnast likely wouldn’t be the first person to come to mind. The reason is rather simple: men’s gymnastics is typically associated with strength, power and big skills, while expectations for beauty and grace have long been reserved for the women. Heath Thorpe, a Senior International Elite from Australia, wants to change that.

Inside Gymnastics: You have the most stunning lines and beautiful flexibility! You stand out because you make your gymnastics about so much more than just power and big skills. How much time do you spend in the gym focusing on artistry? 

Heath Thorpe: So much, especially these days. I probably do 30 minutes of artistry and flexibility work to start my sessions now. It used to be something I just played around with when I wasn’t training but now it’s a focus in my training regimen. It’s at the forefront of my gymnastics. I work so much on my active flexibility and I do a lot of ballet work. I work on my leaps individually and set aside time in my training for that. 

Inside Gymnastics: What has the reaction been from other gymnasts and coaches to the artistic side you’re trying to bring to the sport? 

Heath Thorpe: For the most part it’s been positive, especially recently. When I first started doing these things I think it was a little bit like, ‘Oh this is new, I don’t know how to react to this.’ But as I’ve kept doing it I think people are like, ‘This is really cool stuff. This is hard. This is great.’ My teammates would try a leap and be like, ‘Oh my gosh this is really difficult.’ And I’m like, ‘I know, that’s why I’m doing it.’ [laughs] It’s been mixed. In Australia they are less receptive to my artistry, we do have a little bit of a macho environment, but when I was in Europe it was so well received and everyone loved it. I really felt that and it gave me confidence to do things how I want to do it going into this next year and the rest of my career.

Plus!

Flashback with Laurie Hernandez!

Calling All Campers! Start planning summer now with our Summer Camp Directory!

+ All of our regular features including:

  • Chalking Up: NCAA Numbers to Know + Grace McCallum
  • Breaking Down the Code – Ashikawa Urara (JPN)
  • Shannon Says with Shannon Miller
  • In the Know with John Roethlisberger
  • Inside Buzz
  • Final Dismount – Uchimura Kohei (JPN)
  • & More!!!

Photos by Ricardo Bufolin for Inside Gymnastics

Heath Thorpe photo by Lauren Grigg

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