Parents' Guide to

Defying Gravity

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Docu pays homage to female gymnastics; some heavy themes.

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This series, which was filmed prior to the cancellation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, features champion gymnasts from different countries and divisions sharing their thoughts on the sport and their participation in it. International champions like former Russian gymnast Olga Korbut, former Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, and U.S. champions like Ally Raiseman and Laurie Hernandez, offer their unique perspectives about what being an elite gymnast is like, and the highs and lows associated with it. It also features collegiate champions like Katelyn Ohashi, who chose college sports over an Olympic career, and up-and-coming Olympic hopefuls like Morgan Hurd, as she prepares to compete for a spot on the Olympic team.

One specific episode of the series addresses the systemic and pervasive verbal and sexual abuse in the sport, which has been allowed to persist for over half a century, and which has only recently finally been confronted. These details are disturbing, but it also highlights the level of courage and strength these athletes have had to compete within the backdrop of these horrors. But most of Defying Gravity focuses on the positive aspects of the sport, and underscores the intense passion these women have for it. If you're a gymnastics fan, no doubt you will enjoy what this docuseries has to offer.

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