A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The docuseries highlights the talent, hard work, and commitment required to become a champion gymnast. It also underscores the love and passion successful gymnasts have for the sport.
Positive Role Models
It showcases some of the most talented women who have successfully competed in gymnastics over the past 50+ years, despite having to face multiple obstacles. Gymnasts are from different countries, races, and ethnic backgrounds. It also points to some of the coaches who have been accused and convicted of abusing gymnasts, as well as those who have been banned from the sport for inappropriate behaviors.
Violence & Scariness
Gymnasts are shown falling and getting hurt. Life threatening and career-ending injuries are discussed. One episode, which is available on YouTube Premium, discusses the history of physical and sexual abuse in gymnastics, but does not detail the acts themselves.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are references to gymnasts' bodies changing as they get older, but this is not offered in a sexual context.
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Words like "piss" and "damn" are occasionally used.
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Products & Purchases
Logos for Nike, Under Amor, Janssen Fritsen, and other sport sponsors are visible on clothing and equipment. Logos for different gyms and universities are also featured.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Defying Gravity is a docuseries about women's gymnastics from the point of view of some of the sport's greatest champions. There's some occasional strong words ("damn," "pissed"), and there's lots of corporate logos on athletic wear and gear, including Nike, UnderAmor, and Janssen Fritsen. Athletes are shown falling, and life-changing injuries are discussed. It's an overall positive series, but one episode specifically addresses the sexual abuse scandal and other violent behaviors in the sport, but offers limited details about specific acts. Most of the series' episodes are available on YouTube, but some are only available on YouTube Premium.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.