“The Parkettes organization provides the finest in gymnastics training to over 1200 local children that participate to have fun while developing physical fitness, coordination, strength and flexibility.” – Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center Mission (public website)
What the Parkettes’ Gymnastic Club of Allentown, Pennsylvania does not boast. It is an intense program run to push young athletes into high performance competition at all cost. Young children from age two are tested physically for multiple hours per day, cut with disregard of age and mental capacity, and emotionally abused. Some successful athletes are pulled from their homes in the USA to move and live near the training center, leaving family, friends and their education at young ages.
Children in this competitive environment are deprived of socialisation opportunities, affection, education and, in extreme cases, food. Parents are also to blame, as they see nothing but an end goal of a ‘star child,’ far beyond their physically underdeveloped, injured, and socially inept children. The Parkettes will stop at nothing to push the attitude that “history remembers the winners” on young children, regardless of whether they are abused and corrupted. There is no sacrifice they aren’t willing to make to win. They will win at all costs.