I love the Olympics and honestly, I like to pretend that I could have been an Olympic athlete. It's just a bit of fun as I sit on my couch with my feet up watching other people achieve the literal and figurative heights of human physical ability. I also like to think about what it takes to train for the Olympics. So of course I watch with an eagle eye for connections between Pilates and the ways the athletes move.
Many times I can't help but think Oh if only so and so had this or that extra bit of technique from Pilates they would not have missed the gold by a millionth of a second or, they wouldn't have lost their form at the crucial split moment.
There actually are many, many Olympic athletes who use Pilates as part of their training programs. I have featured two Pilates instructors on this site who have worked extensively with Olympic athletes, Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle and Ray Kurshals; and I know of many more.
It makes sense, right? The grace, strength, flexibility; the full expression of the Pilates principles, the highly efficient movement, the body/mind/spirit connection -- all of these aspects of Pilates training are natural fits for an athletes training needs. Not only that, but Pilates, as a system dedicated to uniform muscular development is a wonderful way for athletes to counter the muscular imbalances that their sports create in their bodies .
The exciting news is that the PR people for the USOC and NBC Sports actually gave me a list of some of the top Olympic athletes who actually list Pilates as part of their training programs. I've taken that list and made a Gallery of 10 Pilates Olympic Athletes for you to enjoy. I had a blast making it. I was not only impressed with the beauty of of the athletes but also with how widely represented Pilates is in Olympic training. We have athletes from gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, weight lifting, cycling and more.
Related: Pilates and Cross Training