Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

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Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

#SaveLindenwoodGymnastics: teams around the country wear golden ribbons to support the program

Sydney+Lopez+and+Gayla+Griswold+wearing+gold+ribbons+to+%23savelindenwoodgymnastics
Photo by Kayla Reingold
Sydney Lopez and Gayla Griswold wearing gold ribbons to #savelindenwoodgymnastics

When they learned that their program was getting cut after concluding their 2024 season, the Lindenwood gymnastics team decided to not give up.

The team created the hashtag #SaveLindenwoodGymnastics to spread the word on social media. They started including golden ribbons in their hairstyles during every athletic meet they had, encouraging supporters of the program to do the same.

“Each gold bow represents the past, present, and what could have been of the LU gymnastics program,” Lindenwood gymnast Elli Brownfield said.

Gymnastics teams around the country joined this initiative and posted their pictures and videos wearing golden ribbons on Instagram and TikTok.

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“As a college athlete, I think it is so important to support our fellow gymnastics teams,” Boise State gymnast Emily Lopez said. “Being able to compete against other teams with the same drive and dedication towards our sport is really something special.”

Amongst the programs that joined the initiative and wore golden ribbons are the University of Pittsburg, Auburn University, Missouri State University, Boise State, Simpson College, Ball State University, and SUNY Cortland.

“Simpson as a team stands behind Lindenwood, even though we’re on different teams we are all doing the sport we grew up loving.” Simpson College gymnast Annika Cole said.

“It’s really motivating and exciting to be around other athletes who love the sport as much as you do. Taking this gymnastics program away from these girls would be heartbreaking for them and the entire gymnastics community,” Lopez said. “They have proven time and time again that they are worth saving and deserve to continue doing the sport they love.”

A website called “Save Lindenwood Gymnastics” was also created to encourage pledges for the cause, and over $450,000 was pledged by more than 325 parties.

“The love of the Lord has poured through St. Charles to love on our team in such a beautiful way.” Lindenwood gymnast Kaylee Cooper said. “And the love does not end there, I have felt so loved by teams all over the U.S. supporting our team by wearing gold bows. This has brought an incredible amount of support to our team. Personally, it has made me feel seen, loved, and cared for. What a gift.”

The support that the team has received is relative to how shocking the news of the program getting cut was for the Lindenwood community as well as the Gymnastics community, considering that the program had been successful over the past few years.

“Their improvements and record-breaking scores this season have not been unnoticed, and it would be very disappointing to stop their progress now,” Lopez said. “We want to give our support and encouragement to the athletes, coaches, trainers, and all the people who work so hard to make this team amazing! #savelindenwoodgymnastics”

Lindenwood students have been encouraging the community to support the program as well, posting about the team’s meets dates and times for people to show up and give their support to the Lady Lions.

“Knowing that not only the Lindenwood community is supportive, but the entire NCAA gymnastics world is here to support us is truly incredible,” Lindenwood gymnast Sydney Lopez said. “The gymnastics world is so much more than a sport, it is a sisterhood, and we are so thankful for each and every person walking this journey with us.”

Despite the efforts of the athletes and the Lindenwood community, the program will still be cut when the 2024 season is over.

“Lindenwood indicated in the announcement on Dec. 1st that donor support would not impact the final decision,” Lindenwood Assistant Vice President of Communications Julee Mitsler said. “The University position has not changed.”

The “SaveLindenwoodGymnastics” website now displays “We gave it our best” since the team realized that their journey had come to an end.

“By having other teams wear gold bows in support of our team, it shows that Lindenwood Gymnastics is bigger than just this university. Every person that wears this understands how special and important this program is to the nation,” Brownfield said. “With gymnastics being such a small community and population, a loss to one is a loss to all. They understand the years of hard work and dedication that have been put forth to earn the title of a Lindenwood gymnast. The full impact of our program has never been fully shown until now and I think it’s safe to say we have left our mark.”

The athletes are asking donors to redirect their funds to local gymnasts or gyms in need. The “SaveLindenwoodGymnastics” website displays: “Pay their bill, competition dues, etc. Be their biggest fan and ensure that gymnast(s) can pursue the dreams our Lions have been able to.”

Lindenwood’s athletic director Jason Coomer did not speak about the initiative. However, “The University respects the team’s right to advocate for their program.” Mitsler said.

The university stated that they were not taking any action against the athletes for trying to save the program. “We are committed to supporting our student-athletes through this season and appreciate the show of support from other programs,” Mitsler said.

What stands out from the team’s Instagram account is the phrase “OUR LEGACY”. The lady Lions want to leave their footprint after 11 years of the program’s hard work.

Lindenwood gymnastics program started their journey in 2013 and they are part of the Midwest Independent Conference.

“It’s disappointing to see a relatively new program get cut just when they were starting to excel,” Cole said. “Gymnastics in the NCAA is already limited, and we would rather see teams flourish rather than see them get taken away.”

6 conference championships, 4 national titles, and an ongoing sisterhood that has been present for more than 10 years are things that the program will always take with them and keep in their hearts, even if their journey was cut short.

“The Lindenwood Legacy has made such an incredible impact on so many people,” Lopez said. ”Not only are other collegiate gymnastics teams supporting us, but other sports teams are, as well as gymnastics club teams which is so kind and such an awesome feeling.”

 

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Catalina Corredor, Reporter
Catalina Corredor is a photographer and a reporter for Lindenlink. She is a senior double majoring in Cinema Arts as well as Mass Communication with an emphasis in Media Arts and Production at Lindenwood. She is an international student from Colombia and is involved on-campus with Sigma Sigma Sigma, Synergy Dance Association, and Lindenwood Cinema Arts Association.
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