Dr. Gerald S. George liked gymnastics, so he started by learning a few tricks. Before he knew it, he was an All-Around performer in meets and championships competing against the best gymnasts in America. That is only the beginning of his life as an important contributor to our sport, gymnastics, and other sports involving special types of movement.
The study of gymnastics, diving, and trampoline movement became George’s life work, and he made it safer for the next thousand generations of men and women who will love the crazy movements associated with gymnastics on the floor, the bouncing mat, and the diving board.
Getting Started: Dr. George began his gymnastic competition career at Jesuit High School under Coach Fred Martinez and was Louisiana State All-Around Champion in 1960. He then became a full scholarship gymnast at Michigan State University and Captain of the gymnastics team under Head Gymnastics Coach George Szypula. He competed three years at Michigan State, and was Szypula’s top All-Around performer in 1963.
Education: He left Michigan State and finished his B.S. degree at Louisiana State University, (1966). He then matriculated to Springfield College where his interest in biomechanics blossomed, and he finished his M.S., (1967). He continued to pursue studies in kinesiology and biomechanics and completed his Ph.D. with a biomechanics major and a psychology minor, (1970).
Coaching: From 1968 – ‘70, Jerry coached Louisiana State University’s (LSU) first men’s gymnastics team to compete in the NCAA National Championships. Throughout the ‘60’s and into the ‘70’s, Dr. George wrote numerous technical articles for the Modern Gymnast magazine (Glenn Sundby) including a series entitled “A Second Look at Swing” in which he focused on swinging skills on the Horizontal Bar. The above illustration depicting his conceptual model of a “stoop-in” is classic.
From 1975 to 2006, Dr. George served as a Professor of Biomechanics and Sport Law at the University of Louisiana. During that time he received several Endowed Professorship awards for his teaching and research, including the Patrick Rutherford Endowed Professorship as well as the Red Lerille Endowed Professorship. He also traveled the world as a guest lecturer in gymnastics and diving with a focus on the biomechanics of movement. His major contributions to the sport of gymnastics were for coaching, technical publications and gymnastics safety. In addition, Dr. George has served as a liability consultant in sport safety for the past 30 years.
Honors/Awards: Dr. George has received numerous awards and honors throughout his professional career, but herein are those most closely related to his fascination for human movement and gymnastics. Recipient of the C. H. McCloy Research Award in Gymnastics (1971), Hartley Price National Honor Research Award (1972); National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches Research Award (1980); National Recognition Award for Research in Sports Biomechanics (1981); USGF Honor Award (1983); F.I.G. Outstanding Lecturer Award (1988); U.S. National Diving Safety Service Award (1989); Helms Gymnastics Hall of Fame Inductee (1990); National A.A.H.P.E.R.D. Presidential Citation Safety Award (1992), National American Spirit Award for Cheerleading Safety, (1996) and USAG Hall of Fame Inductee (1996); LSU Alumni "Hall of Distinction" Inductee (2011), and World Acrobatics Society "Gallery of Legends" Inductee (2011).
Publications: Dr. George has been a prolific writer and researcher. He has served as author, contributor, and/or Senior Editor to over 10 textbooks and 120 article publications. The most notable of his works include Biomechanics of Women’s Gymnastics (Author), both USGF Gymnastics Safety Manuals (Senior Editor and Project Director), The Magic of Gymnastics (Editor and Project Director), The Art and Science of Judging Men’s Gymnastics (contributing author) the USA Gymnastic Safety Handbook (contributor), The Advanced Study of Gymnastics (contributing author), Rookie Coaches Gymnastics Guide (contributor), all three AACCA Cheerleading Safety Manuals (Senior Editor and Project Director), The Biomechanics of Competitive Diving (contributing author), and the USA Dive Safe Manual (contributor).
Professional Organizations and Activities: Dr. Gerald George belongs to and/or has served in various capacities including Chairperson in at least 17 professional groups. Some examples follow: U.S. representative to the General Gymnastics Committee Member of the F.I.G., Berne, Switzerland (1984-1988); Director of Education and Safety – United States Gymnastics Federation, Pan American Plaza, Indianapolis, IN (1985-1991); Co-Director of the Safety Consortium – American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, Memphis, TN (1990 – present), Biomechanics and Safety Consultant - U.S. Diving, Inc., Pan American Plaza, Indianapolis, IN (1998-Present) and Member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)’s Sports Equipment and Technology Committee, Philadelphia, PA (1984 – Present).
Family: (m) Janet Noyes. Children: Tasha, an English professor at a local university in Jacksonville, FL, James, an Emergency Medicine Physician at a local hospital in Lafayette, LA, Michael, a Medical Physician currently finishing an ophthalmologic residency in Louisville. KY, Karen, a 4th year medical student at the LSU Health Science Center with an interest in pursuing a psychiatry residency and Lauren, a Summa Cum Laude graduate in English from the University of Louisiana who is currently teaching in Spain.