11 Times Famous Gymnasts Appeared In Pop Culture

Laurie Hernandez Dancing with the Stars

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After putting in the hard work to become gymnastics stars, many famous gymnasts have enjoyed their fame and landed roles in movies and TV shows and made other fun guest appearances in various aspects of pop culture. 

Throughout the years there have been so many surprise appearances, it is hard to keep track of them all. 

Here are a few times a famous gymnast has appeared somewhere outside of the gymnastics world. Tell us in the comments if we missed any!

1. Laurie Hernandez - “Ninja Warrior” Course


Laurie Hernandez tried out the “America Ninja Warrior Junior” obstacle course in 2018. Of course with her crazy gymnastics skills, she was super successful! She finished it and you can see her using her mental toughness and coachability to finish the course. She even made history climbing up the 13-foot wall at the end and getting it on her first try.

2. Multiple Gymnasts - “Dancing With The Stars”


Many gymnasts have been contestants on the popular TV show DWTS, including Shawn Johnson, Laurie Hernandez, Nastia Liukin, Aly Raismen, Simone Biles, and Mary Lou Retton. On the show, these gymnasts displayed their elegance and grace in a different way than they did on the gymnastics arena. Hernandez and Johnson even added a Mirror Ball to their trophy cases.

Gabby Douglas also made an appearance on DWTS in 2013, but not as a contestant, as a judge!


3. Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson - “Stick It”


Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson both had cameos in the gymnastics movie “Stick It.” Liukin actually had a part where she did gymnastics, showing off a bar routine and playing a gymnast in the competition. Patterson played herself in the movie, acting as if she had attended the competition and was signing autographs after the meet.

4. Aly Raisman - Aerie


A little different than a TV show or movie appearance, Aly Raismen signed a deal with Aerie to be an #AerieReal role model. She began modeling for them and eventually created her own line of activewear. She often speaks up about loving your body and being active, and recently participated in a modeling shoot with Aerie supporting the Special Olympics.

5. Shawn Johnson and McKayla Maroney - Miss America Judges


Two Olympic gymnasts have been judges of the Miss America Pageant. Shawn Johnson joined the judges panel in 2010 and 2015, while McKayla Maroney was a member of the panel in 2013.

6. UCLA Gymnasts - “Make It or Break It”


Multiple former UCLA gymnasts worked on the show “Make It or Break It,” which aired on ABC Family and was about the world of competitive gymnastics. A few former UCLA gymnasts were stunt doubles, including Natalie Padilla, Ariana Berlin, Heidi Moneymaker, and Jordan Schwikert. Tasha Schwikert was cast as a gymnast on the show and can often be seen in the background.

7. Carly Patterson - “Celebrity Duets”


After her gymnastics career was over, Carly Patterson had a five-year singing career, releasing an album and going on the show “Celebrity Duets” in 2006. “Celebrity Duets” was a competition show where famous singers were paired with celebrities not known for singing. Patterson was finally voted off after being paired with Jesse McCartney. One of her songs was also featured on “Make It or Break It.”

8. McKayla Maroney - Acting Career


Like Patterson, after her gymnastics career, McKayla Maroney chased another dream, but instead of going into singing, Maroney began an acting career. She was cast in a few different projects but is best known for her time in the shows “Bones” and “Hart of Dixie.” 

9. Laurie Hernandez - “Stuck in the Middle”


Although she did not go into acting as a career, Laurie Hernandez had a fun guest spot in the Disney show “Stuck in the Middle.” During the guest spot she played herself and loved being in the role because the show is about the lives of Latinx teens in the United States. As a Latinx gymnast, Hernandez has said this role meant a lot to her.

10. Mary Lou Retton - Wheaties Box


In 1984, Mary Lou Retton was the first female athlete to be featured on the front of the Wheaties box, which was a big honor. After 26 years of male athletes being shown, Mary Lou Retton broke barriers with this appearance. Since her feature, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin have also appeared on Wheaties boxes.

11. Multiple Gymnasts - “Full Out”


Alicia Sacramone, Sam Peszek, and Jordyn Wieber appeared in the gymnastics movie “Full Out,” which came out in 2016. Although they had small roles (“gymnasts 1, 2, and 3”) in the film, their cameo is fun to see in this Netflix movie.

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By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

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