Gina Pongetti is a medical professional and one of the world’s foremost experts on athlete health and wellness. She is the owner of MedGym, LLC and Achieve Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute in the Chicago area. A former gymnast and Ironman triathlete, Gina is an effective communicator who provides clear and concise explanations of complex topics.


Major injuries at the Trials,  (like Achilles tendon ruptures),  ended the 2024 Olympic dreams of several top athletes who were favored to make the Olympic Team. Why is this type of injury happening? Gymnastics is a dangerous sport at the elite level so when your teammates suffer severe injuries at a competition like the Olympic Trials, what impact does this have on an athlete’s stress and anxiety level?

Gymnasts turned in some spectacular performances that showcased big tumbling, fast skills and tons of talent, but talent can only take an athlete so far.  How did these athletes get here? What are the other components that contribute to world-class success?

The Olympics are physically challenging in the four-year cycle leading up to the games along with making one’s national team and then, the Olympic Trials. If a gymnast is fortunate enough to qualify for the Games there are a host of challenges they must contend with such as surviving  the grueling schedule of practice gyms, podium training, qualifying rounds, team finals, individual AA and event finals. How do the athletes stay in peak condition throughout? Is it truly a survival of the fittest-mentally and physically?


Six things to watch at the Paris Olympics:

How Old is Too Old?
More athletes than ever in several sports are competing in multiple Olympic Games, maintaining their elite training against younger competitors.  How are they able to accomplish this? What are the advantages of continuing through two or even three  Olympic cycles? On the contrary, how does youth give one an advantage or disadvantage?

How Hot is Too hot?
In an effort to produce a sustainable games with a small carbon footprint,  Paris organizers are providing traditional air conditioning in the athlete’s village.  Instead, a  geothermal system of cooling pipes underneath the floors will be used to cool  the rooms. Countries like the USA, Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada and Britain plan to bring their own portable units to cool their athletes’ rooms.
The temperature of sleep has a direct effect on recovery, rest,  metabolic rate, REM cycles and more. How does this directly affect performance – i.e. next day, an accumulation  over weeks of dysregulation? Do perfect – or at least ideal –  conditions exist for sleep with regard to both humidity and temperature?

Skill performances are pushing limits
Gymnastics is judged on a two-part scoring system: the D score (difficulty value) and the E score (execution, or performance). The mix is what elevates the score to medal-winning numbers. If someone tries harder skills but executes them poorly, the risk-reward continuum is challenged. 
How can sports and their governing associations ensure the thrill while  keeping athlete safety in line? How has the elevated difficulty factor affected the development of sport and audience appreciation?

Healthier and happier
Many NGBs (National Governing Bodies) of countries have gone through major overhauls regarding balancing the priority of safety – mental and physical, wellness –  and athlete autonomy.  In June, U.S. gymnasts (and coaches) were offered the comfort of  therapy dogs at the Olympic Trials to reduce stress. Will we see athletes who are overall healthier coming into the Games? Will they be able to tolerate the weeks of intense preparation, stress and competition better due to having a healthier body and mind? How do we scientifically measure and test this? Hint: there are amazing ways and some are even sport-specific!

Is this THE year for the Men’s Gymnastics Team?
The U.S. women's gymnastics team often steals the spotlight, but this year’s U.S. men’s team has a real shot to reach the podium for the first time since 2008, when they won the team bronze.  (The last gold team medal for the U.S. men was in 1984).   The men also won a team bronze at the 2023 World Championships, showing signs of great promise.  What has led to this success?  A change in training philosophy? Leadership changes? A shift in how the NCAA views the sport? (In 1969, 210 schools had NCAA men’s gymnastics programs. Today that number is 15.)  

Culture, Birthright and cross-nation qualifiers

Athletes competing with dual citizenships is nothing new,  and in 2024 many athletes, including several gymnasts, are competing for their ancestral homeland (Gina has spoken to many of these athletes.) It is a special experience for an athlete to not only represent one’s self at the Games but a family legacy.  The Olympics have always been a place where ‘the world comes together.” In an increasingly-divided world, these determined athletes bridge the gap.

Trends in Athletic Performance 


Today’s Olympians have a greater say in their training, health and wellness than ever before.  Over the past few years, athletes have used their voices to advocate for themselves.   How has the coach-athlete relationship changed? Who is calling the shots? Has the pendulum swung the other way to favor athletes? How are coaches and sports administrators navigating these changes?

Gina is one of the most respected physical therapists and sports medicine professionals with an international client list.  She is a useful resource when explaining an injury, risk of competing, and the course of recovery. Examples: Injury diagnosis, length of time for an elite athlete in their specific sport to return safely at the highest level, how an injury may affect performance, activities and commitment that went into the return process, layman’s explanation for injuries/surgeries an athlete may have had or needs to have.

Need help telling an Amânar from a Tsukahara? Gina can break down and explain gymnastics jargon. She can speak about why certain skills get named for posterity’s sake  (e.g. The Biles) and become part of the rule book.

In a time of record-breaking performances for women, Gina can speak to myriad factors: age, post-childbirth, hormone changes as women age, unique issues between women and men.

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