Creating the legacy

Marcus Barkley

Ron and Joan Ganim began gymnastics career 23 years ago

It is often said that the greatest legacies come from the most humble beginnings. In the case of Ron and Joan Ganim, their legacy in the world of gymnastics began out of a need to pay the bills and support their family.

In 1973 the Ganims both had teaching careers at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School. But after Joan took a maternity leave to have the couple’s first child and then became pregnant again, she was told by the school, in writing, mothers of two children belong at home.

Left to support two children on a $10,000 income, the Ganims had to do something. That something was an athletic complex that would shape countless gymnasts.

“Gymnastics World opened in 1975,” Ron Ganim said. “There were only three private gymnastics schools in the state at the time, so we just opened with a hope and a prayer and it grew from there.”

Ron said that Gymnastics World, which is located in Broadview Heights, was built upon a foundation of family. This family concept can be witnessed in the views of the gymnasts who trained under the Ganims.

“I was with the Ganims since I was eight,” freshman Christina Lenny said. “I grew up with them – the Ganims are my second parents.”

Aside from training gymnasts at their complex for the past 33 years, the Ganims have also coached the Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School team to seven state titles in nine years, including five straight from 2004 to the present. During the five year span, The Bees win-loss record was at 361-0.

Senior Jennifer Biondo credits the Ganims with her many successes – both in gymnastics and in life.

“I talked to the Ganims all the time about Kent State and they said it was a wonderful school, so I was really excited to come here,” Biondo said. “They’re like family to me – I love them.”

Ron said he always tries to convince his gymnasts to look at Kent State first when selecting a college.

“If we could dictate to our seniors where to go to college, we would tell them all to go to Kent State.”

Contact gymnastics reporter Marcus Barkley at [email protected].