Wheel Gymnastics History


Wheel Gymnastics is a competitive sport where athletes compete in a variety of disciplines in both the double-rimmed Gym Wheel and the single-rimmed Cyr Wheel. The Gym Wheel (also known as the German Wheel or Rhonrad) was invented in 1925 by German railroad worker, Otto Feick. It was featured in the 1936 Olympics, where over 120 wheelers performed in the opening ceremonies. After WWII, there was increased popularity of the sport in Europe and abroad.

Despite having a presence in the United States for over 80 years, wheel was mostly seen on a limited basis, primarily in circus and similar entertainment shows. During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, however, a group of American athletes began to elevate the presence and aptitude of the sport in the USA by attending international training camps and competing in the World Championships. From these experiences, the foundation for the USA Wheel Gymnastics Federation (USAWGF) was formed. In the mid-2000’s, Wolfgang Bientzle, the most decorated wheel gymnast of all time, moved to Chicago and immediately starting growing Wheel Gymnastics as a sport.

About the USA Wheel Gymnastics Federation (USAWGF):
Founded in 2011, USAWGF is led by eight-time Wheel Gymnastics World Champion, Wolfgang Bientzle. USAWGF promotes both the sport and spectacle of Wheel Gymnastics, regularly hosting National Wheel Gymnastics Championships, training camps, children’s classes for ages 6 and up, and two Wheel Gymnastics World Championships in 2013 and 2015. Our staff members are certified coaches, performers, athletes, and judges from all over the world. We encourage creative growth, community service, artistic expression, bodily strength and positivity, and friendly, national and international competition, regardless of experience or fitness levels.