The Gymnast is a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit - the dedication, tenacity and determination of every individual in the pursuit of excellence. The 26-foot high heroic bronze monument, Flair Across America, is the creation of sculptor Richard MacDonald. It resides permanently at Georgia International Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia.

While its message is universal, Flair Across America also embodies the Olympic credo stated by the father of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, "The essence lies not in the victory, but in the struggle."

Like the ring upon which it balances, Flair Across America represents the completion of a circle, arriving where it first began. The monument's origins go back decades, to another Olympics and to a time when Richard MacDonald was an illustrator and painter in Atlanta.

Commissioned by the Olympics to produce paintings for the 1984 Games, MacDonald first painted The Gymnast in 1983. As part of his study, he sculpted a maquette to better understand the movement and anatomy that he needed to translate into his paintings. The Gymnast was then put aside without any further plans for its development.

In 1994 as the city of Atlanta was preparing for the 1996 Summer Olympics, The Gymnast re-emerged when MacDonald was asked to consider sculpting a 50-foot bronze monument with Olympic rings for Atlanta's Olympic Centennial Park. By Spring 1995, no final decision had been made on the monument. MacDonald decided to independently undertake the creation of Flair Across America : The Gymnast in a single ring at a height of 26 feet, to celebrate the 1996 Olympic Games.

In Summer 1996, Flair Across America : The Gymnast left MacDonald's California studio and embarked on a cross-country tour to its final home in Atlanta. Along the way, Flair Across America : The Gymnast was greeted with celebrations in many cities where the tour stopped, helping to raise funds for young gymnasts throughout the United States.

  • Title: Flair Across America
  • Description: A 26-foot high heroic bronze monument portraying an Olympic gymnast performing a twirling scissorlike movement called "The Flair"
  • Symbolism: The sculpture celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, and reflects the credo of the Games, that the essence lies not in the victory, but in the struggle. The monument pays tribute to the dedication, desire and determination of the athletes - and of all people - in the pursuit of excellence. The circle, representing perfection, symbolizes the world itself and the unity of humankind. By depicting the athlete with circle firmly in hand, the artist has given symbolic voice to the hope that world harmony is ultimately within humanity's grasp.
  • Dimensions: 26' high; 15'6" wide

The tradition of art and sport date back to the ancient Olympiads. Athletes were immortalized in sculpture. The ancient Greeks believed in the harmony of the intellect, body and spirit, all acting as one to achieve the fullest potential of the individual. This monument, which I titled "Flair Across America," has all of that. - Richard MacDonald, Sculptor