Gigi’s Story

Gigi Pisano: The story of one Gymnast at the Darien YMCA

Many people dream of standing atop an Olympic podium, gold medal in hand. Few people put in the hard work, long hours, and training to achieve that dream. Guiliana “Gigi” Pisano is one of those people. The 11-year-old Connecticut native is a member of our Darien YMCA and an active, award-winning member of the Y’s competitive travel gymnastics team.

According to Gigi’s mother, Kate Pisano, Gigi had always been athletic. In first grade, Gigi took a gymnastics class. She enjoyed it but did not continue with the sport any further. In 2020, as the whole world shut down due to the pandemic, Gigi’s world grew exponentially when her mother enrolled her and her younger sister in the Darien YMCA summer gymnastics camp.

“I just happened to be talking to a couple of local moms that were like, ‘Darien Y gymnastics is amazing,’” Pisano said. “So that's why we were like, ‘let's give it [Darien YMCA] a shot.’”

Gigi immediately found fulfillment at camp and connected with the Y coaches and fellow campers. Before long, Gigi was invited to try out for the Darien YMCA House Team, a program designed to develop a more advanced skill base emphasizing strength building, conditioning and flexibility.

After a year on the Darien YMCA house team, Gigi was extended another invitation, to be evaluated for the storied and very competitive Darien YMCA Travel Team. The Darien Y’s Travel Team is a three-time Championship team that traditionally places in the top three overall at the Women’s YMCA National Championships. Former members of the Travel Team have gone on to compete in collegiate NCAA Division I and III schools and have even gone on to win All-American.

Gigi immediately rose to the challenge and was accepted to the Travel Team. These days, Gigi can be found in the gym five days a week, perfecting and honing her skills with her amazing coaches. She is on the road, traveling to about 10 YMCA and USAG competitions per year, not including regionals or nationals.

“Gigi feels that her coaches are very experienced and that they continuously challenge them to do their best in learning and practicing,” Pisano said.

In June of 2023, Gigi’s hard work paid off when she took home a first-place medal at the YMCA National Championships in Cincinnati.

“She was definitely proud of herself,” Pisano said of Gigi’s reaction to her win.

Gigi’s commitment to the Y Travel Team has also permeated into other parts of her life, taking with her the drive and focus from the mat to the classroom.

“Having the commitment that she has at gymnastics is also carrying over into her school work,” Pisano said. “She’s thriving.”

Gigi’s future plans won’t dismount from her gymnastic dreams anytime yet. She continues to train with the Darien YMCA Travel Team, in hopes to stick the ultimate landing of competing at the Olympics someday.

But until then, Gigi will be at the Darien Y, her second home, laughing, learning, and growing as a gymnast and a person.

Gigi Pisano Darien YMCA Gymnast dismount
Gigi Pisano Darien YMCA Gymnast on floor
Gigi Pisano Darien YMCA Gymnast floor pose