Wwgym, Gymworld, Challbucket, Athlete’s website message boards, GGMB - where did you first get your start? For those who don’t know what some of those things are (and what became of them), let’s compile a gymternet!
Gymworld.de - This one was quite popular in the gym world and began around 2000 IIRC. Many fans were introduced to the gymternet through here. It contained multiple forums, separated by country. It was mostly in English. It was also a place to share videos of meets (Which is how I found Rafiki’s Hub!) before YouTube made it possible. Around 2009 the owner of Gymworld got in trouble with the law and the forum ceased to exist.
GGMB - Gym Gossip Message Board was a (very) lively group that claimed to have the inside scoop when it came to the elite gym scene. Sometimes they seemed to have info from someone in the inner gym circle, but it was all supposed to be top-secret. Even the message board was invite-only. I can’t remember how I came to get an invite. The owner, Abomb, wasn’t known for being kind or tolerant of those who had differing opinions, so it quickly became an abusive and toxic culture. To this day, I’m still low-key afraid to talk about Carly Patterson because of the moderator’s distain for her. You could get banned for literally anything, so many people have their own unique stories of how they were banned.
The server crashed occasionally, but crashed for the final time (to many people’s relief) in 2014. Some further info can be found here:
WWGym - I’m maybe the least qualified to explain this one since most of us were once part of this, but I believe that WWGym was born out of a response to a toxic GGMB, and strived to be a gym-focused place of friendly discussion and inclusion. I remember joining right at the start back in 2006 and it quickly gained popularity. From what I could tell, it was the biggest and most popular message board for gymnastics during most of its existence. It was categorized by entity, so WAG, MAG, Rythmic, and NCAA all had their own forums. WWGym died in 2020 for server reasons (unless I am mistaken), but rebranded into the current Gymnaverse.
Those are the ones I’ve been involved with, if anyone has more to add about the history of the Gymternet, please add (or correct my mistakes)!