Svetlana Leonidovna Boginskaya
Svyatlana Leanidauna Baginskaya (Svyatlana Leanіdaўna Bagіnskaya)
Belarusian Swan, Goddess of Gymnastics
Women's artistic gymnastics
Yelena Shushunova, Tatiana Gutsu, Yelena Produnova, Daniela Silivas, Svetlana Khorkina
Svetla Leonidovna Boginskaya (Belarusian: Святлана Леанідаўна Багінская; born February 9, 1973) is a former artistic gymnast for the Soviet Union and Belarus. She was called the "Belarusian Swan" and the "Goddess of Gymnastics" because of her height, balletic grace, and long body lines. Her last name derives from "boginya" (богиня), literally meaning "goddess" in Russian.
- Svetlana Boginskaya Balance Beam 1996 McDonalds American Cup
- Svetlana Boginskaya Rock and Roll Gymnastics competion FX 1997
- Early life and career
- Competitive history
Boginskaya is known for the drama and artistry she displayed on floor exercise. She is a three-time Olympic champion, with an individual gold medal on vault from the 1988 Summer Olympics and Team gold medals from the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics.
Svetlana Boginskaya - Balance Beam - 1996 McDonald's American Cup
Svetlana Boginskaya Rock and Roll Gymnastics competion FX 1997
Early life and career
Boginskaya was born in Minsk. She was a figure skater for several years, but began gymnastics at age six. Two years later, she moved to Moscow to train full-time at the Round Lake Gymnastics Center. By age fourteen, she was a member of the Soviet national Team.
She won her first world medal, a bronze on balance beam, at the 1987 World Championships. She went on to compete in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, where she won four medals: gold in the team competition, gold on Vault, silver on floor, and bronze in the individual all-around.
Just three days after the Olympics, Boginskaya's longtime coach, Lyubov Miromanova, committed suicide. Miromanova had been a surrogate mother to Boginskaya, coaching and caring for her after she moved from Minsk to train full-time in Moscow. After her death, Boginskaya began training with Tatiana Grosovivich Under Grosovivich's tutelage, Boginskaya became world champion in 1989 and later dedicated her performance to her late mentor.
In 1990, Boginskaya became the third woman to sweep the European Championships, winning the gold medal in every individual event. (The only other gymnasts to do so were Věra Čáslavská, Larisa Latynina, and Ludmilla Tourischeva. In doing so, she defended her titles in the all-around, vault, and floor exercise, and added titles in the uneven bars and balance beam. In 1991, in a controversial finish, Boginskaya lost the gold medal in the all-around to Kim Zmeskal of the United States. However, she earned gold medals in the team and balance beam competitions.
In 1992, Boginskaya, then 19 years old, had a disappointing performance at the 1992 European Championships, falling on her final event, the floor exercise. She finished in fifth place, while her young teammate Tatiana Gutsu won the all-around title. Boginskaya won the balance beam title with a score of 9.95 and remained a favorite to win the all-around title at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Gymnastics fans expected a duel between Boginskaya and Zmeskal at the Olympics. However, while Boginskaya won her third Olympic gold medal in the team competition, she finished fifth in the individual all-around, and Zmeskal finished tenth. Instead of the anticipated showdown between Boginskaya (who faltered on the uneven bars) and Zmeskal (who faltered on the compulsory beam), Tatiana Gutsu and Shannon Miller of the United States provided one of the most dramatic competitions in Olympic history.
Boginskaya retired after the 1992 Olympics but decided to make a comeback in 1995. She said that she was inspired by Katarina Witt who had made a memorable comeback of her own at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Boginskaya moved to Houston, Texas, to train with Bela Karolyi and upgraded the difficulty of her routines. In 1996, at age 23, she placed second in the all-around at the European Championships, behind the defending world all-around champion (and future Olympic all-around champion), Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine. She then progressed to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was one of a number of "older" gymnasts competing. She led the Belarus team to sixth place and competed in the all-around and vault finals, but won no individual medals.
Boginskaya is one of very few women in gymnastics history to have competed in three Olympic Games. Others include Larisa Latynina, Věra Čáslavská, Ludmilla Tourischeva, Svetlana Khorkina, Dominique Dawes, Lisa Skinner, Oksana Chusovitina, Cătălina Ponor and Beth Tweddle. She is one of only two gymnasts (the other being Chusovitina) to have competed on three different national Olympic teams: the Soviet team, the Unified Team, and the Belarusian team. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005.
Today, Boginskaya lives in Houston with her husband and two children. She runs two businesses: an online gymnastics apparel retailer and a summer camp for gymnasts. In 2007, she opened a pizzeria in Texas.
Boginskaya was noted for having much different choreography, often more artistic, than most of her competitors, especially in her floor exercise routines. Her floor routine at the 1988 Olympics was done to the music of Georges Bizet's Carmen, and her routine in the 1990–1991 season was choreographed by the Bolshoi Ballet. She was also known for dismounts in which she landed with her right foot placed slightly in front of her left.