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30 years ago ... Olga Mostepanova

Yesterday in Moscow, gymnasts, dignitaries and athletes from all sports celebrated Physical Culture Day.  The Russian Gymnastics Federation has a great selection of pictures on their website, and I will post my favourites for you here.

The one that captured my heart though - as I realised it was 30 years ago since the summer of the Oloumoc Alternative Olympics - was this picture of the all around champion at those Games, Olga Mostepanova, who scored a perfect 40 in the all around, the only gymnast ever to do so.  She was the ultimate gymnast, in so many ways.

Videos of this competition are rare, the 'Holy Grail' of gymnastics.  But just look at this video of Olga on beam during the individual competition.  You will rarely, if ever, see an example of more ample perfection, technical, artistic and competitive.  I often wonder what would have happened in Pauley Pavilion (the venue for the Los Angeles Olympics) if only politics hadn't taken an ugly turn that summer.  Olga deserves a higher profile in the annals of gymnastics champions - she was the epitome of the Soviet artistic gymnast.  When I interviewed Alexander Alexandrov, way back in 1989, as head coach of the Soviet women he picked her out as a historical example of the ideal, alongside Natalia Kuchinskaya.  I can't really think of a much stronger recommendation.

Olga is about 45 now and as you can see looks not a day older than 30.  She works as a coach at the famous Moscow Dynamo club, has a large and happy family of five beautiful children.  She is strong minded, positive and full of smiles.  A successful person, gymnast and coach.

Another beautiful Moscow gymnast, from the CSKA club, Nastia Grishina.  Get well soon, Nastia.

2000 Olympic Champion, Muscovite Elena Zamolodchikova leads an exercise class

Zamolodchikova with Moscow Dynamo gymnast, Russian team captain, Emin Garibov


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