Alexander Beresch

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Alexander Beresch
— Gymnast —
Country represented  Ukraine
Born (1977-10-12)October 12, 1977
Died February 29, 2004(2004-02-29) (aged 26)
Discipline Men's artistic gymnastics

Alexander Beresch (October 12, 1977, Pervomaisk – February 29, 2004, Kiev), alternative transliteration Oleksandr Beresh, was a gymnast from Ukraine and Olympic medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Coached by former Soviet World Champion Igor Korobchinsky, Beresch began competing internationally for Ukraine in 1997, winning a bronze medal on the high bar at his first World Championships. Over the next several years he became the preeminent male gymnast on the Ukrainian team, medalling at the World Cup several times.

Beresch's breakout year was 2000; in this year he was the European all-around and high bar champion, as well as the bronze all-around medalist at the 2000 Olympics. His contributions to the Ukrainian team helped them win their first team medal, a silver, in Sydney. He continued to turn in strong performances after the Olympics, winning three medals at the 2001 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and winning the high bar gold at the 2000 World finals in Paris.

Accident[edit]

In February 2004, when Beresch was driving through Kiev, his Peugot was struck by a speeding car travelling at over 150 kilometres per hour. He was killed; his passenger, teammate Sergei Vyaltsev, survived with critical injuries.

Beresch's death was met with shock and sorrow by the international gymnastics community. Former Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation president Ludmilla Tourischeva issued a public statement, saying "there are no words to express our grief." Several memorials to Beresch were held, including an emotional video tribute at the 2004 European Championships.

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