Alina Kabaeva

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Alina Kabaeva
— Gymnast —
Personal information
Full name Alina Maratovna Kabaeva
Country represented  Russia
Born (1983-05-12) 12 May 1983 (age 31)
Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union
Residence Moscow, Russia
Height 166 centimetres (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 50 kilograms (110 lb)
Discipline Rhythmic gymnastics
Club MGFSO Dynamo
Head coach(es) Irina Viner
Assistant coach(es) Vera Shatalina
Choreographer Veronica Shatkova
Eponymous skills backscale pivots
Retired 2007

Alina Maratovna Kabaeva (Russian: Али́на Мара́товна Каба́ева; Tatar: Älinä Marat qızı Qabayeva, Әлинә Марат кызы Кабаева; born 12 May 1983)[1] is a Russian Honored Master of Sports, retired rhythmic gymnast, and politician. Since 2007, she has been a State Duma deputy from the United Russia party.

Kabaeva is Russia's second most successful rhythmic gymnast after Evgenia Kanaeva. She is also one of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of rhythmic gymnastics with two Olympic medals, 14 world championship medals and 25 European championship medals.

Early life and career[edit]

Kabaeva, the daughter of a Tatar father[2] and Russian mother, was born in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, in the Soviet Union on 12 May 1983.[1] She started rhythmic gymnastics there at the age of 3 with coach Margarita Samuilovna.[3] Her father Marat Kabayev was a professional football (soccer) player and the family was constantly following him to different places in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. At first, many coaches did not like Alina because they considered her "too heavy" and "ugly" to be a rhythmic gymnast, none of them seemed to consider her a rhythmic gymnast of any particular talent. In her young teens she moved to Russia, where her mother took her to the Russian head coach Irina Viner, who liked her from the start.

She stayed with Viner and made her international debut in 1996. In 1998 the 15-year-old Kabaeva won the European Championships in Portugal. At the time she was the youngest member of the Russian squad, competing alongside internationally recognized teammates, like Amina Zaripova. In 1999 Kabaeva became European Champion for the second consecutive time and won the World title in Osaka, Japan. She went on to win a total of 5 all-around titles at the European Championships and added another World title in 2003 in Budapest, Hungary.

(L-R) Alina Kabaeva (bronze), Yulia Barsukova (gold) and Yulia Raskina (silver) at 2000 Olympic Games podium

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Kabaeva was expected to claim gold in all-around, but, due to an error in an otherwise exceptional performance—she dropped her hoop and ran to retrieve it outside the competition area – took home the bronze with the final score of 39.466 (Rope 9.925, Hoop 9.641, Ball 9.950, Ribbon 9.950), Belarus' Yulia Raskina took the silver medal while fellow Russian teammate Yulia Barsukova won the Olympics Gold medal.

At the 2001 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, she won the gold for the ball, clubs and rope, and gold in the Individual All-Around and hoop. At the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, Kabaeva won the gold for the ball, clubs and rope, and the silver in the Individual All-Around and hoop. However, Kabaeva and her teammate Irina Tchachina tested positive to a banned diuretic (furosemide) and were stripped of their medals.

Irina Viner, the Russian head coach, who also served as the Vice President of the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics Technical Committee at the time, said her gymnasts had been taking a food supplement called "Hyper" which contained mild diuretics, which, according to Viner, the gymnasts were taking for pre-menstrual syndrome. When the supply ran out shortly before the Goodwill Games, the team physiotherapist restocked at a local pharmacy. According to Viner, the supplement sold there was fake and contained furosemide. The commission requested the Goodwill Games organizing committee to nullify Kabaeva and Tchachina's results. The FIG also nullified their results from the World Championships in Madrid, causing Ukraine's Tamara Yerofeeva to be declared the 2001 World Champion.

In 2003, Kabaeva marked her return to competitive gymnastics after the ban, she won the all-around gold medal at the 2003 World Championships as well as the event final in ribbon and ball ahead of Ukrainian Anna Bessonova.

In 2004, she won the all-around gold at the 2004 European Championships in Kiev. At the 2004 Athens Olympics Kabaeva took home the gold medal in the individual all-around for rhythmic gymnastics with a score of 108.400 (Hoop 26.800, Ball 27.350, Clubs 27.150, Ribbon 27.100), the silver medal went to her teammate Irina Tchachina.[4]

In October 2004, Kabaeva announced her retirement from the sport.[5] However, in June 2005, the Russian head coach Irina Viner announced a possible comeback.[6] Kabaeva resumed her sport career at an Italy-Russia friendly competition in Genoa, on 10 September 2005.[7] On March 5, 2006, She won the Gazprom Moscow Grand Prix, with fellow Russians Vera Sessina and Olga Kapranova taking the second and third places.[8] She won the silver medal in all-around at the 2006 European Championships behind teammate Sessina.

At the 2007 European Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan; Kabaeva, Sessina, and Kapranova were chosen to represent Russia. However, on the eve of the competition, Kabaeva withdrew because of an injury. Viner selected rising upcoming gymnast Evgenia Kanaeva from Russia's National Team as the replacement. Kabaeva finished 4th in all-around qualifications at the 2007 World Championships and did not advance into the finals due to the two per country rule with Vera Sessina and Olga Kapranova placing ahead of Kabaeva. She completed her career at the 2007 Season.

After retirement[edit]

Since 2005 Kabaeva has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia.

She also appeared briefly in the 2001 Japanese movie Red Shadow, performing her gymnastic routine.[9] Since 2007, Kabaeva has been a member of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, representing the United Russia party. Since February 2008 she has been Chairman of the National Media Group's Public Council,[10] the media group that controls Izvestia, Channel One and REN TV.

In January 2011, Alina Kabaeva appeared on the cover of Vogue Russia.

In her capacity of a member of parliament, she voted for a number of controversial laws which were speedily adopted in 2012-2013, including the Anti-Magnitsky bill on the ban of intercountry adoption (of Russian orphans) by U.S. families,[11] as well as laws on the prohibition of the "homosexual propaganda" aimed at adolescents, on extrajudicial ban of access to websites which may host materials violating copyright, and on the reorganization of the Academy of Sciences.[12]

Kabaeva was among the six Russian athlete torch bearers who carried the Olympic flame through Fisht Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Her selection as a torch bearer generated controversy among the international media, largely due to her personal ties to Vladimir Putin.[13]

Marriage controversy[edit]

In mid-April 2008, the Russian paper Moskovsky Korrespondent stated that she was engaged to marry the Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-June, after he left office. It sourced the news to a St. Petersburg based planner bidding to conduct the wedding reception.[14] On 18 April 2008, in a press conference with Silvio Berlusconi, Putin addressed the article: "There is not a single word of truth [in it]."[15] While Putin had been abroad and unavailable for comment, Kabaeva's spokeswoman had already refused to discuss "this nonsense".[16]

On September 2013 The Kremlin commented on rumors circulating about a marriage having recently taken place, but said this was a private matter for President Putin to announce.[17]


Kabaeva revolutionized rhythmic gymnastics as one of the few gymnasts to have performed new skills and elements which included the back split pivot with hand help (also known as "The Kabaeva"), the ring position with a slow full turn and the backscale pivot that she first performed.[18]


Routine music information[edit]

Year Apparatus Music title [20]
2007 Hoop (second) Allegro Vivo (Walpurgis Night) from Faust by Charles Gounod
Hoop (first) Payadora by Julian Plaza
Rope (second) Rio Rita by DJ Valer
Rope (first) Sirtaki by Andre Rieu
Clubs (second) Rio Rita by DJ Valer
Clubs (first) Sardarabad by Ara Gevorgian
Ribbon Espana Cani music from Cincinnati by Pops Orchestra
2006 Ball (second) Sirtaki by David Moutsis
Ball (first) Introduction music from Queen of Spades by Sofia Festival Orchestra
Rope Clockwork (Shantel vs Mahala Rai Banda remix) by Mambayaga Project
Clubs (second) Overture music from The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad by Bernard Herrmann
Clubs (first) White Darbouka by Hovannes K.
Ribbon Granada by Andre Rieu
2005 Ball Fuga Y Misterio by Astor Piazzolla
Rope Clockwork (Shantel vs Mahala Rai Banda remix) by Mambayaga Project
Clubs White Darbouka by Hovannes K.
Ribbon Suite - 1st Movement from The Valencian Widow by Aram Khachaturian
2004 Hoop (second) Carmen's entrance and Habanera
by Georges Bizet
Hoop (first) Finale / Dance / Prelude / Bolero music from Carmen by Georges Bizet & Rodion Shchedrin
Ball Syrtaki by D. Moutsis
Clubs Sphynx (Club Mix) by Giampiero Ponte, Moran
Ribbon Sphynx by Giampiero Ponte
2003 Hoop Finale / Dance / Prelude / Bolero music from Carmen by Georges Bizet & Rodion Shchedrin
Ball Polovtsian Dances music from Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin
Clubs Moliendo café by Fanfare Ciocarlia
Ribbon Caravane / Der Bauch / Istikhbar by Radar / MC Sultan / Gnawa Diffusion
2002 Hoop Finale / Dance / Prelude / Bolero music from Carmen by Georges Bizet & Rodion Shchedrin
Rope Snakefood, Samba Adagio by Safri Duo
Clubs Hava Naquila by Party Animals
Ball Weather Storm by Craig Armstrong
2001 Hoop Desert Rose (House Mix) by Sting feat. Cheb Mami
Rope Shark music from Full Sink by Laureate
Clubs Lament To Birch Bark music from The Best Of Russian Folk Music by Moscow Balalaika Quartet
Ball Question of U by Classic Metropolitan Orchestra (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra)
2000 Hoop Les Toreadors by Georges Bizet
Rope Tsiganochka (Traditional Gipsy folk)
Ball Felicia music from Forever Tango by Luis Bravo
Ribbon Dilorom / Yor Yor by Yulduz Usmanova / Shahzod
1999 Hoop Spirit of Taiko by Kitaro
Rope Release the Dubs music from Shallow Grave by Leftfield
Ball Felicia music from Forever Tango by Luis Bravo
Ribbon Dilorom / Yor Yor by Yulduz Usmanova / Shahzod
1998 Hoop Symphonica by DJ Quicksilver
Clubs Korobejniki from Kamarinskaya by Michael Glinka
Ball ?
Ribbon (second) Kitri, Entrance, Coda music from Don Quixote by Leon Minkus
Ribbon (first) Lo Sciecco Bianco by Nino Rota
1997 Hoop Paradisio / Canton Express / I dream of Santiago by Gypsy
Clubs ?
Ball Finale (Carneval of the Animals) music from Charles by Camille Saint-Saëns
Ribbon Lo Sciecco Bianco by Nino Rota

Detailed Olympic results[edit]

Year Competition Description Location Music [21] Apparatus Score-Final Score-Qualifying
2004 Olympics Athens All-around 108.400 105.875
Sphynx by Giampiero Ponte Ribbon 27.100 26.100
Syrtaki by D. Moutsis Ball 27.350 27.250
Carmen's entrance and Habanera
by Georges Bizet
Hoop 26.800 26.050
Sphynx (Club Mix) by Giampiero Ponte, Moran Clubs 27.150 26.475
Year Competition Description Location Music Apparatus Score-Final Score-Qualifying
2000 Olympics Sydney All-around 39.466 39.691
Dilorom / Yor Yor
by Yulduz Usmanova and Shahzod
Ribbon 9.950 9.925
Felicia by Luis Bravo Ball 9.950 9.925
Les Toreadors by Georges Bizet Hoop 9.651 9.925
Tsiganochka ( Gypsy Folk ) Rope 9.925 9.916


  1. ^ a b "Alina Kabaeva". ESPN. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  2. ^ "A son in Putin's Yule stocking". NYPOST. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Alina Kabaeva. My teachers. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Results – 29 August 2004". BBC Sport. 16 December 2005. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  5. ^ Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Kabaeva retires[dead link], 11 October 2004. GYMmedia. Retrieved 16 December 2010
  6. ^ XXI. European Championships of RG - qualifications/ Will Kabaeva return?[dead link], 10 June 2005. GYMmedia. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Kabaeva is back! She won three of five Grand Prix Finals[dead link], GYMmedia, 5 March 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2010
  9. ^ Alina Kabaeva
  10. ^ NMG Public Council
  11. ^ Исмаилов, Руслан; Ольга Братцева. ""Дети вне политики!" Идеолог, свердловский депутат Госдумы "закона Димы Яковлева": "Дауны останутся в России. Всё!" "Они все - Лахова, Кабаева, Роднина - утратили право называться женщинами"". (in Russian) (Yekaterinburg). Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Система анализа результатов голосований на заседаниях Государственной Думы" (in Russian). State Duma. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kabaeva is Olympic torchbearer at Opening Ceremony". USA Today. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Quetteville, Harry de (17 April 2008). "Vladimir Putin 'to wed Olympic gymnast half his age'". The Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  15. ^ "Putin denies tabloid report that plans to marry former champion gymnast". International Herald Tribune. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 29 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008. 
  16. ^ Shaun Walker, in The Independent, quoting Moskovsky Korrespondent (18 April 2008). "A president, the gymnast and marriage rumors that won't go away". London. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008. 
  17. ^ "‘Putin and Kabayeva are crowned’: Guard’s remark suggests Russian president has married his mistress | National Post". 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  18. ^ a b RG named elements Gym Power
  19. ^ "Alina Kabaeva profile". Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation. 
  20. ^ "Kabaeva RG music list". rgforum. 
  21. ^ "Kabaeva RG music list". rgforum. 

External links[edit]