|— Gymnast —|
|Former countries represented||Soviet Union|
April 10, 1975 |
|Discipline||Men's artistic gymnastics|
Ivan Ivankov (Russian: Иван Иванков, born April 10, 1975 in Minsk, Belarus) is an artistic gymnast who competed for Belarus. The 1994 and 1997 all-around World Champion and the 1994 and 1996 all-around European Champion, Ivankov has competed for over a decade on the international circuit. Despite his numerous achievements at the World Championships, Europeans and other events, Ivankov has suffered a string of misfortunes at the Olympics, and has never won an Olympic medal.
Early life and career
Ivankov was born in Minsk, Belarus in 1975. He began gymnastics at the age of 6 and by the time he was 14, was a member of the Soviet national junior team, training at the prestigious Round Lake national gymnastics center.
Ivankov established himself as a top up-and-coming gymnast at the 1991 Junior European Championships in Greece, where he won the all-around, pommel horse, high bar, vault and still rings titles and earned a silver medals on the floor exercise.
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ivankov began representing Belarus. He competed at both the 1992 Junior European Championships, where he helped the Belorussian team to a gold medal finish, and the senior European Championships in Budapest, where he placed 13th in the all-around. He competed in his first World Championships in 1993, where he won a bronze medal on the rings.
1994 was Ivankov's breakout year. At the 1994 World Championships in Brisbane, he won the all-around gold, defeating reigning Olympic champion and teammate Vitaly Scherbo in the process. The same year, he won his first all-around senior European Championships title and placed well in other international competitions.
Competing on the vault in Brisbane, Ivankov suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon. The injury forced him to miss the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, but he recovered sufficiently to win his second European Championships in 1996 and was considered to be a major medal threat for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. However, after arriving in Atlanta, Ivankov's Achilles snapped as he was walking across a parking lot, ending his Olympic bid.
Ivankov's Achilles injury required serious rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery and muscle grafts, and months of physical therapy. His condition was considered to be career-ending, however, only a year after rupturing his Achilles, Ivankov returned to win his second all-around gold medal at the 1997 World Championships. One year later, he won the all-around at the Goodwill Games in New York.
In 2001, he led the Belarusian team to the gold medal at the World Championships in Ghent, Belgium. Individually he finished second all-around, just shy from an unprecedented third world all-around title.
Two years later, Belarus finished 13th at the World Championships in Anaheim, failing to qualify a full team to the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Ivankov competed in Athens as an individual.
After competing at the 2005 and 2006 World Championships, Ivankov decided to retire from international competition. He still performs in exhibitions worldwide.
In 2001 Ivankov married Suzyanna, an aerobics instructor and Belorussian television personality. They divorced in 2007 and he remarried the same year. In recent years he resided in Oklahoma and coached at the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy. He remains in contact with his former Soviet and Belorussian teammates, and in 2001, was named the godfather to good friend Alexei Nemov's son. In 2009, he accepted a coaching job for the Illinois Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team. In 2012 he was awarded the National Assistant Coach of the Year award as the Fighting Illini won the 2012 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championship. Ivan has recently visited Maine Academy of Gymnastics to do a clinic. He owns a gym in Massachusetts.
- IG Online Interview: Ivan Ivankov" International Gymnast 2002
- All-around results from 1991 Junior European Championships Gymn-Forum
- Event finals results from 1991 Junior European Championships Gymn-forum
- Team results from 1992 Junior Europeans Gymn-Forum
- "Ivan Ivankov: Jack of all trades, master of some" ABC Australia, 2004
- " GOODWILL GAMES; A Winning Comeback For Ivankov of Belarus" Ron Dicker, New York Times July 21, 1998
- "Sooner Surprise: Who would have guessed that football-mad Oklahoma is also a gymnastics hotbed?" Brian Cazeneuve Sports Illustrated, December 29, 2003
- "Ivankov is the godfather" International Gymnast, April 14, 2001