|— Gymnast —|
Maria Gigova in 1973
21 April 1947 |
She was the first gymnast to become a triple world champion in rhythmic gymnastics with her titles in 1969, 1971, and 1973. Gigova has a total of four gold medals in hoop (1967, 1969, 1971 and 1973), an achievement still unmatched by any other gymnast, as well as one title in ribbon (1971), rope (1969) and free exercise (1969). As a member of the Bulgarian Team, she also earned team titles at the rhythmic gymnastics world championships in 1969 and 1971. Gigova shared the world crown in the all-around in 1971 with Soviet Galima Shugurova, Both of their ribbon routines at this Championship were to the same music – a piece from Bizet's ballet "Carmen". She was Bulgaria's first World champion and helped expand and influence the growth of rhyhthmic gymnastics in Bulgaria.
Gigova retired from gymnastics in 1974. After she finished her education at the National Sports Academy in Sofia, She became a member of the FIG Technical Committee, a post she held from 1978 to 1992. In 1978 she was appointed vice-president of the Bulgarian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, to become the federation's president in 1982. Gigova served on the Administrative Council of the Bulgarian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation from 1989 to 1999 when she was elected president of the federation again.
- Gigova has who won 3 world titles for three consecutive years (1969, 1971 tied with Galima Shugurova, 1973) equaled only by fellow countrywoman Maria Petrova (1993, 1994, 1995 tied with Ekaterina Serebrianskaya) and Russian Evgenia Kanaeva (2009, 2010, 2011).
- First Bulgarian to win the World Championships.
- In 1972 she was awarded the title of Merited Master of Sport of the USSR.
- Panorama of the 1972 Sports Year (in Russian). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. 1973. pp. 122–124.