Yelena Produnova

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Yelena Produnova
— Gymnast —
Full name Yelena Sergeyevna Produnova
Alternative name(s) Elena
Country represented  Russia 1995-2000
Born (1980-02-15) February 15, 1980 (age 36)
Residence Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International Elite
Eponymous skills Produnova (balance beam), Produnova (uneven bars) and Produnova (vault)
Retired 2000

Yelena Sergeyevna Produnova, also known as Elena, (Russian: Елена Серге́евна Продунова; born February 15, 1980) is a Russian former competitive gymnast. Her senior international career lasted from 1995 to 2000, and earned her multiple world and Olympic medals, though gold always eluded her. She is known[who?] for her innovative and powerful skills on the vault and floor exercise. The most difficult vault in women's gymnastics is named after her.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Produnova was born on February 15, 1980. She lives in Rostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast, Russia.

Gymnastics career[edit]

Produnova's favorite gymnasts are Elena Shushunova, Alexei Nemov and Svetlana Boginskaya.[citation needed]

1995–96[edit]

Produnova's first major senior competition was the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, Fukui, Japan where the Russians finished fourth. Inexperienced, she made little impact on the international scene. A heel injury hampered her chances of being chosen for the 1996 Summer Olympics, and she stayed at home.

1997[edit]

At the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, the tumbles in Produnova's floor routine drew gasps of admiration,[citation needed] but she kept taking large steps back to control her last tumbling pass. Still, Russia took team silver behind Romania, and Produnova claimed a pair of bronzes in the all-around and floor exercise.

1998[edit]

In 1998, Produnova overcame an ankle injury. That year she also qualified 1st at the 1998 Russian Nationals and finished 5th in the all-around and 3rd on the vault. During the 1998 Cottbus event, Produnova finished 2nd on the vault, 1st on the balance beam, and 2nd on the floor. She was unable to compete at the European Championships because of her injury.

1999[edit]

At the 1999 University Games, Produnova won vault and beam titles, and also finished 2nd in the AA and first in the team competition. It was here that she debuted her handspring double front vault, since known as a Produnova. It is the highest rated vault according to the Code of Points and as of August 2016 only four other female gymnasts successfully performed this vault in competition – Dominican Yamilet Peña, Egyptian Fadwa Mahmoud, Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan and Dipa Karmakar from India.

The 1999 World Championships in Tianjin, China, Produnova finished fourth in the vault, bars, floor and all-around finals. The overall champion was Maria Olaru. Russia once again finished second to Romania.

2000[edit]

The 2000 European Championships saw Russia, with the help of Produnova, beat Romania for gold for the first time ever. Produnova also took a bronze on beam, behind teammate Svetlana Khorkina, and a silver on floor behind Ludivine Furnon of France. These results and her victory in the Russian national championships gained Produnova a place on the team for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

In the preliminary round at the Olympics, the Russians were dominant. The quartet of Produnova, Khorkina, Yekaterina Lobaznyuk and world vault champion Elena Zamolodchikova all qualified for multiple finals. Though the Romanians were world champions, the Russians had beaten them earlier in the year.

Four of Russia's six gymnasts fell in the team final; only the two least known members of the team performed without major errors. Produnova sat down only one of two vaults and her score was dropped (at this time, teams could drop the lowest score on each apparatus therefore one fall was not too drastic). After her one error, she recorded the team's highest scores on beam and bars. The same principle applied to Khorkina's fall from bars since the score did not have to count towards the team title, the mistake did not have to cost them the gold. Both Zamolodchikova and Lobaznyuk fell on the beam, and it was not until Produnova's solid performance that the Russians showed a clean routine. The Russians were the top scoring team on floor, but it was not enough for the gold. Romania were victorious by a margin of only two tenths. Produnova and Khorkina both removed their silver medals as they walked off the podium.

Produnova had qualified for the all-around finals, where she was a legitimate medal threat. However, she had broken her foot during the Olympics and had to withdraw. Teammate Elena Zamolodchikova took her place. Two of the three Russians fell, and none managed to make the podium.

Produnova competed in both of the finals to which she had qualified, bars and beam. A mistake kept her out of the medals on bars. She hit her beam routine solidly and stuck her difficult double front dismount, winning a bronze medal, behind Liu Xuan of China and Lobaznyuk.

2004[edit]

Sydney was Produnova's last major competition. She retired at the age of 24.

Eponymous skills[edit]

Produnova is one of the few gymnasts to have skills on all four events named after her:

Apparatus Name Description Difficulty
Vault Produnova Handspring double front salto 7.0
Uneven bars Produnova Uprise/clear hip to handstand, half turn to L or mixed L grip C
Balance beam Produnova Jump forward with 1/2 twist to back pike salto E
Floor exercise Produnova Split leap with a full turn to land in a split C

Floor music[edit]

Produnova's floor exercise music at the 2000 Summer Olympics is "The Ride" from James Horner's The Mask of Zorro soundtrack. "The Ride" is the third track of the soundtrack CD, before and after two songs with "Elena" in their names.

Competitive history[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
1995 World Championships 4th
1997 World Championships 2nd 3rd 8th 3rd
1998 World Cup Final 6th 6th 6th
1999 World Championships 2nd 4th 4th 4th 4th
2000 European Championships 1st 4th 3rd 2nd
Olympic Games 2nd WD 7th 3rd
Year Competition description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
2000 Olympic Games Sydney Team 2 154.403 1 154.874
All-around WD 5 38.529
Vault 25 9.368
Uneven bars 7 9.650 5 9.762
Balance beam 3 9.775 5 9.762
Floor exercise 9 9.637
European Championships Paris Team 1 115.760
All-around 5 38.318
Vault 4 9.543 4 9.531
Uneven bars 3 9.775 3 9.762
Balance beam 18 9.200
Floor exercise 2 9.812 1 9.825
1999 World Championships Tianjin Team 2 153.209 2 153.576
All-around 4 38.673 6 38.429
Vault 4 9.587 6 9.593
Uneven bars 4 9.750 2 9.787
Balance beam 30 9.412
Floor exercise 4 9.737 13 9.637
1998 World Cup Final Sabae Vault 6 9.281
Uneven bars 6 9.375
Floor exercise 6 8.737
1997 World Championships Lausanne Team 2 153.197 1 153.401
All-around 3 38.549 2 38.329
Vault 11 9.543
Uneven bars 12 9.437
Balance beam 8 9.412 4 9.687
Floor exercise 3 9.775 7 9.662
1995 World Championships Sabae Team 4 384.689
Balance beam 44 18.437
Floor exercise 20 19.362

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Exploring The New Code: Women's Vault". Retrieved 2016-08-23. 

External links[edit]