Elena Zamolodchikova

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Elena Zamolodchikova
— Gymnast —
Country represented  Russia
Born (1982-09-19) September 19, 1982 (age 32)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Retired 2009

Elena Mikhailovna Zamolodchikova (Russian: Еле́на Миха́йловна Замоло́дчикова; born on September 19, 1982 in Moscow, Russia), nicknamed "'Zamo'", is a two-time Olympic gymnast. She began gymnastics at the age of six. In 1999 she participated in her first major senior competition, the World Gymnastics Championships, where she won the gold in vault, the bronze in the all-around. She was well known for her risky double-twisting double-backflip on floor and was one of a handful of women to have successfully competed one.[1] In 2015 she was inducted in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Competitive history[edit]

At the 2000 European Championships in Paris, Zamolodchikova produced a stunning performance, inspiring viewers both with her physical ability and her psychological strength. Just days before the competition, her father died as a result of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl accident. In the midst of her shock and grief, she led her team to the gold medal and earned individual silvers in the all-around and vault finals and a bronze on the beam.

Zamolodchikova was selected as a member of the Russian gymnastics team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She initially did not score into the all-around or vault finals; however, she earned spots in both when Elena Produnova withdrew from the all-around and Svetlana Khorkina decided to give up her spot to Zamolodchikova. In the team competition, the Russians were leading after the preliminary rounds, and had a good chance of repeating this feat in finals. However, the four 'star' gymnasts on the team all made mistakes. Elena's was perhaps the most dramatic, slipping off the beam as she took off for a Rulfova and narrowly missing her head. These mistakes cost the Russians the gold.

After two apparatus in the all-around, Elena was in first place with her stronger exercises still to go. However, she lost her chances of an all-around medal with a fall on the floor exercise, ironically on her simplest tumble. On a night where many gymnasts made uncharacteristic errors, she eventually finished 6th. Had she scored the same in the all-around as she did for her team finals performance, her total would have been enough to win her the gold.

However, she came back to win gold on both the vault and floor, thus becoming a two-time Olympic champion. During vault finals, Khorkina sat in the stands, cheering loudly for her teammate for whom she gave up her spot. Ironically, Khorkina was leading in the floor finals until Zamolodchikova performed: both were vying for a second gold. Elena's superior tumbling won the day over Khorkina's artistry.

After becoming a double Olympic Champion, Zamolodchikova won the World vault title in 2002 and a European all-around bronze medal in 2004, in addition to numerous other awards.

Zamolodchikova, incidentally a lieutenant in the Russian Army, competed in her second Olympic games in 2004. The Russian team won a bronze medal, and Zamolodchikova just missed out on an individual vault medal, placing fourth behind Monica Roşu of Romania, Annia Hatch of the United States, and a fellow Russian, Anna Pavlova.

She competed most recently at the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, where she was again unlucky, placing fourth in both vault and floor finals. Floor finals were particularly disappointing: she performed four extremely difficult tumbling passes, landing each one cleanly, but did not successfully compete all of her dance combinations. Her start value was lowered as a result from 10.0 to 9.7, and she scored a 9.162, placing her behind Americans Alicia Sacramone and Nastia Liukin, and Dutch gymnast Suzanne Harmes. Zamolodchikova's low score was unpopular with the crowd, who appeared to think she should have won bronze. She scored an average of 9.318 on her two vaults, finishing behind Cheng Fei of China, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, and Alicia Sacramone of the U.S.

Many gymnasts retired as the new code was introduced, but not Elena. Despite speculation amongst fans, she has just kept on going, and improved vastly throughout 2006. At her first competition of the year, the American Cup, she had a disappointing competition, especially on bars, where she fell. Zamolodchikova was highly emotional after her routine and was seen crying. Problems were compounded when an injury prevented selection for the 2006 European Championships in Volos, Greece.

However, despite both this and her advanced age for a gymnast. Elena bounced back. She helped the Russian team to a bronze medal in the team event, their first at world level since 2001, and qualified to vault finals where she was fourth. In 2006, she also competed her new vault skill, a Yurchenko laid out half-on, half-off which has an A-score of 5.6P in the new code.

After the World Championships, she competed in a few World Cup competitions winning a bronze medal on vault in the DTB-Cup in Stuttgart and two silver medals on vault and on floor in the Glasgow Grand Prix. She crowned her year with a bronze on vault at the World Cup Finals in São Paulo, Brazil.

In 2007, she returned to the international scene in better shape. At the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, she was again met by disappointment. Her teammate Ekaterina Kramarenko ran up and touched the vaulting table but stopped and received a 0. Through tears, Zamo performed a solid vault, but the Russian team had already ended up eight, and last. In the event finals, Zamo struggled as she fell on her second vault, and finished again in eighth.

Zamolodchikova continued training in 2008 in hopes of making the Russian Olympic team for the third time, but a back injury prevented her from a better showing and she failed to do so. Instead, she competed in various Word Cup events, narrowly missing a medal on floor at the 2008 World Cup Final in Madrid, where she finished fourth.

Struggling with injury, her last competition were the 2009 University Games in Belgrade. As of March 2010, Elena has not officially announced her retirement from the sport and is still a member of the Russian National Team as a reserve. In the meantime, she has also devoted her career to technical gymnastics as a judge, the 2009 DTB Cup in Germany being the first competition in her new role.

Floor music[edit]

1999 Worlds: "Baby Elephant Walk" - Henry Mancini
2000 Olympics: "Who's That Creepin'?/Daddy-O" - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy / Hipster Daddy-O and the Handgrenades
2002 Worlds: "Crazy Benny/Breathe" - Safri Duo / Moist
2004 Olympics: "Egyptian Symphony" - Mozart
2005 Worlds : "Crazy Benny" by Safri Duo and "Breathe" by Prodigy.

Competitive history[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
1998 European Championships 2nd 4th
1999 World Championships 2nd 3rd 1st
2000 European Championships 1st 2nd 2nd 3rd 8th
Olympic Games 2nd 6th 1st 1st
World Cup Final 1st 2nd
2001 World Championships 2nd
2002 European Championships 1st 4th
World Championships 1st
World Cup Final 1st 4th 2nd 5th
2003 World Championships 6th 2nd
2004 European Championships 3rd 3rd 2nd 7th
Olympic Games 3rd 4th
World Cup Final 4th 8th
2005 European Championships 5th 8th
World Championships 16th 4th 4th
2006 World Championships 3rd 6th
World Cup Final 3rd 6th
2007 World Championships 8th 8th
2008 World Cup Final 6th 4th
2009 Universiade 3rd
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
2008 World Cup Final Madrid Vault 6 13.475
Floor Exercise 4 14.075
2007 World Championships Stuttgart Team 8 164.525 4 238.000
Vault 8 13.875 6 14.487
Floor Exercise 20 14.425
2006 World Cup Final São Paulo Vault 3 14.875
Floor Exercise 6 14.525
World Championships Aarhus Team 3 177.325 4 234.800
All-Around 24 57.700
Vault 6 14.962 5 14.925
Uneven Bars 43 14.175
Balance Beam 75 13.775
Floor Exercise 16 14.675
2005 World Championships Melbourne All-Around 16 34.662 6 36.662
Vault 4 9.318 4 9.331
Uneven Bars 21 9.075
Balance Beam 17 8.800
Floor Exercise 4 9.162 6 9.412
European Championships Debrecen Vault 5 9.131 3 9.194
Floor Exercise 8 8.475 9 8.837
2004 World Cup Final Birmingham Vault 4 9.412
Floor Exercise 8 8.087
Olympic Games Athens Team 3 113.235 4 149.420
All-Around 20 36.874
Vault 4 9.412 3 9.462
Uneven Bars 51 9.150
Balance Beam 31 9.062
Floor Exercise 35 9.200
European Championships Amsterdam Team 3 110.423
All-Around 3 37.149 4 36.862
Vault 2 9.381 2 9.524
Uneven Bars 23 8.925
Balance Beam 7 8.775 6 9.225
Floor Exercise 10 9.175
2003 World Championships Anaheim Team 6 108.985 5 145.572
All-Around 20 36.037
Vault 2 9.443 2 9.437
Uneven Bars 70 8.775
Balance Beam 44 8.737
Floor Exercise 32 9.000
2002 World Cup Final Stuttgart Vault 1 9.412
Uneven Bars 4 9.125
Balance Beam 2 9.162
Floor Exercise 5 8.800
World Championships Debrecen Vault 1 9.443
Vault (Semi−Final) 6 9.218
Vault (Qualification) 5 9.206
Floor Exercise (Semi−Final) 12 9.050
Floor Exercise (Qualification) 9 9.137
European Championships Patras Team 1 111.833
Vault 4 9.043 2 9.487
2001 World Championships Ghent Team 2 109.023 4 144.134
All-Around 48 33.812
Vault 40 9.000
Uneven Bars 17 9.012
Balance Beam 101 7.600
Floor Exercise 98 8.200
2000 World Cup Final Glasgow Vault 1 9.581
Floor Exercise 2 9.675
Olympic Games Sydney Team 2 154.403 1 154.874
All-Around 6 38.268 7 38.336
Vault 1 9.731 9 9.612
Uneven Bars 11 9.687
Balance Beam 38 9.375
Floor Exercise 1 9.850 7 9.662
European Championships Paris Team 1 115.760
All-Around 2 38.624 3 38.624
Vault 2 9.668 1 9.662
Uneven Bars 9 9.650
Balance Beam 3 9.762 5 9.662
Floor Exercise 8 9.437 10 9.650
1999 World Championships Tianjin Team 2 153.209 2 153.576
All-Around 3 38.687 8 38.236
Vault 1 9.718 2 9.699
Uneven Bars 10 9.612
Balance Beam 39 9.300
Floor Exercise 15 9.625
1998 European Championships Saint Petersburg Team 2 112.720
Vault 4 9.424 2 9.693
Floor Exercise 41 8.687

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