Svetlana Boginskaya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Svetlana Boginskaya
— Gymnast —
Full name Svetlana Lioubov Boginskaya
Alternative name(s) Svyatlana Leanidaŭna Bahinskaya (Святлана Леанідаўна Багінская)
Nickname(s) Belarusian Swan, Goddess of Gymnastics
Country represented  Belarus
Former countries represented Olympic flag.svg Unified Team,  Soviet Union
Born (1973-02-09) February 9, 1973 (age 43)
Minsk, Soviet Union
Height 157 cm (5 ft 2 in) (5'2")
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International Elite
Head coach(es) Tatiana Grosovivich
Former coach(es) Lyubov Miromanova
Retired 1997

Svetlana Lioubov Boginskaya (Belarusian: Святлана Леанідаўна Багінская), born February 9, 1973, is a former artistic gymnast for the Soviet Union and Belarus. She was called the "Belarusian Swan" and the "Goddess of Gymnastics" because of her height, balletic grace, and long body lines. Her last name derives from "boginya" (богиня), literally meaning "goddess" in Russian.

Boginskaya is known for the drama and artistry she displayed on floor exercise. She is a three-time Olympic champion, with an individual gold medal on vault from the 1988 Summer Olympics and team gold medals from the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics.

Early life and career[edit]

Boginskaya was born in Minsk. She was a figure skater for several years, but began gymnastics at age six. Two years later, she moved to Moscow to train full-time at the Round Lake Gymnastics Center. By age fourteen, she was a member of the Soviet national team.

She won her first world medal, a bronze on balance beam, at the 1987 World Championships. She went on to compete in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, where she won four medals: gold in the team competition, gold on vault, silver on floor, and bronze in the individual all-around.

Just three days after the Olympics, Boginskaya's longtime coach, Lyubov Miromanova, committed suicide. Miromanova had been a surrogate mother to Boginskaya, coaching and caring for her after she moved from Minsk to train full-time in Moscow. After her death, Boginskaya began training with Tatiana Grosovivich Under Grosovivich's tutelage, Boginskaya became world champion in 1989 and later dedicated her performance to her late mentor.

In 1990, Boginskaya became the third woman to sweep the European Championships, winning the gold medal in every individual event. (The only other gymnasts to do so were Věra Čáslavská,Larisa Latynina, and Ludmilla Tourischeva. In doing so, she defended her titles in the all-around, vault, and floor exercise, and added titles in the uneven bars and balance beam. In 1991, in a controversial finish, Boginskaya lost the gold medal in the all-around to Kim Zmeskal of the United States. However, she earned gold medals in the team and balance beam competitions.

In 1992, Boginskaya, then 19 years old, had a disappointing performance at the 1992 European Championships, falling on her final event, the floor exercise. She finished in fifth place, while her young teammate Tatiana Gutsu won the all-around title. Boginskaya won the balance beam title with a score of 9.95 and remained a favorite to win the all-around title at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Gymnastics fans expected a duel between Boginskaya and Zmeskal at the Olympics. However, while Boginskaya won her third Olympic gold medal in the team competition, she finished fifth in the individual all-around, and Zmeskal finished tenth. Instead of the anticipated showdown between Boginskaya (who faltered on the uneven bars) and Zmeskal (who faltered on the compulsory beam), Tatiana Gutsu and Shannon Miller of the United States provided one of the most dramatic competitions in Olympic history.

Boginskaya retired after the 1992 Olympics but decided to make a comeback in 1995. She said that she was inspired by Katarina Witt who had made a memorable comeback of her own at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Boginskaya moved to Houston, Texas, to train with Bela Karolyi and upgraded the difficulty of her routines. In 1996, at age 23, she placed second in the all-around at the European Championships, behind the defending world all-around champion (and future Olympic all-around champion), Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine. She then progressed to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was one of a number of "older" gymnasts competing. She led the Belarus team to sixth place and competed in the all-around and vault finals, but won no individual medals.

Boginskaya is one of very few women in gymnastics history to have competed in three Olympic Games. Others include Larisa Latynina, Věra Čáslavská, Ludmilla Tourischeva, Svetlana Khorkina, Dominique Dawes, Lisa Skinner, Oksana Chusovitina, and Beth Tweddle. She is one of only two gymnasts (the other being Chusovitina) to have competed on three different national Olympic teams: the Soviet team, the Unified Team, and the Belarusian team. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005.[1]

After the 1992 Olympics, Boginskaya appeared alongside her compatriot Vitaly Scherbo in the music video for the song "Revolution Earth," by The B-52's.

Today, Boginskaya lives in Houston with her husband and two children. She runs two businesses: an online gymnastics apparel retailer and a summer camp for gymnasts. In 2007, she opened a pizzeria in Texas.[2]


Boginskaya was noted for having much different choreography, often more artistic, than most of her competitors, especially in her floor exercise routines. Her floor routine at the 1988 Olympics was done to the music of Georges Bizet's Carmen, and her routine in the 1990–1991 season was choreographed by the Bolshoi Ballet. She was also known for dismounts in which she landed with her right foot placed slightly in front of her left.

Competitive history[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
1987 World Championships 2nd 3rd
1988 Olympic Games 1st 3rd 1st 2nd
1989 European Championships 1st 1st 4th 4th 1st
World Championships 1st 1st 8th 1st
1990 European Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Goodwill Games 1st 2nd 3rd 1st
World Cup Final 2nd 3rd 4th 4th 1st
1991 World Championships 1st 2nd 5th 1st 7th
1992 European Championships 5th 8th 4th 1st
World Championships 2nd 6th
Olympic Games 1st 5th 4th 5th
1995 World Championships 8th 16th
1996 European Championships 4th 2nd 6th 6th 4th 6th
Olympic Games 6th 15th 5th
  • Competitor for Belarus
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta Team 6 381.263
All-Around 13 38.499 25 76.223
Vault 5 9.712 9 19.474
Uneven Bars 64 18.587
Balance Beam 27 18.850
Floor Exercise 24 19.312
European Championships Birmingham Team 4 114.546
All-Around 2 39.106 4 38.898
Vault 6 9.662 5 9.737
Uneven Bars 6 9.725 7 9.737
Balance Beam 4 9.575 5 9.662
Floor Exercise 6 9.600 3 9.762
1995 World Championships Sabae Team 8 375.512
All-Around 16 38.261 14 76.461
Vault 23 18.925
Uneven Bars 29 19.124
Balance Beam 20 18.975
Floor Exercise 15 19.437
  • Competitor for CIS
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona Team 1 395.666
All-Around 5 39.673 2 79.287
Vault 4 9.899 8 19.800
Uneven Bars 10 19.787
Balance Beam 5 9.862 2 19.800
Floor Exercise WD 1 19.900
World Championships Paris Vault 2 9.943
Vault (Semi−Final) 1 9.912
Vault (Qualification) 1 9.900
Balance Beam 6 9.750
  • Competitor for Belarus
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1992 European Championships Nantes All-Around 5 39.136
Vault 8 9.675 2 9.937
Uneven Bars 4 9.850 2 9.937
Balance Beam 1 9.950 1 9.937
Floor Exercise 44 9.325
  • Competitor for Soviet Union
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1991 World Championships Indianapolis Team 1 396.055
All-Around 2 39.736 1 79.548
Vault 5 9.850 1 19.837
Uneven Bars WD 1 19.912
Balance Beam 1 9.962 2 19.887
Floor Exercise 7 9.862 1 19.912
1990 World Cup Final Brussels All-Around 2 39.586
Vault 3 9.912 1 9.937
Uneven Bars 4 9.887 6 9.825
Balance Beam 4 9.887 2 9.887
Floor Exercise 1 9.962 1 9.937
European Championships Athens All-Around 1 39.874
Vault 1 9.943 1 10.000
Uneven Bars 1 9.950 1 9.975
Balance Beam 1 10.000 2 9.962
Floor Exercise 1 10.000 1 9.937
1989 World Championships Stuttgart Team 1 396.793
All-Around 1 39.900 79.262
Vault 19.925
Uneven Bars 8 9.450 19.925
Balance Beam 19.425
Floor Exercise 1 10.000 1 19.987

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SVETLANA BOGINSKAYA". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 12, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Olympic Champion Svetlana Boginskaya". Russian American Business. Retrieved October 14, 2008. 

External links[edit]