THE GYMNAST

Subject: Buratino article

Novgorod stepped up a league with a special array of stars to brighten up the winter weather. Evgeny Podgorny and Elena Dolgopolova led a Russian charge with gymnasts from GER, USA, LIT, NOR, Hinckley and Southampton making chase. Elena Shushunova, Oksana Omelianchik and Yuri Korolev were very special guests and competitors in veterans class although they would not have been out of place with the young and the ambitious, class always shows through.

Over 50 gymnasts aged from 9 to 17 took part in the individual event. The boy's competition was dominated by 10 year old Konstantin Smaznov, a rare talent of exceptional ability. With Gudzochy (sic) and Delchev on R he scored 28.3 to squeeze out the GER juniors. The girl's (sic) competition was won by Anna Kovaleva with 9.75 for a floor with 2 1/2 twists to punch front very crisp and high. There were no guesses as to who would win the men's competition, Podgorny took it easily. James Boyes of Hinckley headed the 'foreigners' in 5th behind the Russians. Elena Dolgopolova worked a Marinich on bars for 29.3 and top place.

In the mixed team competition the honours were spread around the nations but James Boyes hit team gold with 2 Russians and an American Sherene Burton from Southampton taking a team bronze with the help of 2 Russian and a Lithuanian. The coach and gymnast tournament was an exhibition from 3 world champions. Omelianchik in red and gold looked as beautiful as she did in 1985 bringing the show to a standstill and a thunderous ovation, a gypsy teasing the audience and defying time. Cups, flowers and prize money were welcomed and then to the Kremlin for the "bonkett" in real Russian style. This event is growing in stature and reputation with each year and 1997 will find it on the European Circuit big time. Dmitry Trofimov has organized a unique atmosphere in Novgorod and deserves the praise of all the gymnasts and coaches who were privileged to take part.


Copyright 1996 Novgorod State University