Svetlana Leonidovna Boginskaya (Belarusian: Святлана Леанідаўна Багінская; born February 9, 1973), is a Soviet/Belarusian gymnast. She was called the "Belarusian Swan" and the "Goddess of Gymnastics" because of her height, balletic grace, and long lines. She is especially renowned for the drama and artistry she displayed on floor exercise. Boginskaya is a three-time Olympic Champion, winning an individual gold medal in Vault at the 1988, and team golds in 1988 and 1992.
Boginskaya was born in Minsk. She was a figure skater for several years, but began gymnastics at age six. Two years later, she moved from Minsk to train full-time at the Moscow Round Lake Gymnastics Center. By age fourteen she was a member of the Soviet national team. She won her first medal, a bronze for balance beam, during the 1987 World Championships. She became one of the best gymnasts on the Soviet team and was expected to place very well at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. She finished the games with 4 medals - team gold, gold on Vault, silver on the Floor and the All-Around bronze. It was a huge accomplishment for the young athlete in an Olympic Games that revolved around the duel between her teammate Elena Shushunova and Romania's star Daniela Silivaş.
However, the joy from her success would be short-lived. Boginskaya's long-time coach Lyubov Miromanova committed suicide just three days after the Olympics. Miromanova had been a surrogate mother to her, as she coached and cared for Boginskaya since she moved from Minsk to train full-time in Moscow. Boginskaya has always been reluctant to discuss this devastating time in her life. To this day, the reason for Miromanova's suicide remains a mystery. A heartbroken Boginskaya pressed on, and began training with a new coach, Ludmilla Popkovich. Under her tutelage, Boginskaya became World Champion in 1989 and later dedicated her performance to her late mentor. In 1990, Boginskaya became only the fourth woman to sweep the European Championships (after Larisa Latynina of the USSR in 1957, Věra Čáslavská of Czechoslovakia in 1965 and 1967, and Ludmilla Tourischeva of the USSR in 1973), winning the gold medal in every individual event. 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 fell short of defending her world title, losing the gold medal 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. Nevertheless, she was still a favorite to win the all-around title at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Gymnastics fans anticipated a duel between Boginskaya and her nemesis, American Kim Zmeskal. However, while Boginskaya won her third Olympic gold medal in the team competition, she finished fifth in the Individual All-Around. Zmeskal finished twelfth. Instead of the anticipated showdown between Boginskaya (who was awarded a controversially low score on the uneven bars) and Zmeskal (who faltered on floor and beam in the all-around), Tatiana Gutsu and Shannon Miller 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. She stunned audiences worldwide by competing with more difficult routines than ever before, and with an endlessly positive attitude. In 1996 the 23-year-old Boginskaya nearly won the European All-Around Title, placing second behind then defending World All-Around Champion (and future Olympic All-Around Champion) Lilia Podkopayeva of Ukraine. She then progressed to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta where she delighted the crowds and was one of a number of 'older' gymnasts competing. Boginskaya led her Belarus team to sixth place and competed in the all-around and vault finals, though medals were not forthcoming. Svetlana 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 and Oksana Chusovitina. (It should be noted, however, that Svetlana Boginskaya is the only one of the three-time Olympic participants in recent history to have competed when Compulsories were a requirement at each Olympic Game she participated in). She is one of only two gymnasts (the other being Oksana Chusovitina) to compete on three different Olympic teams: Soviet Union, Unified Team, and Belarus. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005.
After the 1992 Olympics, Boginskaya appeared alongside compatriot Vitaly Scherbo in the music video, "Revolution Earth," by The B-52's.
Today Boginskaya lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two children. She runs two businesses, an online gymnastics apparel retailer and a summer camp for gymnastics students, but she also considers herself a stay-at-home mother.
|1987||Rotterdam World Championships||3rd|
|1988||Seoul Olympic Games||1st||3rd||1st||2nd|
|1989||Brussels European Championships||1st||1st||1st|
|Stuttgart World Championships||1st||1st||1st|
|1990||Athens European Championships||1st||1st||1st||1st||1st|
|Seattle Goodwill Games||1st||2nd||1st|
|1991||Indianapolis World Championships||1st||2nd||1st|
|Arthur Gander Memorial||1st|
|Nantes European Championships||1st||5|
|Paris World Championships||2nd|
|Barcelona Olympic Games||1st||5||4||5|
|1996||International Mixed Pairs||1st|
|Birmingham European Championships||2nd|
|Atlanta Olympic Games||6||14||5|
1996 - "Mélodie D'amour" by Kaoma
|Olympic Vault Champions|
|Ekaterina Kalinchuk • Larisa Latynina • Margarita Nikolaeva • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Nellie Kim • Natalia Shaposhnikova • Ecaterina Szabo • Svetlana Boginskaya • Lavinia Miloşovici | Henrietta Ónodi • Simona Amânar • Elena Zamolodchikova • Monica Roşu • Hong Un-Jong • Sandra Izbaşa|
|World All-Around Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Galina Rudko • Larisa Latynina • Věra Čáslavská • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Elena Mukhina • Nellie Kim • Olga Bicherova • Natalia Yurchenko • Elena Shushunova | Oksana Omelianchik • Aurelia Dobre • Svetlana Boginskaya • Kim Zmeskal • Shannon Miller • Lilia Podkopayeva • Svetlana Khorkina • Maria Olaru • Svetlana Khorkina • Chellsie Memmel • Vanessa Ferrari • Shawn Johnson • Bridget Sloan • Aliya Mustafina • Jordyn Wieber • Simone Biles|
|World Balance Beam Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Keiko Tanaka • Larisa Latynina • Eva Bosáková • Natalia Kuchinskaya • Erika Zuchold • Nellie Kim • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Vera Cerna • Maxi Gnauck • Olga Mostepanova • Daniela Silivaş • Aurelia Dobre • Daniela Silivaş • Svetlana Boginskaya • Kim Zmeskal • Lavinia Miloşovici • Shannon Miller • Mo Huilan • Dina Kochetkova • Gina Gogean • Ling Jie • Andreea Răducan • Ashley Postell • Fan Ye • Nastia Liukin • Iryna Krasnianska • Nastia Liukin • Deng Linlin • Ana Porgras • Sui Lu • Aliya Mustafina • Simone Biles|
|World Floor Exercise Champions|
|Matylda Pálfyová • Helena Rakoczy • Tamara Manina • Eva Bosáková • Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kuchinskaya • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nellie Kim | Elena Mukhina • Emilia Eberle • Natalia Ilienko • Ecaterina Szabo • Oksana Omelianchik • Daniela Silivaş | Elena Shushunova • Daniela Silivaş | Svetlana Boginskaya • Cristina Bontaş • Kim Zmeskal • Shannon Miller • Dina Kochetkova • Gina Gogean • Gina Gogean | Kui Yuanyuan • Gina Gogean • Andreea Răducan • Elena Gómez • Daiane Dos Santos • Alicia Sacramone • Cheng Fei • Shawn Johnson • Beth Tweddle • Lauren Mitchell • Ksenia Afanasyeva • Simone Biles|
|European All-Around Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kot • Larisa Latynina • Marjana Bilic • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Tamara Lazakovich | Ludmilla Tourischeva • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Maxi Gnauck • Olga Bicherova • Elena Shushunova • Daniela Silivaş • Svetlana Boginskaya • Tatiana Gutsu • Gina Gogean • Lilia Podkopayeva • Svetlana Khorkina • Alina Kozich • Marine Debauve • Vanessa Ferrari • Ksenia Semenova • Anna Dementyeva • Aliya Mustafina • Giulia Steingruber|
|European Vault Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kot • Ute Starke • Solveig Egman • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Ludmilla Tourischeva | Angelika Hellmann • Nellie Kim • Nadia Comăneci • Cristina Grigoraş • Olga Bicherova • Elena Shushunova • Svetlana Boginskaya • Tatiana Gutsu • Lavinia Miloşovici • Simona Amânar • Adrienn Varga • Simona Amânar • Natalia Ziganshina • Monica Roşu • Francesca Benolli • Anna Grudko • Carlotta Giovannini • Oksana Chusovitina • Ariella Kaeslin • Ekaterina Kurbatova • Sandra Izbaşa • Giulia Steingruber • Maria Paseka • Giulia Steingruber|
|European Uneven Bars Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Polina Astakhova • Thea Belmer • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Tamara Lazakovich • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Nadia Comăneci | Elena Mukhina • Elena Mukhina • Maxi Gnauck • Ecaterina Szabo • Elena Shushunova | Oksana Omelianchik • Daniela Silivaş • Henrietta Ónodi • Svetlana Boginskaya | Natalia Kalinina | Mirela Paşca • Tatiana Gutsu • Svetlana Khorkina • Svetlana Khorkina | Simona Amânar | Lilia Podkopayeva • Svetlana Khorkina • Émilie Le Pennec • Beth Tweddle • Dariya Zgoba • Ksenia Semenova • Beth Tweddle • Viktoria Komova • Aliya Mustafina • Becky Downie • Daria Spiridonova • Becky Downie|
|European Balance Beam Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Věra Čáslavská • Polina Astakhova • Eva Rydell • Věra Čáslavská • Karin Janz • Tamara Lazakovich • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Elena Mukhina • Natalia Shaposhnikova • Maxi Gnauck • Lavinia Agache • Oksana Omelianchik • Daniela Silivaş • Gabriela Potorac | Olesya Dudnik • Svetlana Boginskaya • Gina Gogean • Roza Galiyeva • Yevgeniya Kuznetsova • Svetlana Khorkina • Ludmila Ezhova • Cătălina Ponor • Yulia Lozhechko • Ksenia Semenova • Yana Demyanchuk • Amelia Racea • Anna Dementyeva • Cătălina Ponor • Larisa Iordache • Maria Kharenkova • Andreea Munteanu • Aliya Mustafina|
|European Floor Exercise Champions|
|Larisa Latynina • Polina Astakhova • Larisa Latynina • Marjana Bilic • Věra Čáslavská • Olga Karasyova • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Maria Filatova | Elena Mukhina • Nadia Comăneci • Maxi Gnauck • Lavinia Agache • Elena Shushunova • Daniela Silivaş • Daniela Silivaş | Svetlana Boginskaya • Lilia Podkopayeva • Lilia Podkopayeva | Lavinia Miloşovici • Corina Ungureanu • Ludivine Furnon • Alona Kvasha • Cătălina Ponor • Isabelle Severino • Sandra Izbaşa • Vanessa Ferrari • Sandra Izbaşa • Beth Tweddle • Sandra Izbaşa • Larisa Iordache • Ksenia Afanasyeva • Larisa Iordache | Vanessa Ferrari • Ksenia Afanasyeva • Giulia Steingruber|