Power in beauty
Rhythmic gymnastics is a difficult sport, involving unbelievable stretching and head-spinning combinations
By Vladimir Dmitriev
There are lots of secret moves, which can be used to claim victory, so mere talent is not enough. Any girl claiming gold needs to be an actress, a strategist and, even, a politician. Against this background, the success of the Belarusian beauties is hugely impressive. Only they (and coaches Irina Leparskaya and Tatiana Nenasheva) know how much effort is involved. The squad has been winning medals for 16 years, despite this graceful sport being among the most capricious.
The girls brought two medals home from Beijing and repeated their result in London. Lyubov Cherkashina also took an individual bronze. Lacking the phenomenal talent of Yevgenia Kanaeva, who gained her second Olympic gold in London, the Belarusian nevertheless showed her determination! Performing last, with the ribbon, she began to cry even before leaving the floor.
The group exercise silver followed a dramatic journey, as the girls were only placed fourth after their initial round. On appearing for the second time, they surpassed the Italians, Spaniards and Bulgarians, although it was clear that the Russians would take gold. Laughing through their tears, the girls told us, “When you’ve being training your whole life and your destiny depends on a few minutes, it can be very difficult to refocus. However, we coped with the pressure and can now congratulate one another from the heart!”