About Svetlana Boguinskaia

Svetlana Leonidovna Boguinskaia (also spelled Boguinskaya, Boginskaia, Boguinkaia; born February 9, 1973 in Minsk) is a Soviet/Belarusian gymnast. She was called the "Belarusian Swan" and the "Goddess of Gymnastics" due to her height, balletic grace, and long lines. She is especially renowned for the drama and artistry she displayed on floor exercise. Boguinskaya competed in three Olympic Games representing three different teamsthe Soviet Union in 1988, the Commonwealth of Independent States Unified Team in 1992, and Belarus in 1996. Boguinskaya is a three-time Olympic Champion, winning gold medals in Vault in 1988, and Team All-Around golds in 1988 and 1992.

Boguinskaya was a figure skater for several years, but began gymnastics at age eight. 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 World Championships in 1987. 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, a gold on Vault, a silver on the Floor and the All-Around bronze medal -- but her two golds were disappointing to the Soviets.

Three days after the Olympics, Boguinskaia's coach, Lyobov Miromanova, committed suicide. Miromanova had coached and cared for Boguinskaia since she moved from Minsk to train full-time in Moscow.

Training with a new coach, Luidmilla Popkovich, Boguinskaya became World Champion in 1989.

In 1990, Boguinskaya became the first, and to date only, woman to sweep the European Gymnastics Championships, winning gold medals 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, Boguinskaya 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 All-Around and Balance Beam competitions.

In 1992, Boguinskaya, then 19 years old, won her third Olympic gold medal, this one in the Team All-Around competition. She finished fifth in the Individual All-Around event, an identical placement to her 1992 European Championship result. Four years later, a 23 year old Boguinskaya 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 the Ukraine.

Svetlana Boguinskaya is one of only four women in gymnastics history to have competed in three Olympic games. She was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005.

Info taken from Wikipedia.