There have been arguments if arbiters’ were prejudiced to Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina’s performance at Olympics, and for this reason she was not given the gold medal.
However, this issue does not matter much. Another fact is of more importance – Svetlana Khorkina was able to stay in sport despite her successful career in the theater and photo sessions for glossy magazines.
She is still a Champion despite having only a silver medal in Athens. Sports funs see that Khorkina confirmed her premium sports rating.
Russian team of female gymnasts was in the third position, and Svetlana got a bronze medal with the team. However, in the individual competition she got the silver medal.
There was criticism of the arbiters’ judgment at the individual competition. As for the team competition, the performance of Romanian and Chinese female gymnasts was of more complex technique than the Russian sportsmen (including Khorkina) performed. However, the problems of the arbiters’ judgment do not matter when speaking of the lady who opened a new era in the history of gymnastics. Sometimes a silver medal means as much as the gold one.
For the last 10 years, Svetlana did much for the Russian gymnastic team. Many times she had to take part in competitions when being traumatized, and she managed to win! Not only during the years when she was dominated in gymnastics. I mean the last 4 years. Any female sportsman from the Russian gymnastic team will tell you how Khorkina helped her in sport.
I also recall the period when Khorkina bravely entered the world of show business, and had even more courage to enter the world of theater. She was successful there! It seemed that she was supposed to quit gymnastics after becoming a celebrity, but she did not! “Your should perform for us!”, said her coaches and fans as we understood that there were no such strong gymnasts as Khorkina in the Russian team. Khorkina participated in competitions again and again, demonstrated first, second, third result, but in any case she WON.
Other famous Russian female sportsmen
To understand the heroic deed of Svetlana Khorkina, it is worthy to tell about several other Russian female sportsmen, for comparison.
Remember how another gymnast Alina Kabaeva entered show business. She got some spare time after disqualification from gymnastics. After being engaged in show business, Alina Kabaeva started turning into a magnificent woman from a slim girl, which is not good for a gymnast. Only enormous efforts of Alina and the chief coach for Russian team Irina Vinner, Kabaeva got a sportive figure again. However, these efforts do not guarantee Kabaeva success at the Olympics as Irina Chashina looks stronger than her. In any case, we will remember brilliant sportsman Kabaeva, but we cannot say that she started a new era in gymnastics.
There is one more famous female sportsman – Maria Kiseleva who was a world champion in synchronous swimming twice. She voluntarily bannеd herself from sport. After winning the Olympics, Maria became an anchor for Slaboe Zveno TV show. Then she and Olga Brusnichkina decided to return to sport. They returned, but lost at the Athens’ Olympics.
The most vivid example of contradiction between show business and sport is Anna Kurnikova. It is hard for me to call her a “tennis-player”. The girls is doing fine: she looks good and has money. The only problem, she does not handle a tennis rocket that good. Nobody can say she accomplished much in tennis.
It is hard to compare these ladies – beautiful, nice and sportive – with Svetlana Khorkina whose performance always causes deepest respect. I am writing on her with respect that Ms. Khorkina started a new epoch in gymnastics. It does not matter whether she got a medal or not.
Fiasco of Alexander Popov
Many reporters wrote that the Olympics in Athens finished the era of Alexander Popov in swimming. The famous sportsmen trained by Gennady Turetsky, who won at four Olympics, first was only the first in swimming 4х100 relay-race in free style for the Russian team, then Popov was not able to go into the final of the individual competition for swimmers at the distance of 100 meters, and finally he failed to get into the final for the distance of 50 meters.