Natalia Garcia opens up about her gymnastics career

Natalia Garcia (ESP)

Natalia Garcia Timofeeva is a Spanish rhythmic gymnast who was born in Barcelona but her roots are Russian. Natalia Garcia and Polina Berezina were the gymnasts selected by Spanish National Federation to represent Spain in the World Cup Series. They mission was get a spot for Olympic Games in Tokyo, which was not possible.

Both Polina and Natalia declared that they were in the last months training non-stop. This season was really hard.

“I think I would not repeat this in my whole life. It was really hard for me. I don’t wish this to anyone. You can’t image how difficult this path to Olympics was. I tried to be on my best physical condition for European Championships. The day after the EC, I couldn’t even move, I was in too much pain. In my case, I needed to show that I was on top, many gymnasts were fighting to represent Spain in the international competitions.”

Natalia suffered from a few injuries during her gymnastics career. For the last years, she needed to adapt her trainings and warm-ups and decrease the level of her daily trainings. She underwent twice surgery (double hip) in 2017. After this, she got injured again.

I felt really alone. In the past, I had a team working for me and now, I don’t. My whole team suddenly changed. That’s why I use social media to promote and publish brands, because of money. I lived alone in Barcelona, my family lives in French Guyana, really far from me. My parents could not help me so I have learned to get by rathen than how to work, simply making a living.

I describe myself as a fighter.

“It is really easy to give opinions of an athlete, but the only ones that know the truth are family, coaches and team. People on social media was quite mean to me. Instagram is not my real life, it is just a tool to publish the best of yourself and what you really want to show of your privacy. I just use this app to get money”

Natalia spent last year some months in Russia for improve their exercises. My mother and grandmother were successful sportswomen in Russia and helped me to train with great coaches from this country. We were working from them since 2018. They are Ekaterina Pankova and Ekaterina Dementyeva.

Ekaterina Pankova was focused on her daily work and Dementyeva on her artistic exercises and choreographies. Monica Viñals, who was also her first coach, is now working with Natalia.

Natalia also designs her own leotards.

I am inspired of high couture designs or even dresses that I see on the red carpet. Then, I speak with the people that is going to sew it and my coaches, who advise me.”

Natalia Garcia wants to retire this year and wants to finish her gymnastics career in Spain.

“I feel really tired and I think my body needs to stop doing rhythmic gymnastics. Anyway I plan to do masterclasses and I have many projects related to rhythmic gymnastics.”

Source: Podcast on Spotify “La Zancada”

Linoy Ashram becomes Olympic Champion in Tokyo 2021

Linoy Ashram (ISR)

Israel’s top rhythmic gymnast made history for her country becoming the first Olympic Champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She is also the first sportswoman that has won a medal in Olympic Games for Israel.

Linoy Ashram told to the press in Tokyo that she worked a lot with her coach for becoming a champion. She couldn’t be happier for this gold medal.

“I was just focused on a good execution of my routines. I tried to do my best. I was not thinking about the scores, positions or even medals. I wanted to show all of my work”.


Linoy had a mistake during her last routine (ribbon). This drop gave a chance to other gymnast, like Dina Averina, to win the Olympic gold medal. This fact, built a big controversy around the scores and the judgement during the Olympic final. Russian press also have labeled the judgement as unfair.

“I had a mistake with ribbon. I think it was because I knew this was my last routine and I was nervous. After this routine, I started crying with my coach. We were really happy, since we knew I would have a medal. My coach was really proud of me. This moment was so emotional”

Ashram didn’t confirm to the press if she will continue her sports career. She will take a break for holidays and then, think about the future.

Rhythmic Gymnastics Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Summer Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were full of surprises. The top favorites for winning a medal were Dina and Arina Averina (RUS) and Linoy Ashram from Israel. Ashram could have never managed to win a major All-Around against the Russian twins, who seemed to be unbeatable. In spite of being third at the all-around qualification, Linoy beat Dina Averina in her last performance. Dina could not reach the score of 24.151 needed for gold medal.

GOLD: Linoy Ashram (ISR)

SILVER: Dina Averina (RUS)

BRONZE: Alina Harnasko (BLR)

Linoy Ashram (ISR)

“I just said to myself, ‘it’s a new day. What happened yesterday happened, just go to the carpet and do your best. I tried not to think about anything. I knew I could win a medal but I didn’t know which colour. Now it’s gold.”

Linoy Ashram (ISR)
Alina Harnasko (BLR)

The bronze medal went for Alina Harnasko (BLR).

“Overall, I’m happy about my performance, the last two days were very difficult for me […] and the finals were very emotional.”

These results generate a big discussion in Rhythmic Gymnastics social media, since some followers think that Dina Averina should have won the gold medal.

“I wasn’t expecting gold, but I was working hard. I knew I had a chance. I knew that if I did my Ribbon routine without any mistakes, I would be able to get a high score. But it didn’t happen.”

Dina Averina (RUS)
Dina Averina (RUS)

On the other hand, Bulgaria its first Olympic Gold Medal in Rhythmic Gymnastics. Since 2000, Russia were the reigning champions in groups. This is Bulgaria’s fourth Olympic Group medal in Rhythmic Gymnastics, (they won silver in 1996 and bronzes in 2004 and 2016). Only Russia and Spain are the only nations to have won gold in Group.

Russian gymnast, Anastasiia Bliznyuk made history, becoming the most decorated Rhythmic athlete. This is her third Olympic medal after Group golds in 2012 and 2016, and silver in Tokyo 2020.

Bulgarian Senior Group

GOLD: Bulgaria

SILVER: ROC (Russia)

BRONZE: Italy

With Anastasiia Bliznyuk, Olympians Anastasiia Tatareva and Anastasiia Maksimenko from Russia, earned their second medal.

Anastasiia Bliznyuk

Ukraine’s Vlada Nikolchenko is ready to compete at European Champions

One of the top gymnasts from Ukraine in the last years, Vlada Nikolchenko, is back after suffering from health problems. The decision was determined last weekend by Irina Deriugina after the control training of the Ukrainian Rhythmic Gymnastics Team.

Vlada was recovering from COVID-19 consequences that made the gymnast stop training for a few weeks. It was quite clear that Khrystina Pohranychna and Viktoriia Onopriienko were the ones selected for representing Ukraine at Europeans, but it was a last time minute decision including Vlada in this competition.

Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)

Team Ukraine for European Championships 2021 in Varna, Bulgaria are:

Junior group: Elizaveta Nabivach, Valeriya Panchenko, Snezhana Oschipko, Alina Pertseva, Karina Sydorak.

Karina Sydorak, who represented Ukraine as an individual junior gymnast at 2020 European Championships is now in the junior group

Individual Senior Gymnasts are:

Khrystina Pohranychna, Viktoriia Onopriienko and Vlada Nikolchenko

Senior Group are:

Yeva Meleshchuk, Anastasiia Voznyak, Daryna Duda, Diana Baeva, Alina Mel’nik and Maryola Bodnarchuk.

Yeva Meleshchuk is now representing Ukraine in the group category

List of Individual Gymnasts qualified for Tokyo Olympic Games

Sabina Tashkenbaeva (UZB)

The International Gymnastics Federation confirmed after the conclusion of World Cup Series the participants for Olympic Games. Ekaterina Vedeneeva (Serbia) and Sabina Tashkenbaeva (Uzbekistan) are qualified via the World Cup Series. Their spot is a nominative quota. Japan, has got also a non-nominative spot.

There is still place for an European, Asian, Oceanian and American gymnasts, which are yet to decide. Africa already confirmed the gymnast qualified via African Championships, Habiba Marzouk from Egypt. The Olympic Committe already released that Marcia Alves Lopes from Cape Verde should go to Olympic Games.

Salome Pazhava (GEO)

The countries that already qualified for the Olympics Games, regarding Individual Senior Gymnasts are:

  • Russia with two spots. They will compete as “Russian Olympic Committee”.
  • Israel with two spots.
  • Bulgaria with two spots.
  • Ukraine with two spots.
  • Italy with two spots.
  • United Stated with two spots.
  • Belarys with two spots.
  • Azerbaijan one spot.
  • Japan with two spots.
  • Ekaterina Vedeeneva from Serbia.
  • Sabina Tashkenbaeva from Uzbekistan.
  • Habiba Marzouk from Egypt.

At the moment, only six places are open:

  • One from Europe
  • One from Oceania
  • One from Asia
  • One from America
  • Reallocated spot from host country.
  • Tripartite invitation place

The spot from the host country at the moment goes from Salome Pazhava (GEO) and, the one from Tripartire invitation rolls to Marcia Alves Lopes from Cape Verde.

Kaho Minagawa (JPN)

National Team of Russia 2021

The list of members of the Russian national rhythmic gymnastics team for 2021 is already published.


Senior Individual Team
  • Arina Averina
  • Dina Averina
  • Ekaterina Selezneva
  • Anastasiya Guzenkova
  • Lala Kramarenko
  • Mariya Pobedushkina
  • Dariia Trubnikova
  • Anastasiia Simakova
Arina Averina
Dina Averina
Ekaterina Selezneva
Daria Trubnikova
Anastasiia Guzenkova
Lala Kramarenko
Senior Individual Team: Reserve
  • Polina Orlova
  • Irina Annenkova
  • Anna Strashko
  • Dariia Pridannikova
  • Irina Annenkova
  • Maria Sergeeva
  • Dariia Sergeeva
  • Anna Sokolova
  • Kristyna Telyatnikova

Irina Annenkova
Mariia Sergeeva
Senior Group 
  • Anna Batasova
  • Anastasiia Maksimova
  • Evgeniya Levanova
  • Anastasiia Bliznyuk
  • Dana Semirenko
  • Aleksandra Semibratova
  • Alisa Tishchenko
  • Angelina Shkatova
  • Mariia Tolkacheva
  • Amina Haldarova
  • Anzhelika Stubaylo
  • Anastasiia Shishmakova
Anastasiia Bliznyuk
Junior Individual Team
  • Olga Karaseva
  • Sofiia Agafonova
  • Sofiia Nikeeva
  • Vladislava Nikolaenko
  • Diana Simoshina
  • Ekaterina Panteleeva
  • Anastasiia Sergeva
  • Aleksandra Skubova
  • Amina Spineva
  • Anastasiia Tatareva
  • Anna Popova
Diana Simoshina
Sofiia Agafonova
Junior Groups

  • Anna Grosh
  • Evgeniya Azeva
  • Dariia Kazakova
  • Olga Izotova
  • Sofiia Yakovleva
  • Vitaliya Yushkova
  • Alina Rusanova
  • Sofiia Sharypina
  • Elizaveta Tatareva
  • Kseniya Rodykina
  • Nonna Nyanina

Results and Irina Viner’s impressions of 3rd International Online Tournament 2020

Arina Averina (RUS)

The third international tournament ended with the triumph of Russian Team. It was a great option to all teams that do not want to risk the health of their children and their coaches, but still want to compete. Each new edition there are more and more participating countries, both in number and in composition. One of the strongest gymnast from Bulgaria, Katrin Taseva, took part in this tournament and took third place in the all-around competition. Ekaterina Selezneva is increasing her physical shape since she was ill and still recovering. Daria Trubnikova and Diana Simoshina are in the same situation, that’s why they didn’t compete in the 3rd International Online Tournament. On the other hand, Sofia Agafonova, was diagnosed with a stress fracture.

Daria Trubnikova (RUS)

Sofia could, of course, perform on painkillers, but we did not risk it, because the girl is still a junior.  Therefore, we decided not to risk her health. “

Irina Viner Usmanova said

Anastasiya Guzenkova tested positive in COVID and she spent 14 days in isolation. She was tested three times, hoping the first one was false positive. So it was with Simakova. But every time she had a positive result. Although outwardly she was absolutely healthy. Therefore, I just sat at home in quarantine, now everything is fine. 

Unfortunately, Covid indirectly greatly influenced, of course. We have never had so many injuries.

Explained by Irina Viner Usmanova
Anastasiya Guzenkova

What is your opinion about the Senior Russian Team?

This is an established team, they are a mountain for each other, they understand each other perfectly, they are very motivated, they are very good children. But, unfortunately, their program leaves much to be desired in terms of difficulty. However, they are ready. Some have been ill with covid, some were injured, because they still have an adult program. We made it easier precisely so that they could do it in the composition in which they are now. They performed pretty well. But yesterday, by the way, their coaches wrote to me that they would not be responsible for their performance. Because their training was not compatible, first of all, with injuries. I made a decision that they will still perform, because they have been preparing so much … Otherwise, it would not be right. And it could hit their nerves so that they would take a very long time to recover. We talked and decided that they would perform. 

What is your opinion about the Italian and Bulgarian Team?

Italians, like us and refused to participate in the European Championship. The Bulgarians did not go with the group exercise either. A girl in Bulgaria immediately after Kiev fell ill, the judges fell ill, other children in different countries fell ill. I refused in July, I understood everything.  They gathered everyone and even asked if they could take gymnasts from one team and move them to another team. Everything is possibe!

Ekaterina Selezneva (RUS)

An International Tournament, “Moscow Cup” will be held on December 17th. Some gymnasts will perform once again except for Arina and Dina. And the group will also perform. In February, if everything goes well, the Grand Prix of Moscow will be online.

Full Results of 3rd International Online Tournament

Irina Viner, winner of the prize “Coach of the Year”

Irina Viner-Usmanova, president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, received the Prize of Russia prize in the “Coach of the Year” in Russia at a ceremony held by the Russian Ministry of Sports. The National Sports Award was founded by the government of the Russian Federation in 2010.

The winners are awarded with this title of laureate win a prize of 1 million rubles. Eleven people were nominated for this award. Team Russia did participate in the 2020 European Championships. European Championships of Kiev was not a part of the Olympic Qualification Proccess. Russia was already qualified.

Lala Kramarenko

Source: TASS Agency

Gymnast’s sensations after European Championships

Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)

Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)

“This is my second big competition for 2020. We officially close the season. It was a very strange and different year. Although we did not have normal training and we constantly had to interrupt, we left for this race with a great desire to compete and show that we can and will fight for medals. I want to thank all the people who were by my side and helped me get through this difficult time. I know that this was definitely not my maximum and I am ready to work 24/7 to achieve together the result that so many people work and dream about!

Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)

Yeva Meleschuk (UKR)

I always do everything that is important for me with love❤️ and these wonderful emotions of happiness and pride to represent Ukraine at our European Championship in Kiev will remain in my memory forever✨ No matter how difficult the training path was, I knew that I was where I should be and where you wait me, love and support me! Let the Championship be without public, but thanks to the incredible work of everyone in organizing these competitions, that each of you could live this celebration of sport with us! And I want to say thank you to all our coaches, doctors, photographers, fans, because we are one team, we are Team Ukraine and we are making history together”

Yeva Meleshchuk (UKR)

Ireesha Blohina (UKR)

“This is a historic medal for out team”

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WHOLE TEAM & COUNTRY WINNING TEAM ALL ROUND GOLD MEDAL!!!!

Team Ukraine

Alina Harnasko (BLR)

“I am very happy! I can’t believe this is real!”

Alina Harnasko (BLR)

Anastasiia Salos (BLR)

“Thank you all so much for your support and faith in me!”

Anastasiia Salos (BLR)

Karina Sydorak (UKR)

“This is the end of my first European Championships.These were unforgettable impressions and emotions. We have been waiting for this event for a long time. Thank you to all organizers and sponsors who never let me give up, always help me in difficult moments, rejoice for me and love me. And finally, thank you to everyone who cared and believed for me. The main thing is to believe and work hard, then dreams come true!”

Karina Sydorak (UKR)

Daria Atamanov (ISR)

“My first European Championship is done! I want to say a huge thank you to my amazing coaches who were by my side all the way and helped me achieve these results. This is my first time in a competition of this magnitude.”

Daria Atamanov (ISR)

Linoy Ashram (ISR)

“After a whole year of uncertainty about what is going to happen whether there will be an Olympics or not, whether there will be a European Championship or not, I am so happy that I have finally returned to a place I missed so much and have been waiting for so long and it is the competition surface. I did not go through this difficult and challenging period alone I received tremendous support from so many people who made sure I could continue to keep myself and fit.”

Linoy Ashram (ISR)

Melaniia Tur (UKR)

“I am overwhelmed with emotions … It was the most exciting, unforgettable and generally the coolest competition of the year! I can’t imagine myself with this medal (gold). Irina Ivanovna Deriugina, you are really the kind of person who knows how to support, praise, and put you on your feet. Your faith in me makes you move on and not relax! And I want to say so that everyone hears that despite all the difficulties and obstacles, I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE UP! So, with renewed vigor and spirit – let’s continue working!”

Melaniia Tur (UKR)

Polina Karika (UKR)

“I still can’t believe it … I am grateful to everyone who supported, helped, supported me and believed in me. Thank you for giving me a chance and believing in me to the last. I also want to say a huge thank you to all the coaching staff and my first coaches. And of course I want to thank my relatives who supported me in difficult times. It was a dream and it came true.”

Polina Karika (UKR)

Yelizaveta Zorkina (BLR)

“I want to say thank you very much for the preparation, for the moral support, for the patience and faith in me.”

Yelizaveta Zorkina (BLR)

Alona Hillel (ISR)

“Thank you so much to everyone my amazing coaches and the whole team. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my life and I am so happy that I got to this European Championship. Thank you so much for an amazing experience!”

Alona Hillel (ISR)

Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships 2020 Day 4 Photos II

Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)
Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)
Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)
Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Boryana Kaleyn (BUL)
Vlada Nikolchenko (UKR)
Yeva Meleschuk (UKR)
Yeva Meleschuk (UKR)