Yelena Shushunova

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Yelena Lvovna Shushunova (Russian: Елена Львовна Шушунова; sometimes spelled Elena Shushunova; 23 May 1969 – 16 August 2018) was a Soviet Russian gymnast.[1][2][3] Shushunova was one of five women (alongside Larisa Latynina, Věra Čáslavská, Ludmilla Tourischeva and Lilia Podkopayeva) who have won all-around titles at all major competitions: Olympics, World Championships and European/Continental Championships[4] and one of ten women who medaled on every event at World Championships. Shushunova was renowned for pioneering complex skills as well as for her explosive and dynamic tumbling and high consistency.[5]

Yelena Shushunova
Yelena Shushunova 1987.jpg
Shushunova in 1987
Personal information
Full nameYelena Lvovna Shushunova
Alternative name(s)Elena Shushunova
Country represented Soviet Union
Born(1969-05-23)23 May 1969
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died16 August 2018(2018-08-16) (aged 49)
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Height1.47 m (4 ft 10 in)
Weight41 kg (90 lb)
DisciplineWomen's artistic gymnastics
Years on national team1981–88 (URS)
ClubSKA St. Petersburg
MusicTwo Guitars - Russian Gypsy Music
Retired25 September 1988
Medal record
Representing  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Olympic rings.svg
Gold medal – first place 1988 Seoul Team
Gold medal – first place 1988 Seoul All-around
Silver medal – second place 1988 Seoul Balance beam
Bronze medal – third place 1988 Seoul Uneven bars
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1985 Montreal Team
Gold medal – first place 1985 Montreal All-around
Gold medal – first place 1985 Montreal Vault
Gold medal – first place 1987 Rotterdam Vault
Gold medal – first place 1987 Rotterdam Floor exercise
Silver medal – second place 1985 Montreal Floor exercise
Silver medal – second place 1987 Rotterdam Team
Silver medal – second place 1987 Rotterdam All-around
Silver medal – second place 1987 Rotterdam Balance beam
Bronze medal – third place 1985 Montreal Balance beam
Bronze medal – third place 1987 Rotterdam Uneven bars
World Cup Final
Gold medal – first place 1986 Beijing All-around
Gold medal – first place 1986 Beijing Vault
Gold medal – first place 1986 Beijing Uneven bars
Gold medal – first place 1986 Beijing Floor exercise
Bronze medal – third place 1986 Beijing Balance beam
Goodwill Games
Gold medal – first place 1986 Moscow Team
Gold medal – first place 1986 Moscow Vault
Gold medal – first place 1986 Moscow Uneven Bars
Gold medal – first place 1986 Moscow Floor Exercise
Silver medal – second place 1986 Moscow All-Around
Silver medal – second place 1986 Moscow Balance Beam
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1985 Helsinki All-around
Gold medal – first place 1985 Helsinki Vault
Gold medal – first place 1985 Helsinki Uneven bars
Gold medal – first place 1985 Helsinki Floor exercise
Gold medal – first place 1987 Moscow Vault
Bronze medal – third place 1985 Helsinki Balance beam
Bronze medal – third place 1987 Moscow All-around
Friendship Games
Gold medal – first place 1984 Olomouc Team
Bronze medal – third place 1984 Olomouc All-around

Junior careerEdit

Shushunova was born and grew up in Leningrad and began gymnastics when she was approximately six or seven years old.[4][6] She began competing as a junior gymnast in 1981.[3] In 1982, she won gold medals at the 1982 Moscow News (now known as Moscow Stars of the World) and the Junior European Championships. In 1983, she won the USSR Cup, which she won every year until 1988 with the exception of 1984.[3]

Senior careerEdit

Shushunova was named as a member of the Soviet national gymnastics team in 1984, but was unable to compete at the 1984 Summer Olympics as the Soviet Union boycotted the Olympics.[7] Instead, she competed at the 1984 Friendship Games in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia, where she finished third all around and helped the USSR to a gold in the team event.[4]

The following year Shushunova made her breakthrough by winning the all-around title at the European Championships.[7] She also won three gold medals in the event finals on vault, floor exercise, and uneven bars (which she shared with East German Olympian Maxi Gnauck). At the World Championships she won five medals including the all-around title, which she shared with compatriot Oksana Omelianchik. She took first on vault, third on beam, and second on floor. In her floor exercise she tumbled a double layout, and side Arabian 1 and 3/4 salto, both rare skills for women at that time; in fact, women are no longer allowed to compete saltos which end in a roll. Here she displayed her signature skill, a straddle jump to prone support, a rare and innovative move for the 1980s.[7]

Shushunova's dominance in women's gymnastics continued at the 1986 World Cup in Beijing. There she won the all-around, vault, uneven bars, and floor exercise titles. In this competition she displayed an increased level of difficulty on two apparatus, showing a Rulfova flic (full twisting Korbut flic) on balance beam and a tucked full in double salto dismount on the uneven bars.[4] At the 1986 Goodwill Games she led the Soviet team to a gold medal, but then fell twice in the all-around finals to finish second to teammate Vera Kolesnikova. She rallied in the event finals to take, once again, the vault, bars, and floor golds and the beam silver.[8]

In 1987, Shushunova lost the European title to Romanian Daniela Silivaș due to a fall on a double layout dismount from the uneven bars.[9] At the European Championships she earned a bronze in the all-around and a gold on vault.[4] She continued to show increased difficulty on all apparatus by competing a double layout dismount on the uneven bars, a layout Thomas salto on floor, and a full in dismount on beam. Later that year her team lost the World Championships team title, placing second to the Romanian team. Shushunova also lost the world title to Romanian Aurelia Dobre, finishing in second place.[7] In the event finals she retained her vault title with her textbook Yurchenko full and Yurchenko 1.5, beating Romanian Eugenia Golea. She also earned a bronze medal on the uneven bars.[7] Shushunova also earned silver on balance beam and tied with Daniela Silivas for gold on floor exercise.

1988 OlympicsEdit

In 1988, Shushunova competed at the Summer Olympics in Seoul. She scored three perfect scores of 10 in optional events and won the individual all-around and team event titles. She also won silver on balance beam and bronze on uneven bars. Shushunova fell on a double twisting Yurchenko on vault and failed to medal. She also failed to medal on floor exercise due to stumbling out of the landing of her opening full-in double back and falling out of her arabian 1 3/4 salto .[5][7]

Later lifeEdit

Shushunova retired from competition two months after the 1988 Olympics and later returned to her home city of Saint Petersburg, where she worked for the city's sports committee.[6] She helped to organise the gymnastics events of the 1994 Goodwill Games and 1998 European Championships, both of which were held in Saint Petersburg.[4]

In 2004, she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.[10] In the following year, she was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[7]

Eponymous skillsEdit

Apparatus Name Description Difficulty Notes
Uneven bars Shushunova Swing forward with half turn – further half turn to counter straddle in flight over high bar E [11][12]
Balance beam Shushunova Jump with stretched hips to planche (minimum 40 degree angle) C [11]

DeathEdit

Shushunova died from complications of pneumonia on 16 August 2018. She was 49.[13]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Умерла двукратная олимпийская чемпионка по спортивной гимнастике Елена Шушунова. ТАСС (in Russian). Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  2. ^ Rédaction. "L'ancienne gymnaste russe Elena Chouchounova est morte". L'ÉQUIPE (in French). Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Schenker, Béla. "Elena Shushunova". gymnast.bplaced.net. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Yelena Shushunova". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Yelena Shushunova | The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame". www.ighof.com. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b "GymnasticGreats.com: Whatever happened to Elena Shushunova?". 11 November 2010. Archived from the original on 11 November 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Yelena Shushunova. jewishsports.net
  8. ^ "International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame". www.jewishsports.net. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Olympic champion Yelena Shushunova passes away at 49". Olympic Channel | Articles. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  10. ^ "YELENA SHUSHUNOVA". International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, on August 16, 2018, Shushunova died from complications of pneumonia at age 49. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  11. ^ a b xxxxx. "1988 Olympic All Around Champion Elena Shushunova Dead, Aged 49". WOGymnastika. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  12. ^ "A Guide To Named Release Moves On Bars – Part 1". Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  13. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (16 August 2018). "Yelena Shushunova, 1988 Olympic all-around champion, dies at 49". NBC Sports. Retrieved 17 August 2018.

External linksEdit