Grace. Elegance. Perfection. These are the words most often associated with the name of Tatiana Drutchinina, one of the many Soviet standouts of the mid-1980s. Although she never attained a World all-around title, Drutchinina finished high in the standings in every competition she entered and holds one of the most consistent records ever: 6th AA at the 1984 Europeans, 6th AA at the 1985 Worlds (3rd clubs, 4th with rope and ribbon), 4th at the 1986 Europeans (1st on ball, 4th with rope and clubs), 1st at the 1986 Goodwill Games (1st rope, ball, and ribbon), and 6th at the 1987 World Championships (1st with ribbon).
The petite Soviet, whose sister was also involved in the sport, was known for her excellent flexibility and clean technique. Her leaps and jumps soared and her body technique was flawless. Rarely did she count a major error, despite a high level of difficulty and the willingness to take risks in every exercise. Her quick, dramatic hoop routine always caused gasps of amazement when she executed a high toss to rapid-fire double roll to catch between her upper arms in a back arch on the floor -- all within the last few notes of her music. Along with her dual-competitor teammate Anna Kotchneva, Drutchinina also performed in the Soviet group exercises.
With the rise of teammates Marina Lobatch and Alexandra Timochenko, Drutchinina decided to retire shortly after the 1987 World Championships. Following the 1988 Olympic Games, Drutchinina joined fellow gymnasts Elena Shushunova and Yuri Korolyov in forming gymnastics exhibitions. However, the concept did not catch on with sponsors or the public, and after only two performances their venture folded.
Around this time, Tatiana fell in love with pairs figure skater Artur Dmitriev, who has the distinction of being the only male skater to have won two Olympic titles with two different partners (with Natalia Mishkutenok in 1992 and Oksana Kazakova in 1998). In 1993, Drutchinina gave birth to the couple's only son, Artur. They now live in a large St. Petersburg, Russia, apartment, which Dmitriev is said to have renovated himself. According to International Gymnast magazine, Tatiana works as an ice skating choreographer.
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© 1999-2002. This page was created on March 25, 1999 and last updated on December 22, 1999.