Diliana Gueorguieva (BUL)
Tribute courtesy of Robin Catalano
One of the finest gymnasts ever
produced in the Bulgarian system, Diliana Gueorguieva was born on
February 18, 1965. A native of Pazardjik, Gueorguieva began her
career at the world-renowned Levski club before being selected
for the Bulgarian National Team.
Because of the team depth in
Bulgarian gymnastics, Gueorguieva didn't have the opportunity to
score her first major win until the relatively late age of 18. At
the 1983 World Championships in Strasbourg, France, Gueorguieva
stunned her more experienced teammates by winning the gold medal
in the all-around, despite a small hoop drop. In apparatus finals
she again won titles for her precise yet frenetic rock 'n' roll
clubs and modern ribbon. In 1984 Gueorguieva would drop slightly
in the standings, placing 3rd at the European Championships.
However, she would be golden on clubs and ribbon yet again. The
Eastern-bloc boycott of the Olympic Games certainly must have
been devastating to Gueorguieva, the athlete most likely to have
won the overall prize. Nevertheless, she persevered, picking up
her second world all-around title at the 1985 World
Championships. She also shined in event finals, taking bronze for
ball and gold for ribbon and yet another rock-themed clubs
Gueorguieva became known for her
exciting, skill-packed exercises and interpretive flair. Her
tricky 1983 clubs to a Mozart-meets-Elvis Presley medley set a
new standard of difficulty in the sport, while her sensational
1983 ball to Bach's Toccata and Fugue dared other gymnasts to
show more passion in their performances. Another emotional ball
routine from 1985, choreographed to Rodrigo's Concierto de
Aranjuez, demonstrated Gueorguieva's unique relationship to the
apparatus. Her work was always exact and extremely fast, and
always exquisitely dramatic.
In December of 1985, Diliana
Gueorguieva retired from rhythmic gymnastics and married
Bulgarian pentathlon champion Vladimir Klintcharov. Gueorguieva's
teammate Iliana Raeva served as her
matron of honor. The couple have three children, daughter Boiana and sons Victor and Alex. The family lived in New Zealand for many years, where Gueorguieva worked as the coach of the National Team.
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