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 exercise.

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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1999-2002. This page was created on September 20, 1999.


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