Mila Marinova might not have
become one of the celebrated Bulgarian world champions, but she
became something even more impressive: a multiple World and
European Championship medalist, top-notch coach, entrepreneur,
and one of the most notable comeback stories in the history of
Born June 3, 1974, Mila Marinova
showed star potential early on. At just 14 years old, the lively
Bulgarian took 1st place in the junior division of the 1988
Intervision Cup. She followed up with a silver medal in the
all-around of the 1989 Junior European Championships, and also
won gold medals with rope, hoop, and ball.
A native of Sofia, Marinova was a
fixture in the top international standings in 1990. She became
the Bulgarian National Champion, won the Julieta Shishmanova Cup,
came in 4th at the European Gymnastics Masters, and placed 2nd at
the Goodwill Games. She also began amassing a collection of
apparatus medals, including two golds and five silvers. At the
1991 Brother Cup she finished 4th in the all-around, then moved
up to third at the European Cup -- where she won golds for hoop
and ball and a silver for rope -- as well as at the European
The 1991 World Championships were
Marinova's test of skill. She performed superbly, but was simply
outdone by Oksana Skaldina and Alexandra Timochenko. Marinova
also took second with hoop and clubs and third with ball, but
couldn't erase her disappointment. Feeling that she wasn't making
enough progress, she retired and headed for the United States.
As a coach at International
Rhythmic Gymnastics in Jacksonville, Florida, Marinova helped
train several gymnasts onto the US National Team. She and her
husband now have a son, Jordan, and Marinova recently opened her
own Jacksonville gymnastics club called World Rhythmics by Mila.
In 1999, at the age of 25,
Marinova made a competitive comeback -- after 8 years of
retirement. She performed at the San Francisco Invitational,
where she placed 7th, and went on to finish 4th at the US
National Championships. Her signature flexibility, difficulty,
and fiery, aggressive style are still part of her gymnastics, but
Mila has also added a smooth, mature performance quality that was
lacking in her younger years. Many fans thought she couldn't
possibly top her classic, innovative 1990 hoop routine to Blues for Klook, but her dramatic 1999 ribbon and
blues-tinged, passionate 1999 ball certainly challenge that
Marinova was not able to compete
for her new country at the 1999 World Championships since she was
not yet a US citizen, but she is set to attain her citizenship at
the end of the year. She will definitely be a strong contender
for the 2000 US Olympic Team.
(January 22, 2001). Mila is working hard to increase public awareness of her
sport. Not only has Marinova been teaching youngsters at her own Florida gym -- World
Rhythmics opened its doors in 2000 -- but now she has taken her
"show" on the road to local schools. Most recently, Marinova's pupils
performed for the students of Lake Asbury Elementary School, where they were
such a hit that World Rhythmics received several new gym enrollments.
(February 27, 2001). Mila Marinova is reportedly weighing the choice of a
time-out or a full retirement. Since emigrating to the U.S. in 1993, Marinova,
26, has lent a hand in the training of several National Team members, as well as
the youngsters who practice at her new club, World Rhythmics in Jacksonville,
Florida. Despite Marinova's bronze-medal finish at the 2000 National
Championships and recent successes in exhibition performances, the Sofia,
Bulgaria, native is said to be scaling back her competitive schedule in order to
spend more time with her students and her two-year-old son, Jordan.
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© 1999-2002. This page was created on
October 29, 1999 and last updated on February 28, 2001.