The top-ranked Hungarian gymnast
of all time, Andrea Sinko triumphed over a lack of
reputation and an atypical body shape to become on of the best gymnasts
of the late 1980s. Her confidence and strong sense of personal style became
the hallmark of this excellent performer.
Sinko was born on February 11,
1967, in Budapest. Her first major competition was the
1983 World Championships, where she placed an unremarkable 34th. Not daunted
by the disappointing result, Sinko made the amazing climb to 14th the following
year at the European Championships, then finished 6th at the Debrecen
For the next couple of years she
would continue to place consistently, coming in 15th at
the 1985 World Championships, 16th at the 1986 European Championships,
and 9th at the 1986 Studentska Tribune International.
In 1987, Sinko had an amazingly
successful World Championships. While placing 7th in the
all-around she qualified to all four event finals, where she finished
7th with rope, 5th with hoop, 5th with clubs, and 7th with ribbon. She
also came in 5th at the MDZ Cup, and notched a bronze medal in the all-around
at the Debrecen Grand Prix.
A jump to 4th at Corbeil in 1988
was impressive enough, but Sinko followed up with four
medals at that meet (bronze with rope, clubs, and ribbon and silver with
hoop). With her confidence boosted, Sinko elected to sit out European Championships
while preparing for the Olympics.
At the 1988 Olympics, Sinko wasn't
part of the duel for the medals -- but in her best-ever
performance, the Hungarian grace raced up the rankings into 6th behind
the Soviet-Bulgarian block and Spaniard Maria Isabel
Lloret. The 21-year-old
Sinko, Hungary's 6-time national champion, seemed even happier with
her result than the medalists themselves.
Andrea Sinko, whose small build
was the opposite of the long-and-leggy gymnasts who
usually populate rhythmic, managed to overcome her uncommon look and
weak team reputation with quick, tidy apparatus work and a determined style.
Her best exercises combine her precise handling skills with light dance
and plucky expression. An excellent example is her 1988 rock 'n' roll hoop,
a routine performed with textbook apparatus technique despite the great
amount of risk. Her 1988 Spanish-style rope, which showcased
speedy one-handed work and an eye-catching leap series,
was the highlight of her program.
Not surprisingly, the dedicated
Sinko stuck with rhythmic after her retirement; she began coaching youngsters
even before her competitive days were over, including a stint at the
prestigious club Spartacus SC. She later turned her attention to sports
aerobics, and she was one of the founders of the Hungarian Aerobic Federation.
She served as the National Coach and choreographer of the Hungarian Sports
Aerobics Team for eight years, during which time she not only coached Miss
Fitness and sports aerobics competitors but also helped raise the Hungarian
team from obscurity to world champion status. In fact, Sinko's athletes have
won five gold medals in World Championship competition, and in 1998 she was
voted the most successful international coach and choreographer.
Sinko and her husband, pentathlon
champion Laszlo Beres, moved to the United States in 1999, and she now divides
her time between their home in Texas and her coaching post in Budapest. She has
just released her second fitness video, a combination of kickboxing and
aerobics. The couple has a 6-year-old daughter, Vivien.