Andrea Sinko (HUN)
Tribute courtesy of Robin Catalano

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 Grand Prix.

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.

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1999-2002. This page was created on September 20, 2000 and last updated on October 3, 2000.

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