Elena Abrashitova (URS)

1989 USSR Championships: 5thAA
1989 USA vs USSR: 1st T, 7th AA
1989 Australian Grand Prix: 1st T, 4th AA, 2nd V
1990 USSR Championships: 6th AA
1990 Avignon International: 7th AA
1990 World Sports Fair: 2nd V

Results courtesy of Gymn Forum and television broadcasts

Photo used with the expressed permission of Sato Takeo of the OEFC Gymnastics Gallery

Elena Abrashitova was born on March 21, 1974. She began gymnastics in her native Ukraine (in the city of Kherson), eventually training under the guidance of Oleg Ostapenko (the current head coach of the Ukrainian team) and alongside Natalia Kalinina (1990 Goodwill Games champion) and Tatiana Lysenko (1990 World cup champion, 1992 Olympic beam champion, etc.). These three girls trained together for seven years, and in those years they formed a strong friendship bond.

Like many young up-and-coming gymnasts, Abrashitova's "big break" came  in a post-Olympic year. With the end of an Olympics, one normally sees a number of retirements, this allowing the next generation of gymnasts to make an impact on their National teams. Interestingly enough however, Soviet gymnastics saw few retirements following Seoul. All six Olympians resumed training for the 1989 season, with all but Elena Shushunova competing throughout the 1989 season (and Laschenova and Boguinskaia into the 1990s). In other words, Abrashitova's rise within the Soviet national team in 1989 is no less impressive given that it occurred in the year immediately following the Olympics. 

Abrashitova's 5th place finish at the 1989 USSR Championships earned her the opportunity to compete abroad several times that year. Her appearance at the 1989 Konica Australian Grand Prix is perhaps the best known of these appearances, for unlike the 1989 USA vs USSR meet, which only aired her balance beam routine, Abrashitova was actually given decent air time during the Australian Grand Prix! 

In Brisbane, Abrashitova teamed up with Natalia Laschenova and Elena Shevchenko. To no one's surprise, the trio easily took home the team gold medal. Although the "table setter" for the team, she was clearly one of the better athletes at this meet. All of her routines showed that impeccable Soviet form and style, with her floor routine (to "Flight of the Bumble Bee") showing the brilliant choreographer that we all came to expect from Soviets. While her more experienced teammates did earn more individual glories at this meet, Abrashitova placed a very respectable 4th AA and 2nd on vault - pretty good for a newcomer to international competition! 

Abrashitova performed well in the 1990 USSR Championships, placing 6th overall. Actually, the girls from Kherson really blew the field away that year - three of the top 6 were from Kherson! (Kalinina - 1st AA,  Lysenko - 4th AA and Abrashitova - 5th AA). Away from home, Abrashitova competed in France's Avignon International (7th AA) and Japan's World Sports Fair (2nd V). 

Following retirement, Abrashitova enrolled in university. Former training partners Lysenko and Kalinina would eventually join her at Kiev State University.  In late 1994 or 1995, Abrashitova married Alexandr (Sasha), a bronze medallist in freestyle water skiing from the sport's European Championships. The couple moved to Sevastopol, a city in southwest Ukraine on the Crimean peninsula and harbouring the Black Sea. In 1998 the couple had their first child.

Many thanks to Tatiana Lysenko for updating me about Abrashitova's life.

. This page was created on March 23, 2000 and last updated March 28, 2000.


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