Natalia Bobrova

1993 Worlds: 19th AA, 3rd FX
1993 Moscow Stars: 3rd AA
1995 Russian Cup: 3rd AA
1995 Worlds: 4th T

Results courtesy of Gymn Forum and Vecherny Novosibirsk

Photo used with the expressed permission of Shanfan

Natalia Bobrova was born on August 24, 1978 in Siberia, Russia. Whereas most gymnasts in Russia were chosen to train at very young ages based on body type and promise, it was Bobrova's persistence that resulted in her acceptance to the local gymnastics 

school. "To be honest, when she first came to train, I never imagined she would grow into a top-level gymnast," Bobrova's trainer told the Russian newspaper/magazine Vecherny Novosibirsk. "She reminded me of a round loaf of bread with two little braids. But as time went by, Natalia began to overtake her peers. Thanks to her natural talent and "springiness," as well as constant polishing of various gymnastics elements on the trampoline, she improved her execution of routines by an order of magnitude."

By 1993, Bobrova was ready to enter the ranks of elite competition. Her timing was perfect, for the break-up of the Soviet Union meant that gymnasts who once competed for the Soviet Union now competed for their home republics. The result was that far greater number of ex-Soviet gymnasts were permitted into competition. Had this not been the case, it is unlikely that Bobrova would have earned one of the three spots to the 1993 World Championships.

Bobrova's moment of glory in Birmingham (at the 1993 World Championships) came in the floor event finals. Due largely to her well constructed routine (Bobrova was the only gymnast in these finals with a full 10.0 SV), she was able to snatch the bronze medal. Individually she placed 19th in the all-around. She bounced back at the 1993 Moscow News/Stars competition, placing third overall.

Unlike her Russian teammates (Kochetkova, Khorkina, Fabrichnova, etc.), who continued to built on their skills over the next few years, Bobrova suffered a number of setbacks throughout the next few years. She broke her finger, then sprained her foot. Desperate to compete at the 1994 Worlds, Bobrova insisted on competing at the 1994 Russian Championships in Voronezh. Not fully healed, she caused further injury, breaking her arm during warm-ups. She spent the next 7 months recovering.

In 1995 Bobrova returned, placing an impressive third AA at the Russian Cup. Having redeemed herself, she earned a spot on Russia's 1995 World Championship team. Sabae proved to be a nightmare for the Russians though, finishing out of the team medals for the first time in memory (ever?). Shortly thereafter, Bobrova fell out of favour with Russian head coach, Leonid Arkaev. She left the Krugloye (Round Lake) training center and continued her training at home in Siberia.

Her absence from the 1996 Olympic team was rumoured to be because of an injured hand, however in an interview with Vecherny Novosibirsk, her trainer explained, "it was only because of fatigue that she wasn't selected for the team. That's certainly what broke her." Regardless, Bobrova officially retired from gymnastics soon thereafter. She continues to reside in Siberia, coaching young children the basics of gymnastics. She also attends the Institute of Physical Culture.

Many thanks to KB for locating the Vecherny Novosibirsk article and to Beth Squires for providing me with a translation of this article

. This page was created on June 2, 2000 and complete on June 24, 2000.


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