Diana Dudeva (BUL)
Diana Dudeva, Bulgaria's first and only Olympic medallist in women's artistic gymnastics to date!
For a thorough listing of Dudeva's
competitive results, please visit Gymn
Forum's Dudeva biography
Diana Dudeva was born
on July 7, 1968 in Pleven, Bulgaria and trained under Ivan Kondev at ZSKA
Sofia. At age 12 she made her international debut, competing in a junior dual
meet against Poland. She placed sixth all-around.
valuable experience over the next two years, populating her gymnastics resume
with wins at the 1981 Junior Balkan Championships (2nd FX) and 1982
Leverskusen Cup (1st AA). The experience paid off and in 1983 she
enjoyed a successful transition to the senior ranks. At the 1983 World
Championships that year Dudeva and her teammates came close to medalling
(Bulgaria finished 4th), and her 34th place finish after team optionals would
have guaranteed her advancement to the AA finals were it not for the
At 16, Dudeva was the
"right" age for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Politics would
dictate otherwise however, and Bulgaria joined the Soviet boycott of these
Games. While those countries who participated in the boycott organized their
own "Alternate Games" in Olomouc, I believe that Dudeva was not part
of the Bulgarian delegation. (Can anyone confirm?).
Like many of her
teammates, the lack of an Olympic experience propelled her career past what
might have otherwise been a time to retire. Dudeva enjoyed some bright moments
in 1985, winning her country's national championships and medalling at the
Balkan Championships (2nd AA, 2nd UB, 1st BB), Cottbus Cup (3rd UB), French
International (3rd FX), Golden Sands (2nd AA, 1st V, 1st FX), and Leverskusen
Cup (1st AA). Having placed in the top 10 at Europeans that year, and
qualified to three event finals, Dudeva was poised for promising results at
that year's World Championships. Unfortunately a missed beam routine dropped
her to 24th place overall.
Over the next two
years, Dudeva and teammate Boriana Stoyanova led the Bulgarian team and
championed Bulgarian gymnastics in numerous internationals. Dudeva enjoyed
some impressive placements, including a bronze medal on beam at the 1986
Goodwill Games and wins at the 1987 Belgian Gym Masters and Blume Memorial. A
shinning moment came in Moscow at the 1987 European Championships, where
Dudeva capped off a bronze place finish in the AA with a silver on bars.
Dudeva at the 1991
Champs. Photo used with the
permission of Gymn Forum
As was the case for
many athletes, the 1988 Olympic proved to be a natural end for Dudeva's
competitive career. She could hardly have asked for a better ending, placing
in the top 10 in the AA competition and winning bronze on the floor exercise.
In doing so, Dudeva became Bulgaria's first and only Olympic medallist in
women's gymnastics to date!
Dudeva was a coach at the
2004 European Championships
Following the 1988 Olympics, Dudeva
married a fellow gymnast. She and husband Plamen welcomed their
first child, a daughter, into the world. In 1991 Dudeva delighted fans by
participating in the World Professional Championships, showing herself to be
in excellent shape!
The family eventually
moved to Greece, settling in Thessaloniki where Diana and Plamen coach
gymnastics. As of 2001, their daughter, Radia, competes on the more senior of these teams,
which consists of aspiring elite gymnasts aged 10 to 11 years of age. The
second group consists of younger gymnasts, aged 5 to 7 years of age. Diana and
Plamen have already had great success with coaching, placing 7 girls to
Greece's senior national team. Diana and Plamen's second child, a boy, is 5 years old.
. This page was created on March
20, 1999 and last updated on April 22, 2001.