Olesya Dudnik (URS)

1988 USSR Junior Championships: 1st AA
1988 Druzhba (Jr. Friendship Tour): 2nd AA, 1st BB, 2nd UB, 1st FX (tie)
1989 American Cup: 2nd AA
1989 European Championships: 6th AA, 1st BB
1989 USSR Championships: 2nd AA
1989 World Championships: 1st T, 7th AA (prelims), 1st V, 2nd BB, 4th FX
1990 French International: 1st BB (tie)

The majority of these results were compiled from information found at Gymn Forum

With so many members of the Soviet team continuing past the 1988 Olympics (Baitova, Boguinskaia, Laschenova and Strazheva), there was little room for the emergence of new Soviet talent. Nevertheless, Olesya Dudnik burst onto the scene in 1989, making a big splash.

Olesya competed in the 1989 America Cup, placing second. In the closing commentary, the broadcasters said to "watch for her in the next few years ahead...." Early on, these words rang true. Later that year, Olesya was sent to the European Championships while Olympic greats Baitova and Laschenova stayed home, failing to make the cut. Dudnik did not disappoint, placing a respectable 6th AA and winning gold on the balance beam.

Olesya went on to compete in the 1989 Worlds, a member of one of the strongest Soviet women's gymnastics teams in history. Despite a new code of points, the Soviets rolled out a string of perfect tens. While she did not place in the top three of the Soviet team, had she competed she would have been a strong contender for an AA medal. Olesya proved this in the event finals, performing some of the most difficult routines and winning gold on the vault and silver on the balance beam.

At the close of the 1989 competitive season, Olesya had proven beyond a doubt to be the Soviet's newest star. The 1990 season rolled around and gymnastics fans waited...and waited.... Where was she? Well, although she popped up at the 1990 French International, it appears that she was never again given a major international assignment. Just as she'd made a name for herself, she vanished.

Apparently, Olesya suffered a several injuries in 1990. While a foot injury reportedly hampered her performance at the 1990 French International, it was a knee injury that supposedly cut her career short. Her personal coach, Eduard Nechai, apparently advised her to continue with training, but Olesya listened to the head coach instead and took some time off to heal. Unfortunately, she was never able to regain her form and level of difficulty. Olesya quietly retired.

In the early 1990s, Olesya's parents became sick from the aftermath of Chernobyl. After years of nursing them, they both passed away. 

In March 1994, Olesya married a fellow sports person, a Ukrainian wrestler also from Kirovgrad. Rumours abound that the couple lived in Japan for awhile, but in fact they have remained in Kirovgrad, Olesya as a gymnastics coach.

The couple now have a son, Maxim. The family spent awhile looking into coaching opportunities abroad, reportedly eyeing Canada. Instead, Dudnik now lends her coaching talents to gymnasts in Cairo, Egypt. 

Dudnik was born on August 15, 1974.

. This page was created May 4, 1999 and last updated July 17, 2008 .


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