Maria Filatova (URS)

Photo used with the expressed permission of Tom Theobald

1975 Chunichi Cup: 5th AA
1975 Druzhba: 3rd AA
1975 JPN-USSR Dual Meet: 2nd AA
1975 Jr. USSR-ROM Dual Meet: 3rd AA
1975 Milk Meet: 2nd AA
1976 Riga International: 1st AA
1976 Olympic Games: 1st T
1976 Moscow News: 2nd AA
1976 USSR Cup: 7th AA, 6th V, 6th UB, 3rd BB
1976 USSR Nationals: 4th AA
1977 European Championships: 5th AA, 4th V, 6th UB, 3rd BB, 1st FX
1977 Moscow News: 1st AA, 3rd V, 2nd UB,1st B, 1st FX
1977 Paris Grand Prix: 1st AA, 2nd V, 1st UB, 1st BB, 1st FX
1977 Riga International: 1st AA
1977 USSR Cup: 4th AA, 1st BB, 2nd FX
1977 USSR Nationals: 1st AA
1977 World Cup: 1st AA, 2nd V, 2nd UB, 5th BB, 1st FX 
1978 Moscow News: 2nd AA, 2nd V, 1st UB, 1st B 
1978 USSR-GDR Dual Meet: 1st Team, 1st AA
1978 USSR Championships: 2nd AA
1978 World Championships: 1st Team, 4th UB
1978 World Cup: 1st AA, 4th V, 5th UB, 1st FX 
1979 Paris Grand Prix: 1st AA
1979 Riga International: 1st AA, 1st V, 1st BB, 1st FX
1979 University Games: 2nd AA
1979 USSR Spartakiade: 4th AA
1979 USSR Nationals: 2nd AA
1979 World Cup: 12th AA
1979 World Championships: 2nd T, 4th AA, 7th UB, 5th BB, 5th FX 
1980 Olympic Games: 1st T, 3rd UB
1980 Riga International: 3rd AA
1980 USSR Cup: 5th AA
1980 World Cup: 13th AA
1981 Antibes International: 2nd AA, 3rd FX
1981 University Games: 2nd T, 5th AA, 4th UB, 4th BB, 5th FX
1981 World Championships: 1st T, 2nd AA, 6th BB

The majority of these results were compiled from information found at Gymn Forum, in particular Gymn Forum's tribute to Filatova

Maria ("Masha") Filatova played a central role in the success of Soviet gymnastics in the late 1970s and early 1980s, earning a spot on both the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. Towards the end of her career, Masha's gymnastics was unparalleled in grace and elegance.

Much of Masha's gymnastics career was spent training under Innokenty Mametyev and wife Galina's career. The two waited a long time to find a gymnast like Maria, "I looked around for a long time for a girl who could do everything that I thought should be done," Innokenty told the Russian press. He picked Masha from among 800 girls at a sport school in Leninsky-Kuznetsky, a town in Siberia.

The couple hurried Masha along in her training, recognizing that a spot on the 1976 Olympic team was a possibility. The hard work paid off, and Masha was named alternate to the team. Crowd support during podium training in Montreal for Masha was unbelievable, and she found herself in the competitive line up.

Not surprisingly, Masha speaks fondly of her Montreal Olympic experience, but cited her win at the 1977 Moscow News as her favourite competition, "Of course it was great to win the World Cup.  But I remember the Moscow News Prize better.  I felt there like it was the Olympics," she told the Russian press in 1978.

Indeed, Masha's post-Olympic wins were impressive. She won the 1977 and 1978 World Cups, 1977 Moscow News, 1977 and 1979 Riga Tournaments, 1977 Soviet Championships, and 1977 and 1979 Paris Grand Prix. Unfortunately, these accolades did not seem to be rewarded among those who decided the Soviet start-up. For example, in the 1981 World Championships she was made to go first on each apparatus. Luckily she beat the odds and made the AA final, but as she told Sovetski Sport "...if I had performed second, not first, on a single apparatus, I would have become the world champion. But they always put me first, as if they did not see how I worked. It still hurts unbearably!" Masha retired from gymnastics shortly thereafter, briefly joining a circus.

While in the circus, Masha married Soviet power tumbler Alexander Kourbatov. In the mid-1980s their daughter, Alexandra ("Sasha" or "Shashenka") Kourbatova, was born. Shortly thereafter, Masha moved with her daughter to Leninsk, where she did some choreography for the local gymnasts (one of whom was Tatiana Ignatova).

Following the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union, the family moved to Belfast, Ireland, where Masha began coaching gymnastics. "I have to go," she said [to International Gymnast]. "I have to for the sake of little Sashenka. I have to go for at least one year so she doesn't think that her mama can't buy more than three apples... you understand, with today's prices I won&'t be able to raise my daughter at all. At least this way I can earn some money."

In addition to coaching, Filatova choreographed a number of routines for the Irish gymnasts, including the floor routines of their 1994 Commonwealth Games team. Filatova and her family eventually left Ireland and moved to the United States, where Masha and her husband accepted coaching positions in Ohio. Their daughter joined the Buckeye Gymnastics club and, following her mother's footsteps, was the 1997 Level 8 state floor champion in Ohio.


Maria Filatova and Alexander Kourbatov. Photos used with the expressed permission of the Rochester Gymnastics Training Center

Masha and her family now live in Rochester, NY. She and her husband coach at the Rochester Gymnastics Training Center. The photos to your left and right are Masha and Alexander's staff pictures from the Rochester Gymnastics Training Center. According to Gym Stars (issue 30), their daughter has had continued success in New York state. She is the Level 10 State Champion, and as such qualified for the National Championships. Unfortunately though, because Alexandra is not yet an American citizen, she could not compete.

Filatova was born on July 19, 1961.

. This page was created March 18, 1999 and last updated on January 12, 2001.


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