Oksana Knizhnik (URS/UKR)

Photo used with the expressed permission of Shanfan. Check outShanfan's gymnastics site

1990 International Japan Junior Invitational
1991 Jr. USSR vs GER: 1st T
1992 Moscow World Stars: 14th AA
1994 Team Worlds: 5th T
1994 Goodwill Games: 3rd T, 10th AA
1995 World Championships: 5th T
1995 Kosice Cup: 5th AA
1995 USA vs UKR: 10th AA (did not compete UB)
1995 Romanian International: 3rd AA
1995 IBM Invitational: 2nd V
1996 Olympics: 5th T

 Oksana Knizhnik was born in early January 1977, in the capital of the Ukraine, Kiev. She made her international debut under the Soviet flag at the 1990 International Japan Junior. Within two years, however, the Soviet Union dissolved and athletes found themselves competing for their home republics. Knizhnik shared her feelings with IG magazine: "The dissolution was partially good and partially bad. What was good, was that gymnasts who would not have had much of a chance to compete for the Soviet Union now do have the opportunity to compete for their own republics."

Oksana Knizhnik performs at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics
Photo used with the expressed permission of Lani Schea Holmes

Indeed, Knizhnik had extensive opportunity to compete for the Ukraine. By 1994 she was a key member of their National team. Her performances contributed to Ukraine's bronze medal finish at the 1994 Goodwill Games and twin fifth place finishes at the 1994 World Team Championships in Dortmund, Germany and 1995 World Championships in Sabae, Japan. 

Anna Mirgorodskaya and Oksana Knizhnik pose for a photo at the 2000 Ukrainian Cup (OEG/Edwin Koppers, July 2000).

Assigned as the alternate to the Ukraine's 1996 Olympic team, Knizhnik found herself in the competitive line up when teammate Victoria Karpenko was sidelined with injuries. In Atlanta, Knizhnik competed three events, all but bars. On beam she performed her signature pose on beam. Throughout her career, Knizhnik was best known for her innovative beam work, which included a chest stand in a horizontal needle scale position with hand clasped around her left leg. 

Knizhnik retired shortly after the 1996 Olympics. She married and in late 1999 or early 2000 gave birth to a baby boy, Nikita Sergeevich. In addition to motherhood, Knizhnik is studying at a sports school and working as a trainer. She enjoys helping the next generation of Ukrainian gymnasts, explaining to IG magazine, "...I just encourage them and help them not to be nervous."

. This page was created on December 5, 2000.


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