Silvia Mitova (BUL)

Photo by Matthew Barber

1988 European Gymnastics Union Championships: 2nd T, 4th AA
1989 Int'l Japan Junior Invitational: 12th AA, 6th BB
1991 Arthur Gander Memorial: 5th AA
1991 Junior European Team Championships
1991 Junior European Championships: 2nd AA, 4th V, 6th UB, 8th BB, 2nd FX (tie)
1991 France vs Bulgaria: 2nd AA
1991 European Cup: 4th AA, 6th V, 5th UB, 8th BB, 3rd FX
1991 World Championships: 5th T, 16th AA, 6th FX
1991 DTB Cup: 5th AA
1991 Swiss Cup (mixed pairs): 2nd
1991 Arthur Gander Memorial: 5th AA
1992 World Championships: 5th V, 4th BB, 9th FX
1992 European Championships: 12th AA, 3rd V, 4th FX
1992 Olympics: 12th T, 11th AA, 8th FX
1992 Swiss Cup (mixed pairs): 2nd (with Kolev)
...plus, 4 time Bulgarian National Champion!

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

Bulgaria's Silvia Mitova was one of those truly great gymnasts who most certainly would have gained greater glory had she sported a different leotard. Although Bulgaria's Diana Dudeva captured the Olympic bronze medal on FX at the 1988 Olympics, Bulgaria's presence as a major gymnastics force dwindled following these Olympics. By the time Mitova surfaced, the Bulgarians were routinely overlooked in favour of the "new" gymnastic powerhouses (i.e., USA, CHN, newly independent former Soviet republics, etc.).

Not only did Bulgarian gymnastics suffer a loss of status, but funds for Bulgarian gymnastics became increasingly scare. In fact, the Bulgarians were on the verge of withdrawing their team from the 1991 World Championships due to insufficient funds, when a business in the USA heard about this and sponsored the team. Despite these trends, Mitova's compelling style did not go unnoticed for long and Mitova developed a loyal following of fans (albeit not broadcast network fans). Even today, people continue to rave about her floor routine to "Blues for Kook," although it is a shame that more have not seen her gymnastics.

While the Bulgarians entered the 1992 Olympics without much attention, the Bulgarian women's team soon became the center of talk when a number of their members, Mitova excluded, tested positive for diuretics, disqualifying the team. Mitova remained eligible to compete and she placed a respectable 11th in the AA.

Still young following the 1992 Olympics, and worthy and deserving of more gymnastics success, Mitova set her sights on the 1993 World Championships. Sadly, she suffered a broken vertebra while attempting a double-twisting double back on floor exercise. The accident left her paralyzed for nearly two weeks, but an operation in France enabled her to walk.

According to the Aug/Sept 1993 issue of IG, prior to her fall, Mitova had been invited (by Wessel Oosthuizen, father of South African team member Heidi Oosthuizen) to compete in the Gold Reef City Gymnastics Festival in South Africa. When the Oosthuizens learned of Mitova's accident they encouraged Mitova to come anyways. While in South African, Mitova was seen by local neurosurgeon Dr. Johann Wasserman, who recommended and performed for free, an anterior cervical fusion. This operation, in part, required a bone graft from Mitova's hip.

According to the February 1994 issue of IG, in December of 1993, Mitova again traveled to South Africa for a follow up consultation with Dr. Wasserman. Miraculously, Mitova was given the go-ahead to continue gymnastics. "This is the best Christmas present I have ever received," Mitova told IG. "My dream and hope is to participate in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I am not sure that I will recover in time to get there, but all the help I get from my friends inspires me to think positively. I am not promising I will be there, but I strongly hope and dream so."

Despite these encouraging words, Mitova never again returned to elite gymnastics. She and her family immigrated to the USA, all coaching at Berks Gymnastics in Reading, PA in the USA. The Mitova coaching staff includes mother Maia Balgoeva, herself a successful Bulgarian gymnast. Balgoeva competed for Bulgaria in the early- to mid-70s. She won three national championship titles, finished 10th in the 1973 European Championships and 27th in the 1975 European Championships.

Mitova and husband J. Arthur (Artie) Hutchinson welcomed baby Jessica Sofia Hutchinson into the world on July 27, 2001. In 2002, Mitova opened her own gym - Silvia's Gymnastics - in Zieglerville. Coaching alongside Mitova are parents Maia and Zarko.

Mitova was born on June 29, 1976

. This page was created on March 25, 1999 and last updated on February 10, 2004.

 

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