Whatever Happened to
Elena Shevchenko?

Photo by Matthew Barber

Shevchenko's Competitive Results:

1985 Druzhba (Junior Friendship Tournament): 3rd AA
1986 USSR Cup: 2nd V, 2nd BB, 1st FX
1986 USSR Spartakiade: 1st AA
1986 Goodwill Games: 1st T, 2nd V
1987 USSR Championships: 8th AA
1987 USSR Cup: 8th AA, 3rd BB
1988 USSR Championships: 3rd AA
1988 USSR Cup: 4th AA
1988 European Cup: 1st AA
1988 Olympics: 1st T
1989 Australian Grand Prix: 1st T, 2nd AA

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

 

"If someone offered me to start my life from scratch I would be a gymnast again." - Shevchenko (International Gymnast, October 2001)

Although never one of the major stars of the Soviet women's gymnastics team, Shevchenko's innovative Pink Panther routine won her many fans. Having never competed in a World Championships, Shevchenko's spot on the 1988 Soviet Olympic team surprised a few. 

Shevchenko made her International debut at the 1985 Druzhba meet, placing third overall. The next year, Shevchenko began competing the senior International circuit with incredible results. She contributed to her team's 1986 Goodwill Games win, and amongst a tougher field won the 1986 USSR Spartakiade and medalled on three events (gold on floor and silver on bars and beam) at that year's USSR Cup. 

Shevchenko's 1986 results boded well for a spot on the 1987 World Championships team. Indeed, reknown Soviet gymnast Larissa Petrik predicted great things for Shevchenko in Rotterdam, "Elena's feel for rhythm, which very rarely lets her down, helps her achieve tremendous emotional expressiveness.  And this, combined with her high level of technique is quite sufficient, I believe, for her to win the sympathy of the spectators and the judges at the forthcoming world championships in Holland," she told the Russian press. Sadly, injury preventing Shevchenko from competing to potential in 1987 and she was not named to the World team. 

Olga Mostepanova and Shevchenko at he 2001 Russian National Championships in April.

1988 was a comeback year for Shevchenko, highlighted by her win at the European Cup and subsequent placement on the Olympic team. She reflected on these meets, telling IG that these meets were "good and interesting, and I enjoyed them. I just had a great desire for success, and did not want all of my hard work to be wasted. I am very thankful to fate." She performed well in Seoul, contributing to her team's gold medal. She pressed on after the Olympics, but not for too long. She competed at the 1989 Australian Grand Prix, retiring soon thereafter. She currently lives in Moscow, and has spent time coaching at the CSKA gymnastics club. Her gymnasts, among them Svetlana Feofanova, showed good results.

Shevchenko also enjoyed judging, and has worked her way to the top of Russian judging. For example, she judged at the 1998 Junior Europeans and more recently at the 2001 World Championships. 

Shevchenko and her husband, former world-class speed skater Vladislav Olenin, welcomed their first child, a son Kristian, during a stay in England in the summer of 1999. "He took to gymnastics right away," Shevchenko told IG.

. This page was created on February 13, 1999 and last updated January 12, 2001.

 

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