Svetlana Zelepukina was born on
August 16, 1980 in Kirovograd, Ukraine. She began gymnastics at age 8, and
was coached by Oleksandra Sirenko throughout her elite career. Svetlana
played a short - but prominent - role on the Ukrainian National team.
In 1995 Svetlana competed in her
first World Championships. She gained valuable experience in Sabae, Japan,
contributing to her team's fifth place finish. That same year she
represented the Ukraine in the USA (1995 USA vs UKR: 5th AA) and Russia
(1995 Moscow News: 14th AA).
By 1996, Svetlana enjoyed a
prominent role on the Ukrainian team, indeed she won the 1996 Ukrainian Cup!
Leading up to the Olympics, Svetlana traveled once again to the USA, this
time to compete at the 1996 American Cup (15th AA) and International Mixed
Pairs meet (3rd team). Svetlana was also one of three Ukrainians (along with
Liubov Sheremeta and Anna
Mirgorodskaya) chosen to compete in the World Apparatus Championships in
San Juan, Puerto Rico. Svetlana represented the Ukraine on vault (15th
prelims, 9th semis) and balance beam (24th prelims). In Atlanta, at the 1996
Olympics, the Ukrainians finished fifth place as a team. Svetlana also
competed in the all-around competition, finishing 23rd.
After the Olympics, Svetlana was
chosen to travel to Australia for the Australian Cup. She placed 13th AA.
Svetlana would have continued competing past the Olympic year, but sadly was
forced to retire in 1997 after she lost most of her eyesight in one eye. She
now coaches gymnastics in the Ukraine.