Gymnastics Birthdays at the Olympics

MONTRÉAL 1976

MARIA FILATOVA (USSR) – July 19th, 1961 – 15 years old.

The day after Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 in gymnastics Olympic history the youngest member of the Soviet Team turned 15 years old.

Maria was a crowd favorite largely due to her delightful Floor routine.

MOSCOW 1980

MARIA FILATOVA (USSR) – July 19th, 1961 – 19 years old.

Since the Olympiad was held in very similar dates in both 1976 and 1980 Maria celebrated her 19th birthday the day of the Moscow Olympics opening ceremony.  Competing at home Olympics Maria earned team gold and an individual uneven bars bronze medal.  

By the time Moscow came around her style on Floor had changed from an adorable child in 1976 to an elegant woman in 1980.

SEOUL 1988

NATALIA LASCHENOVA (USSR) – September 16th, 1973 – 15 years old.

The youngest member of the Soviet Team, Natalia Laschenova, celebrated her 15th birthday the day before the opening ceremony. Natalia won gold with her team and finished 5th in the all-around.

Her floor routine in Seoul was the expression of elegance combined with high difficulty.

ATLANTA 1996

DINA KOTCHETKOVA (RUS) – July 27th, 1977 – 19 years old.

Dina Kotchetkova celebrated her 19th birthday in the break between the all-around final and the event finals. Dina was 18 years old while competing in the team final (July 23rd) and the all-around final (July 25th) but was already 19 when she arrived to the bars final (July 28th) and the beam and floor final (July 29th).

The Olympics were tough for Dina since her team placed second and individually she advanced to four finals: AA, bars, beam and floor but did not manage to medal on any of them.

In the commentary of her performance at the uneven bars final it is mentioned that she had just turned 19 the day before.

SYDNEY 2000

YELENA ZAMOLODCHIKOVA (RUS) – September 19th, 1982 – 18 years old.

Who can forget Russia at the Olympic Team Final in Sydney: the drama, the falls, the tears and the disappointment of the girls for placing second. What is little known is that Yelena Zamolodchikova was celebrating her 18th birthday that very same day.

Despite the frustration of the Russian Team at both the team and all-around competition, Sydney turned out to be very successful as the team collected several medals during the event finals. Zamolodchikova herself had a belated birthday gift of two Olympic Titles: vault and floor.

Yelena celebrating her 18th birthday on Floor during the Team Final

ATHENS 2004

TERIN HUMPHREY (USA) – August 14th, 1986  – 18 years old.

Terin Humphrey turned 18 years old the day after the Opening Ceremony  which was also the day before the qualification round. She had a great birthday gift when, on August 15th, she qualified to the uneven bars final where she would win a silver medal on August 22nd.

ATHENS 2004

CATALINA PONOR (ROM) – August 20th, 1987 – 17 years old.

Like Kotchetkova, Catalina Ponor celebrated her 17th birthday in the break between the all-around final and the event finals. Catalina was 16 years old while competing in the team final (August 17th) but was 17 when she arrived to the beam and floor final (August 23rd )

Catalina had the best birthday gift ever as she was the most decorated gymnast of the Athens Olympic Games with three gold medals: Team, Beam and Floor.

RIO 2016

MAI MURAKAMI (JPN) – August 5th, 1996 – 20 years old.

Mai turned 20 the day of the Opening Ceremony of the recently finished 2016 Olympic Games. Murakami had an excellent Olympics with her team finishing 4th in the team final and individually she advanced to the Floor Final where she was the first gymnast to perform and where she placed 7th.

In the video a comparison of her four performances on Floor at the 2016 Olympics can be enjoyed.

RIO 2016

EYTHORA THORSDOTTIR (NED) – August 10th, 1998 – 18 years old.

Eythora turned 18 on the break between the team final and the all-around final, she was present at both competitions. During the team final (August 9th) she contributed on all the events towards her team’s 7th place finish; during the all-around final (August 11th) she finished in a high 9th place after scoring a 57.632.

Eythora is highly re-known for her beautiful Floor work.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Gymnastics Birthdays at Worlds

10 Perfect 10s

Remembering Sydney 2000 in 20 Cool Facts

Rio in Review: The All Around Final

Rio in Review: The Floor Final

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