Born on November 19, 1964 in Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) in present day Russia, Yelena Naimushina had a short but impressive career with the Soviet Team.
Yelena was well known in the World Cup circuit finishing 2nd at the 1978 Chunichi Cup and at the the “Champions All” competition in 1979. She also placed 6th at the 1979 American Cup competition with a score of 36.900.
She participated at the 1979 European Championships but did not medal. Later that year she attended the World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas where she won team silver. Her highest score for the team was her floor optional routine with a 9.800.
A year later, at home Olympics in Moscow, Yelena scored well to help her team to gold. Her standout routines were: her beam optional routine where she scored a 9.850 and her floor optional routine where she came close to a 10 with a 9.950. Naimushina was the soviet expression of difficulty and artistry and became re-known for her expressive performance on Floor to Russian music “Kalinka”.
Yelena retired in 1981 and later married cyclist Andris Zelčs-Ločmelis with whom she lived in Latvia and had three children. They later divorced and Yelena married her second husband Sergei Grigoryev and moved to Tula, Russia.
According to her former coach Valentin Shevchuk her passing was completely unexpected as they were planning to see each other on March 15 but sadly she passed away the day before. The cause of death is yet to be determined.
At age 52 her passing is very untimely, however gymnastics fans will always remember her as the spectacular gymnast she was along with the radiant smile that illuminated her face during her performances.
Rest In Peace Yelena Naimushina (November 19, 1964 – March 14, 2017)