It is always sad when a decorated gymnast has to announce her retirement from the sport, especially from a young age. Following 25-year-old Lauren Mitchell, Australia’s most decorated gymnast who announced her retirement September last year is rhythmic gymnast three-time World All-around Champion Yana Kudryavtseva from the Russian team.
Kudryavtseva won almost every single competition she has entered in the previous Olympic cycle in Rio, gathering up to 16 World medals, as well as three consecutive World all-around titles and countless gold medals on the World Cup circuit. Kudryavtseva almost won gold at last summer’s Rio Games, but a dropped club defaced her unblemished performance and gave her a silver instead, leaving her teammate and best friend Margarita Mamun to take the gold.
If we could recall, on December 2016 it has been reported that the 19-year-old Olympic medalist Kudryavtseva may never compete again after needing a leg operation, hanging her gymnastics career in the balance. The doctors said she may have to quit sports forever after finding out that she has an extra bone in both feet. Her left leg has been operated on at the same month.
It was said that she began feeling the pain in her legs during the World Championships in 2015 but she still went on to win five gold medals at the rhythmic gymnastics competition in Glasgow. Ever since then, the injury has continued to get worse so she had her left leg operated on, but the right one still needs to be operated too. She had to spend six months in a leg brace but was still remaining hopeful to compete in the future.
She said: “It all depends on the surgery. If I still can compete after it, I will remain in sports. Even if it would mean that it would be painful. I haven’t decided yet if I will stay or leave.”
Conversely, this is at the same time when the President of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, Irina Viner-Usmanova, made a public statement saying that Kudryavtseva would never compete again.
Evidently, Usmanova was right. Kudryavtseva, who has reigned over rhythmic gymnastics for the past several years, has now confirmed her retirement to the FIG late last month, ending one of the most glittering careers in rhythmic history.
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