2017 in review: January to June

20171218 thumbnail review part 1.jpg

2017 in review: January to June

December 18, 2017

Let’s look back on the important gymnastics moments in the first half of the year.

As is typical in a post-Olympic year, we saw many retirement announcements. On a happier note, we also witnessed the emergence of stars and new faces: This, in combination with wedding bells and baby news, dominates our January – June 2017 review!


  • The Azerbaijani scoring provider SmartScoring becomes the UEG’s global partner.
  • Israel’s most successful rhythmic gymnast, three-time Olympian and 2001 European silver medallist with clubs, Neta Rivkin, says goodbye to rhythmic gymnastics and becomes the chairwoman of the Israeli Olympic committee’s Athlete Commission.
  • France’s Claire Martin, bronze medallist on beam at the 2015 Europeans in Montpellier, announces her retirement.
  • After dominating the entire Olympic cycle and taking silver at the Rio Olympics, Russian star Yana Kudryavtseva reveals that a chronic leg injury forces her to end her career.

  • A buzz goes through the gymnastics community as Russian media reveal that Artistic gymnastics queen Aliya Mustafina is pregnant. She got married a few month earlier to bobsledder Alexei Zaitsev. The baby is due in July.
  • Having won the World title in 2016, Romanian aerobics champion Corina Constantin achieved all there is to win in her discipline and retires from competition. She moves to Sweden with her partner where they coach aerobics and artistic gymnastics.
  • Russia’s artistic couple Ksenia Semyonova and Denis Ablyazin welcome their first child, a boy called Yaroslav.



  • UEG officially inaugurated its new headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) and started the celebrations for its 35th anniversary.
  • The Executive Committee awards the 2018 Rhythmic Europeans to Valladolid (ESP) and the 2018 TeamGym Europeans to Odivelas (POR) while the 2020 Artistic Europeans are split between Baku (AZE, men) and Paris (FRA, women).  
  • Great Britain’s star Max Whitlock voices his support for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships during the Media Launch in London. In the meantime, the Board of Directors approves the 10 day competition schedule.
  • A new TeamGym initiative is launched: the International Coaching Internship for TeamGym offers young coaches the opportunity to develop their skills in other gyms / countries.
  • Germany’s only two-time Olympian in rhythmic gymnastics, Jana Berezko-Marggrander retires.  



  • In the first all-around competition of the new Olympic cycle, Ukraine’s European Champion Oleg Verniaiev places second and France’s Melanie de Jesus dos Santos third at the American Cup. Winners are American youngster Ragan Smith and Yul Moldauer.
  • Olympic Champion on high bar Fabian Hambuechen (GER) finally discovers why his shoulder was hurting so much: he has competed with torn muscles and needs to undergo surgery.
  • 1980 Olympic Champion Elena Naimushina (URS) passes away unexpectedly aged 52.
  • The Italian juniors impressed at the annual Gymnix competition, showing that the road to Tokyo is already well under way for them.
  • The Control Authorities of the UEG verify and approve the accounts for 2016. The Union benefits from its financial stability.
  • To increase your knowledge for choreographing a floor routine, the TeamGym Technical Committee releases a video tutorial ‘ABC for Floor’.



  • The 2019 European Championships in Artistic Gymnastics are awarded to Szczecin (POL).
  • Tabea Alt and Oleg Verniaiev win both the Stuttgart and London stage of the World Cup circuit, easily handing the victory to their respective federations Germany and Ukraine and placing themselves as the ‘ones-to-watch’ at the upcoming European Championships.
  • 30 coaches attend a Level 2 TeamGym coaching course in Anadia (POR), marking the beginning of the UEG TeamGym educational activities for 2017
  • General Director Kirsi Erofejeff-Engman will leave the UEG at the end of June and will be replaced by Lisa Worthmann who led the Organising committee of the 2016 Europeans in Bern (SUI).
  • The European Championships in Artistic Gymnastics kick off brilliantly in Cluj-Napoca’s Polyvalent Hall as gymnasts from 7 different countries lead the men’s qualifications.
  • Ellie Downie performed 4 excellent routines in Cluj, thus becoming the first British female to qualify to all finals! She topped the qualifications in the all-around, on vault and on floor. Eli Seitz (GER) and Nina Derwael (BEL) tied for the top score on bars, while Larisa Iordache delighted the Romanian fans with her first place on beam.
  • Defending European Champion Oleg Verniaiev overcomes a fall on his first event to clinch the all-around title ahead of Russia’s Artur Dalaloyan and Great Britain’s James Hall.
  • Trailing Hungary’s Zsofia Kovacs by 4 tenths going into the last rotation, Great Britain’s Ellie Downie smashed it on floor to take the 2017 European all-around title. Upgrading from the bronze medal she won in 2015, Downie becames the first British woman to win gold!
  • Marian Dragulescu claims gold on floor in Cluj, an impressive 17 years after his first European title on this event! David Belyavskyi beats Krisztian Berki on pommel horse while Eleftherios Petrounias makes it three-in-a-row on rings. Coline Devillard vaults to victory and Nina Derwael becomes the first Belgian European Champion by taking the gold on bars.
  • Another impressive Romanian victory in Cluj: Catalina Ponor wins her fifth European title on beam! Russia’s Angelina Melnikova triumphs on floor while compatriot Artur Dalaloyan impresses on vault. Oleg Verniaiev takes the parallel bars gold and Pablo Braegger leads a Swiss 1-2 on high bar ahead of Oliver Hegi.



  • Anne Kuhm retires from the French National team but will continue with gymnastics at the University of Arizona.
  • The President of the Royal Spanish Gymnastics Federation and former World Champion Jesus Carballo is elected to the Executive Committee of the Spanish Olympic Committee.
  • Artistic gymnasts Agnes Suto (ISL) and Tomi Tuuha (FIN) tie the knot on the tropical island St Maarten. After their cruise they go back to training for the World Championships which is likely to be Tuuha’s last competition as he is accepted in the Finnish Aviation Academy.
  • Representatives of 15 countries travelled to Liege (BEL) to attend the info meeting for the 2018 EUROGYM which will also hold the 1st European Gym for Life Challenge.
  • At the Rhythmic Europeans in Budapest (HUN), the Russian ladies top all the qualification rounds, easily winning the team title.

  • On the final day of the Rhythmic Europeans, Russian twins Dina and Arina Averina divided the gold medals. Dina was victorious with hoop and ribbon, while Arina topped the standings with clubs and ball.
  • Russia won the junior group European title ahead of Italy and Israel at the Budapest Rhythmic Europeans.
  • Rhys McClenaghan wins the World Cup gold medal on pommel horse in Osijek (CRO), clinching Ireland’s first ever title.
  • On the occasion of the 69th anniversary of Israeli Independence, the Olympic Committee honoured Agnes Keleti (HUN) for her outstanding achievements in gymnastics. Alexander Shatilov was also honoured, for winning the bronze medal on floor in Cluj.
  • The Aerobics World Cup series 2017 go to Daniel Bali (HUN) in the individual men category, Sara Moreno and Vicente Lli (ESP) in mixed pairs, Elena Ivanova, Ekaterina Pykhtova and Anastasia Ziubina (RUS) in trios and the Bulgarian group.



  • German star Fabian Hambuechen has now officially retired from international competition. He will still compete though but only in the Bundesliga. He received a massive farewell party in Berlin during the German Turnfest, attended also by Chancellor Angela Merkel. 'I'm not often speechless but now i can't find any words', the Olympic Champion stated.
  • Tickets go on sale for the 2018 Glasgow Europeans. In the pre-sale phase already more than 5000 gymnastics tickets were sold!
  • Scott Hann, coach at South Essex Gym Club of Max Whitlock and many other talented gymnasts, is awarded an MBE by the British queen Elizabeth.
  • Polish gymnasts turned coaches Marta Pihan-Kulesza and Roman Kulesza welcome their first child into this world, a daughter named Jagna.
  • Sad moments in Azerbaijan as both Marina Durunda and Zhala Piriyeva announce their retirement from Rhythmic Gymnastics.
  • Belgium also loses two of its national team members but in Artistic Gymnastics: Kristof Schroé and Cindy Vandenhole finish their competitive careers.
  • Aliya Mustafina gives birth to a girl, named Alisa. Immediately she is asked about her return to competition but at the moment she just wants to enjoy motherhood and her family life.
  • Handstand Day saw social media overflowing with gymnastics photos and videos. What a great effort!
  • The Executive Committee of the UEG awards the 2019 Acrobatic Europeans to Holon (ISR), the 2019 Congress to Sofia (BUL) and the 2020 Rhythmic Europeans to Kiev (UKR).


We will continue with the second part of the review tomorrow!