2017 in review: July to December

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2017 in review: July to December

December 19, 2017

Yesterday we guided you through the highlights of the first semester of this post-Olympic year. Join us today to find out all that happened in the world of gymnastics from July to December!


  • Legendary Soviet coach Vladislav Rotstorotsky, who coached Liudmila Tourisheva, Natalia Shaposhnikova and Natalia Yurchenko to unique heights, dies at the age of 85.
  • After suffering a horrific accident at Rio Olympics, France’s Samir Ait Said returns to the national team training camp in Lyon.
  • World and Olympic Champion Max Whitlock gets married to his childhood sweetheart Leah Hickton.
  • German gymnastics stars Marcel Nguyen and Andreas Bretschneider show off their dancing skills on the ‘Dance Dance Dance’ TV show.
  • Romania’s Olympic Champion Andreea Raducan announces that she will stand for President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation against residing President Adrian Stoica.
  • Israel’s Victoria Veinberg Filanovsky says goodbye to rhythmic gymnastics.
  • At the World Games in the Polish city of Wroclaw, European success goes to Spain’s Sara Moreno and Vicente Lli and the Russian step group in aerobics. In Rhythmic gymnastics twin Arina and Dina Averina continued their domination of the discipline, clinching all 4 available titles. This time Arina took 3 golds, leaving only the title with clubs to her sister. In acro all 5 titles went to European countries, with Russia being the biggest winner. Mixed pair Marina Chernova and Georgiy Pataraya, women’s pair Daria Kalinina and Daria Guryeva and women’s group Daria Chebulanka, Polina Plastinina & Ksenia Zagoskina all returned home with gold medals. In the men’s group competition, junior European Champions Adam Upcott, Lewis Watts, Charlie Tate and Conor Sawenko claimed victory. The biggest upset came in the men’s pairs where Germany’s Tim Sebastian and Michail Kraft won their country’s first ever gold in acro!

  • Great Britain’s Jamie Lewis and Russia’s Ksenia Klimenko emerged as all-around champions at the European Youth Olympic Festival held in the Hungarian city of Gyor.



  • Golden Boy Max Whitlock becomes an official Ambassador for the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow (GBR).
  • 2000 Olympic Champion Andreea Raducan is elected President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation after her only rival and seating president Adrian Stoica pulls out of the race.
  • At the King Harald World Gym for Life Challenge in Vestfold (NOR) Greece’s Olympiada Thrakomakedonon is crowned the World Group Champion.
  • A nice surprise for the participants of the annual UEG training camp in Trampoline … they got to train with Olympic Champion Uladzislau Hancharou (BLR) and Vice Olympic Champion Bryony Page (GBR)!
  • In Taipei, the Summer University Games, aka Universiade, crowned Oleg Verniaiev (UKR) and Larisa Iordache as all-around champions. Defending Champion Oleg Verniaiev topped the qualification round. He looked focused and determined in the final, giving nothing away. Hitting 6 out of 6 events, he proved to be untouchable to his rivals. In the women’s final, all eyes were on Romania’s Larisa Iordache as she competed in her first all-around final since the 2015 World Championships. Trailing Canada’s Ellie Black after qualifications, Iordache started well on vault and bars but suffered a fall on beam, like in qualification on back handspring tuck full. Her difficulty of 6.5 lessened the blow although the 21-year-old seemed annoyed with her mistake. A fabulous floor routine clinched the title, scoring more than 14 on each event for a total score of 56.750.
  • One of the most well-known people in the acrobatics community, Russian head coach Vladimir Gurgenidze, passed away aged 61. He lifted sport acrobatics to a whole new level, training his gymnasts to execute daring combinations with excellent technique, dominating competitions worldwide. Among his most famous pupils are his son Revaz -10 time World Champion!-, first ever European Games Champions Marina Chernova and Georgiy Pataraya, European and World Champions and medallists Nikolai Suprunov, Igor Mishev, Valentin Chetverkin, Aleksandr Kurasov and many others. 



  • Mrs Lisa Worthmann (GER) starts as General Director of the European Union of Gymnastics.
  • Belarussian Katsiaryna Halkina is the only gymnast who can disrupt the Averina’s party at the Rhythmic World Championships in Pesaro (ITA). The twins go 1-2 in every final except with clubs where Halkina claims the silver behind Dina but ahead of Arina. The Italian Farfalle (the Butterflies) wins the gold for their magnificent 5 hoops routine, thus preventing a Russian sweep of the titles, just like they did in Stuttgart two years ago.
  • The Italian city of Ancona hosts the 10th edition of the Aerobics European Championships. And what a celebration of Aerobics it was! Great performances by gymnasts of a wide variety of nations were witnessed by an enthusiastic audience. 8 nations made it onto the medal table, a nice way forward!

  • Ancona marked the last competition for Aerobics stars like Dora Hegyi (HUN), Sara Moreno and Vicente Lli (ESP) and Andreea Bogati (ROU). Their performances will be missed!
  • For the third year in a row, the UEG partnered with the European Commission to promote an active and healthy lifestyle during the European Week of Sport, held from 23 to 30 September.
  • A mere three months after giving birth, Aliya Mustafina returns to the Russian training center at Krugloe Ozero (Round Lake) with the aim of competing at next year’s Europeans.



  • At the World Championships in Artistic Gymnastics in Montreal (CAN) Russia’s Maria Paseka, Great Britain’s Max Whitlock and Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias successfully defend their World titles on vault, pommel horse and rings respectively. On the last day of the competition Pauline Schaefer becomes the first World Champion for present-day Germany by winning the gold on beam and Croatia’s crowns its first World Champion as Tin Srbic wins high bar. But it’s Epke Zonderland’s epic one arm save that goes viral:

  • Romanian triple Olympic Champion and 5-time beam European Champion Catalina Ponor announces her retirement, for sure this time, she adds.
  • At the European Age Group Competitions in Acrobatic gymnastics, Great Britain and Russia divided the European titles in the 11 – 16 Age Group while Israel, Great Britain and Russia claimed victory in the 12 – 18 category.
  • Russia’s fabulous mixed pair Marina Chernova and Georgiy Pataraya and Israel’s impressive men’s group Efi Sach, Lidar Dana, Yannay Kalfa and Daniel Uralevitch managed to pull off a second triple victory at the Acro European Championships in Rzeszow (POL). Both formations successfully defended their triple crown first won in Riesa two years ago. Portugal’s junior women’s group Joana Moreira, Rita Ferreira and Beatriz Carneiro and Russian women’s pair Daria Kalinina and Daria Guryeva also claimed three gold medals.
  • With great sadness we learned of the passing of Atilla Orsel (TUR), former president of the Turkish Gymnastics Federation and former UEG Vice President and Executive Committee member.
  • Great Britain’s Kristian Thomas announces his retirement, bringing to an end a career that resulted in him winning 10 medals at major championships, including being part of the team that won a historic bronze medal at London 2012. 



  • Ukraine’s rhythmic star Ganna Rizatdinova gives birth to a baby boy.
  • Olympic Champion Rita Mamun officially retires says head coach Irina Viner. Mamun stars in a documentary which premieres at the Film Festival of Amsterdam.
  • Brothers Gavin and Tom Jourdan (FRA) retire from Aerobics.
  • At the World Championships in Trampoline, Double Mini-Trampoline and Tumbling in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, 36-year-old Tatsiana Piatrenia (BLR) clinches her first individual World title while her compatriot Uladzislau Hancharou takes gold in synchro with Aleh Rabtsau. Of the 13 countries that managed to jump onto the medal table, more than half of them (7!) are European! Russia equalled China for the most medals collected, although China did lead the medal table as they won more gold. Belarus rounded out the top three with two gold medals, with Great Britain in fourth. Denmark won a silver and a bronze in men’s tumbling while France, Portugal and Sweden all won one bronze medal.



  • At the 27th UEG Congress, organised in the Croatian seaside town of Split, Georges Guelzec (FRA) steps down as President. Azerbaijan’s Farid Gayibov is elected the 5th President of the UEG and starts his role on 1st January 2018: “We’ll be one big European team and I think that all together we will achieve a lot of success. As a Vice President we have already started with several projects like PR, media and marketing which we will continue to improve. Especially this year we had a lot of success with our European Championships. One of our main goals is to attract more people to gymnastics.”
  • Swedish Olympian Emma Larsson announces her retirement as a result of a string of injuries and setbacks.
  • Giulia Steingruber, bronze medallist on vault at the World Championships, and Pablo Braegger, European Champion on high bar, are nominated for the Swiss Athlete of the Year award.
  • History maker Nina Derwael is nominated for the award Female Athlete of the Year in Belgium.
  • European all-around Champion Ellie Downie is nominated for the Young Sports Personality of the Year in Great Britain