Federation Friday: Estonia

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Federation Friday: Estonia

March 11, 2016

This week we head to Estonia, host of the ever popular ’Miss Valentine’ Rhythmic Gymnastics tournament!

1876 is considered to be the beginning of gymnastics in Estonia, so this year we are celebrating the 140th anniversary of gymnastics in Estonia! We practice 7 different gymnastics disciplines: Rhythmic Gymnastics, Trampoline Gymnastics, Acrobatic Gymnastics, Team Gym, Aerobic Gymnastics, Gymnastics for All and Aesthetic Groups Gymnastics.

 

For all Rhythmic Gymnastics fans, „Miss Valentine“ – an international tournament in Rhythmic Gymnastics and Aesthetic Group Gymnastics- is a synonym for a very exciting opener of the Rhythmic Gymnastics season. This year, it was already the 22nd edition and we hosted more than 1200 gymnasts from 37 countries all over the world.

 

The tradition started in 1995, when Janika Mölder, world champion in rhythmic gymnastics, organised the first competition. Every year on Valentine’s Day the event brings together some of the best gymnasts in the world to celebrate gymnastics.

Janika Mölder

Why on Valentine’s Day? Janika wanted to invite friends from different countries to her hometown Tartu and chose St. Valentine’s Day for that, a day of friendship and love. The festivity plays an important role in bringing warmth and grace to the crispy Estonian winter and is highly appreciated by the local audience. Miss Valentine is known for its enjoyable ambience and cheering crowd. Local people know that every year in February Tartu is filled with gymnasts and during the Miss Valentine week it is almost impossible to find a place in town where there are no gymnasts.

As one of the oldest gymnastics competition worldwide it is visited each year by gymnastics stars and champions both in rhythmic and aesthetic group gymnastics. Aesthetic group gymnastics was included in Miss Valentine’s program in year 2000. Ever since Miss Valentine combines successfully the two sports in a three-day event.

One of the highlights of the festivities is awarding the most graceful gymnasts with a special title of Miss Valentine, to accentuate also the artistic side of the sports. This year it was won by the elegant Grace Legote (RSA).

Grace Legote (RSA)

In 2016, we organised the first ever European Championships in Aesthetic Group Gymnastics. The title went to World Champions Minetit from Tampere in Finland! Russia went home with silver (Expressia) and bronze (Madonna). The Junior European Champion title went to Victoria (RUS) who beat Minetit (FIN) and VK Janika Diamonds (EST).

You can relive all performances of the 2016 Miss Valentine, held in Tartu from 11 to 14 February via their Youtube Channel. Here’s the hoop routine of Ganna Rizatdinova (UKR) who won 5 gold medals:

 

Of course, we are happy to invite you all to visit Tartu next February to experience Estonian hospitality and world-class gymnastics first-hand!

 

Text and photos: Estonian Gymnastics Federation