Winner Takes it All: Pain and Gain of Russian Rhythmic Gymnasts

Irina Viner is a legendary Russian rhythmic gymnastics coach. Her athletes have won a myriad of accolades in the biggest international competitions. Take a look behind the scenes of their incredible performances and find out what it takes to train star gymnasts.

Rhythmic gymnastics originated in Russia. The country has also been setting the bar in the sport for many years. Russian rhythmic gymnasts are famous all over the world and their legendary coach Irina Viner is said to have had a revolutionary impact. She has trained many famous athletes and created routines for them that have wowed international judges.

Her love for children and insistence on strict discipline combine perfectly to get outstanding results from her gymnasts. She always strives to find an individual approach to each of her athletes and to figure out the best way to motivate them. Her grateful students appreciate her efforts and are prepared to work their utmost to please their coach and make her proud.

A gymnast’s career is typically over by the time she turns 21-22 years old. Until then she must put her whole life on hold if she wants to achieve outstanding results in the sport. The gruelling training schedule leaves young women no time for normal teenage activities, even dating. They also have to adhere to a strict diet as every gymnast is given a personal weight limit which she must not exceed. It takes a lot of stamina and resilience to stay on top of their game; and often hard work can do more for an athlete than being naturally gifted.

But they all believe it’s worth it. For athletes to compete professionally, rhythmic gymnastics must become an obsession. They love this sport with all their hearts and are prepared to make the sacrifices. Such dedication is rewarded with top places on world podiums and international recognition. Their role model is Alina Kabaeva, winner of all the Grand Slam titles, and whose multiple achievements mean her name has been written into the history of world rhythmic gymnastics forever.

Nowadays Alina organises rhythmic gymnastics festivals, allowing children who enjoy this sport to showcase their talents. These events are very inclusive and athletic ability is no barrier to taking part. At the same time, they help young hopefuls to get noticed and have the potential to kick-start a child’s career in the sport.

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Category: Documentary