Friday, November 7, 2008

The Queen of Floor...

I was going to do the floor awards today, but then I realized that most of the people I would choose are the same one's featured in my "Putting the Artistic back into Artistic gymnastics" entry way back when.  So, instead I am going to focus on one gymnast.  The one who had it all on floor...... Miss Svetlana Boginskaya!
She could dance, she could tumble (enough), she was sassy, mysterious, wildly artistic and original and the Prima Donna of women's gymnastics for a long, long time.
So here's some reasons to love Sveta, for her floor work and otherwise.

Her 1989 floor routine was just incredible.  It was original, quirky and weirdly beautiful.  It was a gamble, getting a gymnast to do anything out of the usual pretty or cutesy repertoire, but it paid off big time.
Some might say, it was all in the choreography, but I don't think many other gymnasts had the style and sass to pull of those gawky, angular moves and still make them look good (let alone do  that air guitar with a straight face!).  Bogey had such presence, you could believe in anything she did.

But she could also dance classically (as in artistic gymnastics-classical, not ballet-classical) when needed.  Just watch her perform her compulsory floor routine at the 1992 Olympics, only Onodi came close to her for sheer beauty and precision.

Her long legs, for a gymnast, made her leaps particularly gorgeous, and she mixed it up a lot, with beautiful single and double stags, massive jetes, and great combo series.  Each series flattered her tall (for a gymnast) physique.  She was always so gorgeously extended. The fact she was a pretty awesome vaulter was amazing too with her long legs.

It was such a long career, yet she didn't have any floor routine that were boring.  Sure, some weren't as great as her others, and they relied on a similar style of music and movement, but she gets points for being entertaining and innovative for well over ten years- not many other girls managed that!

Perhaps her tumbling wasn't as hard as the other little whipper-snappers coming up the ranks in her last years but what she did do, she nearly always nailed.

People talk about Nastia's bitchface, but seriously, Bogey out did them all.  She had the best death stare of all time.  She even had it as a junior.  
Watch Olegushka's vid of her doing floor as a junior and behold..... Miss Pre-teen Bitchface!!  
She's younger, she's cuter, she's blonder, but still, she's scary! It's also interesting because she is doing one of those more typical Soviet baby-gymnasts high energy routines.  But it's still pretty out there.  All of her later routines, though vibrant, went at a steady medium pace.  This is jumpy and speedy and high octane, but she is great at it.

She has to be commended for her longevity.  She won the silver in the AA in 1995, exactly ten years after winning her first AA gold in the Europeans.  She competed for the Soviets, the Unified Team and for Belarus.  Not quite Oksana Chusso's resume, but pretty impressive.

She was tough, coming back from the suicide of her coach, Lyobov Miramonova, who she considered a surrogate mother.  Though she never really spoke about her again, Sveta came right back, with a new coach, and just got better and better.  Touchingly, she dedicated her 1989 Worlds medal to her.

She was kind of evil.  I can't find the quote anymore, but basically, in an interview, she told the journalist that she was so competitive that she couldn't help being mean to young up and coming gymnasts in her gym.  She had to scare them so they would know she was the best.  Intimidations tactics. Psycho.... but kind of great. 
But the girls seemed to like her.   There's this great scene in a French gymnastics documentary that Lyssenko has where the Soviets are training for the Olympics, and all the girls are hanging at the side of the mats in the gym.  Everyone is clustered around Bogi, who is holding court, and Tatiana Gutsu is trying to get her attention like an annoying little sister but Bogi isn't paying any attention.  It's quite cute and funny!

Even Svetlana Khorkina, the very next prima donna was afraid of her, saying once in an interview that the first time she went to Round Lake to train, she was too nervous to go in because Svetlana Boginskaya was in there.


  1. Bogi TERRIFIED me in 1996. There was something about her lips that I found especially scary.

  2. I always loved Bogi on floor. She was one of the few gymnasts that looked like a woman rather than a child. Not to mention, I loved her ability to wiggle!

  3. Great Tribute! Bogi was amaze! All hail Queen Bogi!