Elena Zamolodchikova : biography
Elena Mikhailovna Zamolodchikova ( born on September 19, 1982 in Moscow, Russia), nicknamed "'Zamo'", is a two-time Olympic gymnast. She began gymnastics at the age of six. In 1999 she participated in her first major senior competition, the World Gymnastics Championships, where she won the gold in vault, the bronze in the all-around. She was well known for her risky double-twisting double-backflip on floor and was one of a handful of women to have successfully competed one.As of November 2010, others included Cheng Fei, Daniela Silivaş, Vanessa Ferrari, Shawn Johnson, Samantha Peszek, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Skinner, Svetlana Boguinskaya, Tatiana Groshkova, and Aleftina Priakhina).
References and notes
1999 Worlds: "Baby Elephant Walk" - Henry Mancini 2000 Olympics: "Who's That Creepin'?/Daddy-O" - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy / Hipster Daddy-O and the Handgrenades 2002 Worlds: "Crazy Benny/Breathe" - Safri Duo / Moist 2004 Olympics: "Egyptian Symphony" - Motzart 2005 Worlds : "Crazy Benny" by Safri Duo and "Breathe" by Prodigy.
At the 2000 European Championships in Paris, Zamolodchikova produced a stunning performance, inspiring viewers both with her physical ability and her psychological strength. Just days before the competition, her father died as a result of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl accident. In the midst of her shock and grief, she led her team to the gold medal and earned individual silvers in the all-around and vault finals and a bronze on the beam.
Zamolodchikova was selected as a member of the Russian gymnastics team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She initially did not score into the all-around or vault finals; however, she earned spots in both when Elena Produnova withdrew from the all-around and Svetlana Khorkina decided to give up her spot to Zamolodchikova. In the team competition, the Russians were leading after the preliminary rounds, and had a good chance of repeating this feat in finals. However, the four 'star' gymnasts on the team all made mistakes. Elena's was perhaps the most dramatic, slipping off the beam as she took off for a Rulfova and narrowly missing her head. These mistakes cost the Russians the gold.
After two apparatus in the all-around, Elena was in first place with her stronger exercises still to go. However, she lost her chances of an all-around medal with a fall on the floor exercise, ironically on her simplest tumble. On a night where many gymnasts made uncharacteristic errors, she eventually finished 6th. Had she scored the same in the all-around as she did for her team finals performance, her total would have been enough to win her the gold.
However, she came back to win gold on both the vault and floor, thus becoming a two-time Olympic champion. During vault finals, Khorkina sat in the stands, cheering loudly for her teammate for whom she gave up her spot. Ironically, Khorkina was leading in the floor finals until Zamolodchikova performed: both were vying for a second gold. Elena's superior tumbling won the day over Khorkina's artistry.
After becoming a double Olympic Champion, Zamolodchikova won the World vault title in 2002 and a European all-around bronze medal in 2004, in addition to numerous other awards.
Zamolodchikova, incidentally a lieutenant in the Russian Army, competed in her second Olympic games in 2004. The Russian team won a bronze medal, and Zamolodchikova just missed out on an individual vault medal, placing fourth behind Monica Roşu of Romania, Annia Hatch of the United States, and a fellow Russian, Anna Pavlova.
She competed most recently at the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, where she was again unlucky, placing fourth in both vault and floor finals. Floor finals were particularly disappointing: she performed four extremely difficult tumbling passes, landing each one cleanly, but did not successfully compete all of her dance combinations. Her start value was lowered as a result from 10.0 to 9.7, and she scored a 9.162, placing her behind Americans Alicia Sacramone and Nastia Liukin, and Dutch gymnast Suzanne Harmes. Zamolodchikova's low score was unpopular with the crowd, who appeared to think she should have won bronze. She scored an average of 9.318 on her two vaults, finishing behind Cheng Fei of China, Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, and Alicia Sacramone of the U.S.
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