Oxana Skaldina

Oxana Skaldina bigraphy, stories - Gymnast

Oxana Skaldina : biography

24 May 1972 –

Oxana Skaldina () (born 24 May 1972 in Zaporizhia, Ukraine) is a former Individual Rhythmic Gymnast. She is the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist and 1991 All-around World Champion.

Notable trainees

  • Daria Svatkovskaya
  • Ksenia Dzhalaganiya

Life and sports

Born to an engineer and a kindergarten inspector, she started training in gymnastics at the age of 5 with Liudmilla Koval. When she moved to the Kiev she began training at the rhythmics school of Albina and Irina Deriugina.

Skaldina got her big break at the 1988 European Cup, where she placed fifth in the all-around and won the ball title. She would share in the Soviet silver-medal finish at the 1989 World Championships, and also claim the all-around bronze and three golds (rope, hoop, ribbon). After a hugely successful season in 1990, where she earned first place at the Intervision Cup, Goodwill Games, USSR National Championships, and World Cup, as well as third place at the European Championships. She became the 1991 World All-around Champion.

With the break-up of the USSR, Oksana and her teammate Alexandra Timoshenko, both coached by the coaching Albina and Irina Deriugina, competed at the 1992 European Championships in Stuttgart, Germany for Ukraine. Oxana placed 5th in the All-Around, but still managed to win 3 apparatus golds.

There was a controversy about the team members chosen for the Barcelona Olympics some weeks after the European Championships. The ex-USSR countries went to the competition as a Unified Team. Oxana Kostina was the favorite to go and had a better competitive season, many speculated that Kostina would replace Skaldina in the Olympics but Skaldina was named to the team instead. She finished 3rd in the All-Around in Barcelona.

She is remembered to have been in tears minutes after her last routine and famously refused to acknowledge and shake the hands of Carolina Pascual on her silver-medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics, an event that would become legendary in the rhythmic gymnastics event. In a recent interview Skaldina explained, "Winning the bronze medal instead of the gold seemed like a catastrophe to me, a collapse of all my hopes and plans."

After Skaldina’s retirement, she then moved to Moscow, Russia and became a coach, she married boyfriend Dmitry Svatkovsky, one of the athletes on the CIS silver medal-winning 1992 pentathlon team and the 2000 individual Olympic gold medalist in modern pentathlon. Their daughter, Daria Svatkovskaya, is also a rhythmic gymnast whom she is also coaching.