Yelena Davydova

57

Yelena Davydova : biography

7 August 1961 –

Elena suffered a serious injury when a bone detached itself from her knee. A medical specialist told her that her injury could be repaired through surgery. Her chances of ever again competing at the highest level would be negligible. In fact it could mean she would never be a gymnast again. Coping with not being able to train a sport you love is a massive psychological hurdle for an athlete in any sport. There are no guarantees no matter how assiduous you are in terms of your rehabilitation,that you will be able to compete again,never mind broach the same level pre-injury. Elena took plenty of rest and homeopathic treatments.Her resilience and spirit won through. ”When I was injured my coach believed in me and didn’t give up on me.In my mind I knew I could still be on the team. I kept going”. She did well at school, was an avid reader, particularly world classics, history and science fiction, and enjoyed going to the cinema and theatre. Korshunov remembers “She never misses a chance of buying new books when competing in other places. Elena swallows one book after another. I see one book lying,next to her bag one day,a new one is there the next day “. She played checkers. She enjoyed going on angling trips with Viktor,her father,and Gennady. ”I like to read and listen to music, but mostly I enjoy a few quiet hours by the water. I love to go fishing. I spend a lot of time fishing with my father or my coach, either on a lake in a boat,or on the banks of the Neva”. She enjoyed cooking and baking. As with many gymnasts she has a fondness for ice cream.

In 1978 Gennady Korshunov and his wife were invited to coach gymnastics in Leningrad, the birthcity of Gennady. Yelena Davydova and her family moved along with the Korshunov family. She achieved a silver AA at the Spartakiade of Russian Federation Sports Schools meet, and bronze AA at the USSR Cup, being the top scorer on both beam and bars. Shortly after, Davydova won the AA title at the prestigious Chunichi Cup in Japan defeating Maxi Gnauck. Her win by 0.55 points remains the joint 3rd highest margin of victory in the competition’s 34 year history. She also won gold on the bars and vault at the Tokyo Cup. As a result, she was chosen to be a member of the USSR team at the World Championships at Strasbourg in France.Merely to make an USSR Team represented a huge achievement since competition for all 6 places was so fierce. However, on the day of competition she was named as an alternate, and unable to compete.Although as alternate she still received a team gold medal it was a disappointment she was not to forget.

At the 1979 Coca-Cola International in England Davydova won a gold on floor and would have shared gold on bars, but her coach blocked the line of vision of one of the judges, and she suffered the mandatory 0.3 deduction. She finished 2nd AA at the Simo Sappien memorial tournament in Finland. Yelena Davydova was unable to attend the 1979 World Championships in Fort Worth, U.S., however, because of a case of flu. At the World University Games in Mexico she won team gold, 3rd AA, and a silver medal on floor and bronze on vault in event finals.

In 1979 Olga Korbut named Davydova, Stella Zakharova, and Natalia Shaposhnikova as the three most promising young gymnasts.

Olympics once again

On 28 June 2012, Elena was named as one of coaches to the Canadian Women’s Artistics Gymnastics team for the 2012 Olympics in London, England. Kristina Vaculik, who trained under Elena and Valery Yahchybekov at Gemini Gymnastics, was named to the team as well, the first Gemini gymnast and first of Elena’s gymnasts, to reach this goal, following her mentor, Elena, to the Olympics.

Team Canada made history when, on 29 July 2012, Team Canada coached by Elena and David Brubaker of Bluewater Gynnastics in Sarnia, earned a berth in the team final event. This was the first time that a Canadian gymnastics team, either male or female, had qualified for the team event in a non-boycotted Olympics. As well, Dominique Pegg earned a spot in the all-around event, and Brittany Rogers and Ellie Black both qualified for the vault finals.