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Biography

 
Svetlana was born on the 19th of January in 1979 in Belgorod, Russia, as first child of Lyubov and Vassily Khorkina - the last name is also written Chorkina often. She started to practice gymnastics seriously after she had seen world champion Oksana Omelianchik on TV when she was about 6 years old, and right from the start it turned out that she had enough talent & ambition to become a pretty successful athlete. Unfortunately something else turned out that seemed to make a career as an artistic gymnast impossible before it had really started: She became tall! Considering the fact that her height would lead to problems at the gymnastic apparatus, especially with beam and uneven bars, her trainers commended her to concentrate on rhythmic gymnastics. She followed their advice and participated in this discipline - but only for one year. Then she decided to do the gymnastics she really liked! 

In the late eighties Russia was part of the yet existing Soviet Union, and the most talented young gymnasts became member of the Soviet Junior National Team. Svetlana was one of them! In 1992 she took part in her first big contest, the "Moscow World Stars", and initially placed 5th in the AA. This was just the beginning in a long row of successes, many competitions and first-class results were to come in the following years.

1994 was a succesful year for Sveta. At the 1994 European Championships, she won a silver in the AA (tie with compatriot Dina Kochetkova) and a gold in her favorite apparatus, the UB. She also was the 1994 Moscow World Star Champion. At the 1994 World Championships, her first world championship, she already placed 9th in the all-around and manage to win two silvers, on vault, in missing the gold by just 0.012, and the uneven bars, only second to China's Lu Li.

1995 was another big year for this talented gymnast. She walked away with the 1995 European Cup title, along with a silver on the UB and bronze medals on VT and FX. She defended her Moscow World Stars title and she also won three apparatus titles. Going to the 1995 Worlds, whe was one of the picks to win the AA gold, although she only managed to win the silver, she got the highest score of the whole meet (9.912 on the UB).

At the Olympic Games in Atlanta she won 2 medals: The gold medal at UB in the individual competition and the silver medal in the team competition. She only placed 15th in the all-around but would have placed higher if she didn't fell on a skill on the UB, a Shaposhnikova with a half twist, better known as the Khorkina on the new code of points.

At the 1997 Russian Nationals, she won two gold medals, the Uneven Bars and the All-Around! She scored a 9.750 on the UB and a total of 37.65.

Now, on to the 1997 Worlds, she won her first AA World title with a 38.636, .049 pionts better than her nearest competitor, Simona Amanar. She succesfully defended her UB title with a near pefect routine to score a 9.875, the highest score of the women's competition. She also won silver medals on the BB and FX.

1998 is another big year for Sveta. She lost her Russian National Title to Anna Kovaleva but succesfully defended her UB title. She also finished second behind Kovaleva on the Moscow World Stars. She also competed on a chain of World Cup series. She won the UB at the Cottbus Grand Prix, but lost the UB title to Bi Wenjing at the French Telecom. She also premiered a brand new routine.

Going to the 1998 Europeans, Khorkina wasn't favored to win the gold. A Ukrainian gymnast named Viktoria Karpenko seems very ready to take the title, but she faltered because of an injury. Khorkina on the other hand performed almost perfect on all the apparatus, taking the lead since the 1st rotation and she never fell from that spot. Her only miscue came on the third rotation when she fell on her second VT, but recovered with a 9.887 on bars in the final rotation.

Khorkina also won 2 apparatus gold medals. Taking the UB title with the highest score of the competion with a 9.900! She tied with Corina Ungureanu of Romania for the gold on the FX.

Special Thanks to .for some of the infos contained here.