Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Alina Kabaeva: Russian politician and gymnast

Alina Kabaeva (born Alina Maratovna Kabayeva on May 12, 1983) is Russia's most successful rhythmic gymnast to date. She is also one of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of rhythmic gymnastics with two Olympic medals, 18 world championship medals and 25 European championship medals. She is the current State Duma deputy from the Party of United Russia since 2007.

In 1998, at age 15, Kabaeva won the European Championships in Portugal, and in 1999 Kabaeva became European Champion for the second consecutive time and won the World title in Osaka, Japan. Kabaeva won a total of 5 all-around titles at the European Championships and another World title in 2003 in Budapest, Hungary.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Kabaeva was expected to win gold, but due to an error she had to be contended with the bronze medal with the score of 39.466 (Rope 9.925, Hoop 9.641, Ball 9.950, Ribbon 9.950).

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Kabayeva took home the gold medal in the individual all-around event for rhythmic gymnastics with a score of 108.400 (Hoop 26.800, Ball 27.350, Clubs 27.150, Ribbon 27.100).

In October 2004, Kabaeva announced retirement, but in June 2005, the Russian head coach Irina Viner announced her possible comeback to gymnastics. So, Kabaeva took part in an Italy-Russia friendly competition in Genoa in September 2005. On March 5, 2006, she won the Gazprom Moscow Grand Prix, with the fellow Russians Vera Sessina and Olga Kapranova winning the second and third places.

Since 2005 Alina Kabaeva has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia. Since 2007, Kabayeva has been a member of the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, representing the pro-Kremlin United Russia Party.

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