Svetlana Boginskaya, or The Belorussian Swan, as she was known, because of her height, balletic grace, and long lines, was especially renowned for the drama and artistry she displayed on floor exercise. Boginskaya did some figure skating before taking up gymnastics at the age of six and she made it to the Soviet national gymnastics team at the age of 14. At her first international tournament, the 1987 World Championships, Boginskaya won bronze on balance beam and silver in team event. At the 1988 Olympics she won four medals, golds in vault and team event, silver in the floor exercise and bronze at individual all-around. In 1989, Boginskaya won the European individual all-around, vault and floor exercise titles and later that year won three more golds at the World Championships, this time in individual all-around, floor exercise and team events. In 1990, Boginskaya became only the third woman to sweep the European Championships (after Věra Čáslavská of Czechoslovakia in 1965 and 1967, and fellow Soviet Lyudmila Turishcheva in 1973), winning the gold medal in all five individual events. In 1990, Boginskaya also won the World Cup in floor exercise. In 1991, Boginskaya won the World balance beam and team event titles and individual all-around silver. In 1992, she won the European balance beam title and World Championships vault silver and was selected to Unified Team's 1992 Olympic team, where she won her third Olympic gold in team event.
Boginskaya retired from gymnastics after the 1992 Olympics, but decided to make a comeback in 1995, saying she was inspired by Katarina Witt, who had made a memorable comeback at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Boginskaya won individual all-around silver at the 1995 European Championships and competed at the 1996 Olympics, where she led the Belarus team to sixth place and competed in the all-around and vault finals, before retiring from gymnastics for good again. Boginskaya was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005, and she currently lives in Houston, Texas, where she runs two businesses, an online gymnastics apparel retailer and a summer camp for gymnastics students.
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