Elena Gerasimova: The most important peak would be getting to the Olympics

The 2019 junior world balance beam champion hopes to take a step toward Tokyo this week at the Russian Cup.

By Scott Bregman and Ekaterina Kuznetsova
Picture by FIG

In 2019, gymnast Elena Gerasimova was part of the Russian team that dominated the inaugural Junior World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Gyor, Hungary. She and teammates Viktoria Listunova and Vladislava Urazova combined to win five of the possible six gold medals, and they captured nine of a possible 11 medals overall.

Gerasimova, for her part, won balance beam gold.

“I really love the balance beam,” Gerasimova told Olympic Channel in an interview conducted in March. “In general, I love all the apparatuses. Each apparatus is special in its won way. I like them all, but balance beam the most.”

This week, Gerasimova will try to make her case for a trip to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, scheduled for July 2021, at the Russian Cup. Competition began Tuesday (8 June) and runs until Saturday (12 June) in Novosibirsk. It is the final domestic competition in Russia prior to the Olympic Games though their team will be decided after several closed-door trials, according to Gymnovosti.

Olympic dream

Going to the Olympics is what Gerasimova considers her ultimate dream.

“The most important peak for me would be, of course, getting to the Olympics,” she said. “And after the Olympics, then we’ll see what will happen with future competitions.”

Gerasimova got started in the sport more than a decade ago, following a familiar path from energic youngster to Olympic hopeful.

“I was probably hyperactive, and my parents deiced it would be cool for me to try artistic gymnastics,” she explained of how she got started in the sport. “However, I could not get into artistic gymnastics immediately because of my age - I was told to grow up first and then to come back.

“So, I said, ‘Okay.’ When I turned six years old, I came back again, and this is how my sporting life began,” she said.
Despite the pandemic, Gerasimova has had a busy few months, returning to the world stage at the Friendship and Solidarity event held in Japan last November. Earlier this year, she notched a silver medal at the Russian Championships before heading to the Europeans.

Dual personality

But it was the trip to Japan that motivated her most.

“I would love to go [to Japan] again and perform and get to the finals, to win with the team and individually,” she said. “I plan to get into the team, and this is very serious for me.”

The soon-to-be 17-year-old says gymnastics requires from her a dual personality, serious in the gym and more carefree outside of it.

“It’s two different people,” Gerasimova explained. “I am way more stubborn and focused in gymnastics.”

That focus manifesting itself in a clear vision for her gymnastics future.
“My cherished dream is to change my life a little, to make it different, to take bigger steps in life than I took before,” she said. “There is a lot that I want to achieve in this life and this year.”