Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Lilia Podkopayeva - 1995 World All Around Champion

Honestly, I thought that with such a vast number of readers being from the US, that Shannon Miller would win my 'Favourite 90s All Around Champion' poll.
Personally, I did vote for Lilia but I thought I would be over ruled! It turns out I was wrong, with Lilia storming the competition with over half the votes. Shannon Miller came in second with 20%, while Kim Zmeskal snatched third with 11%.
So, why is LiliPod so endearing?

First off, she was tremendously talented, taking five European and World medals prior to the 1995 World Championships. Throughout her career, she took 17 World, Olympic and European medals!

She was a true all arounder, with no weak event. Throughout her career, she earned medals on all the apparatus individually at either Worlds or the '96 Olympics.

She invented a number of fabulous skills, including a Double front with a half twist on floor and her very own Podkopayeva vault.

She was modest and gracious, even when she didn't win. Leonid Arkaev named her as the gymnast he would miss working with the most!

She was the full package, powerful and yet beautifully balletic.

She made you smile when she came out onto the floor with her charming routines!

At this competition, she was widely considered an underdog, but remained consistent to beat the favourites Lavinia Milosovici and Svetlana Khorkina.


The Couch Gymnast said...

The Lilipod didn't have that thing that gymnasts like Svetlana, Shannon or Nastia have where people love or hate her, did they? I've never really come across someone who outright didn't like her. She was a sweetie.

Katrina said...

And then she went on to become a decent ballroom dancer! I didn't particularly like her in the running up to 96 (she was Shannon's competition. HUGE Shannon fan here) but since I've gone back and watched her, I've fallen in lovepintabian

KarenLovesGymnastics said...

Lilia is a great gymnast, and one of my favorites too!

Couch Gymnast, I am sorry to say that I have come across a person who didn't like her because she thought Lilia was "fat"!

Anonymous said...

I didn't and don't like Lilia. In fact if she was scored correctly on her weak beam and horrible bars she never would have sniffed an AA medal.

Lilia cannot dance at all. Her pirouettes were all over the place and her choreography was a joke. PLEASE try and argue her 95 routine wasn't horrific?