<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.11/article/5beb0cbefc7e93691f8b45f8.jpg"> <figcaption>Alexandra Soldatova © Sputnik / Maksim Bogodvid / <span class="copyright">Free</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>Russian rhythmic gymnasts are considered the pride of the nation for their uncontested dominance on the world stage spanning over two decades. </strong> Starting with the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, Russian gymnasts have never failed to clinch Olympic gold, making their irreplaceable coach Irina Viner-Usmanova the most successful gymnastics specialist of the modern era.
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Viner-Usmanova apparently found her the secret to raising champions by creating her own empire of talent, where gold medalists constantly rotate at the top of the podium.
“After you climb down from the podium you should forget about your medals,” Viner-Usmanova tells her girls, motivating them to retain their winning tradition at major starts.
Always compared with ballet dancers for their elegant and charming routines, Russian gymnasts create true masterpieces on the carpet which help them to consistently post the highest scores at the world championships and Olympic Games.
With two years remaining before the 2020 Tokyo Games, it remains unknown who will take the two coveted spots on the Olympic team, with more than five gymnasts pinning their hopes on representing Russia at the tournament.
THE AVERINA TWINS
Twenty-year-old twins, Dina and Arina Averina have been the team leaders since 2017, when they made their senior debut sweeping all the gold medals at the world championship in Italy.
The sisters cemented their leading positions in 2018, with Arina claiming all-around gold at the European championships and Dina defending her all-around crown at the world tournament.
Despite dominating the world scene for two years, neither of the twins has guaranteed participation in the 2020 Games in Japan.
Soldatova was a reserved gymnast for the Rio Olympics where Russians Rita Mamun and Yana Kudryavtseva made an impression, taking gold and silver respectively.
Soldatova could have become the number one gymnast in the Russian team following their retirement had it not been for injuries which made her miss months of training.
At the 2018 world championship in Bulgaria, Soldatova finished third in the all-around event and added gold to her name winning the ribbon final.
Russian Olympic hopeful Ekaterina Selezneva is knocking on the door of the national team after delivering strong performances at the World Cup stages.
The 23-year-old didn’t leave a competition this season without winning medals in individual and all-around events.
Despite never being included in the national team for the world championships, Selezneva is one of the candidates to make it onto the Olympic squad.
In Tokyo, Russian gymnasts will be tipped to extend the country’s impressive winning streak, which has been unbroken for five Summer Olympic cycles following Yulia Barsukova’s fantastic victory in Sydney.