Margarita Mamon


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Keir Hardy
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I watched yesterday, for the second time an episode of Storyville on BBC 4, of "Over the Limit" a documentary on this then twenty year-old Russian Rhythmic Gymnast. It was on first about a year ago.
She has a very striking attractive appearance, having a Russian mother and a Bangladeshi father. What struck me was the constant crap she put up with from an overbearing middle aged senior coach, with a peculiar idea of what was fashionable wear, in one outfit she looked like a cowgirl, contrasting with her supportive and very tactile personal coach, which at first made me feel uncomfortable until I checked that she was a forty year old married woman with two kids, so I think she was just being "motherly," as the girl seemed to spend most of her life in a state of self doubt, extreme nervousness and misery.
If you weren't aware of the situation, you'd think that there'd be no happy ending, but she won the all-round 2016 World Championships then went on to win the gold medal for the same combined event at the Rio Olympics. She beat her fellow Russian competitor, who was always considered better, which the head coach often told Margarita, but although this other girl was thought to be a shoe-in for the gold, she messed up one of her routines.
Margarita still holds the record for the highest number of points achieved in the all-round event.

Two days after she returned from Rio her father died of cancer.

She gave up competing some months later.

She now is a coach.

During the documentary, you saw her at happiest talking on the phone to her boyfriend a 29 year-old Russian Olympic swimmer. They became engaged and married in 2017, both her personal coach and surprisingly the "bully" (probably ordered to be there by the Russian Federation, I really don't know), appear in the wedding photos,

In July 2019 she announced they were expecting their first child. In later photos she seems very happy.

I've always considered the grace in rhythmic gymnastics, more watchable than conventional "wham bang thank you mam" gymnastics, even the floor exercise apart from the tumbles, often looks awkward. Rhythmic Gymnastics is a sport at which the Russians excel. 40,000 kids are actively in training in Russia.

In the team events the girls try to appear physically the same, which always reminds me of that old Robert Palmer video "Addicted to Love" where all the girls pretending to be the backing musicians, wear the same makeup and look very much alike.

This is a video of her gold medal winning performance. Routines with, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. Amazing.

The documentary is on YouTube and BBC i>Player

 
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