The Acrobatic Gymnastics World Champions Marina Chernova and Georgii Pataraia (RUS) became The World Games Athletes of the Year 2018 with a new record number of votes: 159,348. It was a tight race against Powerlifter Jennifer Thompson (USA), who polled 152,865 votes.
“It is a big victory for us and a big victory for our sport,” said a shocked but delighted Chernova. “We are so pleased to be the best among a large number of worthy athletes.”
“This result proves that we have a great, exciting and beautiful sport and a great global following,” said FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee President Rosy Taeymans (BEL).
“We tried to activate everyone: the Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee presidents of all the continental unions, Executive Committee members, Acro judges, coaches, athletes, clubs, our national federations and the fans,” says Taeymans.“We asked them to activate their members and their friends and families. Furthermore May Miller, the FIG Athlete Representative for Acrobatic Gymnastics, was very active on social media. We also asked officials from other Gymnastics disciplines to support our candidates as they were representing ‘Gymnastics’ and not only Acrobatics.
We didn’t just ask once, but sent reminders every few days until the last day of voting.”
All over social media, people were celebrating the victory of ‘the Acro family’. Taeymans says that the Acrobatic family is huge: “The Acro community includes every gymnast who is practising acrobatics, be it on a recreational, demo or competition level, and also their judges, coaches, parents and fans.”
It is obvious that the family is not only huge but feels closely-knit. This time the couple Chernova & Pataraia really could trust in their support. “Most of the other Gymnastics disciplines are individual, but we can only perform in a ‘team’, as a pair or a group. We depend on each other and are responsible for each other,” Taeymans explains. “There is an unbelievable amount of blind trust between the partners because they don’t have a stable apparatus but only each other.”
“I am very proud that their outstanding achievements have been recognised on the world stage,” Rosy Tayemans concludes.
“It is an unbelievable achievement to be crowned The World Games Athletes of the Year. For us, The World Games is the place to be until we become an Olympic discipline. It is our multi-sport event on a World level, like the Olympic Games for the Olympic disciplines.”
Read more about The World Games Athlete of the Year race and the final result in this earlier article.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.