After a race like never before, Acrobatic Gymnastics couple Marina Chernova & Georgii Pataraia (RUS) are The World Games Athletes of the Year 2018! Congratulations!
The incredible couple, who won the 2018 World Championships and, before that, The World Games in 2017, the 2017 European Championships, the 2016 World Championships and the 2015 European Games, won the race with 159,348 votes just ahead of the Powerlifting superstar Jennifer Thompson, USA (152,865 votes).
Kickboxing star Orfan Sananzade (Ukraine) made a huge leap in the latter part of the race and secured third place with 63,320 votes. All in all a record number of votes, 492,104, were cast in the race.
“After last year’s success The World Games Athlete of the Year race has really climbed to new heights,” says IWGA President José Perurena. “Almost double the number of votes were cast compared to last year, and the two best candidates got over 60,000 votes more than last year’s winner.”
“It has been amazing to follow how sports fans all over the world have continued to support their candidates from Day 1. It warms my heart to see fans from 25 different sports activated and voting for their candidate to the end. Whether one of the top three or somewhere below, the fans have shown their support and love for their sport. I congratulate the Gymnastics couple Chernova & Pataraia and the runner-up Jennifer Thompson for their amazing campaigns, and all the others taking part. I hope to see you all in Birmingham in 2021!” Perurena concludes.
President of the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) technical Committee, Rosy Taeymans, is excited about the victory: "The Acrobatic Gymnastic Mixed Pair of Marina Chernova & Georgii Pataraia, RUS, are two exceptional athletes and as Technical Committee President, I am very proud that their outstanding achievements have been recognised on the World stage. It is an unbelievable achievement to be crowned The World Games Athletes of the Year. On behalf of the FIG Acro Technical Committee, I would like to thank everyone who voted for these athletes and it is obvious that the popularity of Acrobatic Gymnastics and the fantastic level of skill displayed is being appreciated across the world. This result proves that we have a great, exciting and beautiful sport and a great global following. Congratulations to Jennifer Thompson, USA, and powerlifting for being awarded runners up in such a close fought battle."
You will hear more about the winners and the runner-ups in the upcoming days.
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.