In a previous article I listed all the gymnasts who married an Olympian in women’s artistic gymnastics. In response to that article, readers frequently asked about rhythmic gymnastics. To be more specific, readers kept asking about one specific rhythmic gymnast who is very popular in the gymnastics community. As a result, I’m going to list all that examples of an Olympic rhythmic gymnast marrying an Olympian.
Every example features a rhythmic gymnast who married someone who competed for the same country as herself. One thing to keep in mind, these are the gymnasts who married an Olympian. Not every marriage may currently be active and I did not track down the divorce status of every athlete.
Oksana Skaldina (1992 Soviet Union)
Oksana Skaldina competed for the Soviet Union and was one of the sport’s most dominant athletes of the 1989-1992 Olympic cycle. She married fellow 1992 Olympian Dmitry Svatkovsky (modern pentathlon). The couple had a daughter (Daria Svatkovskaya) who herself became a highly acclaimed elite level rhythmic gymnast. Svatkovsky would return to the Olympics in both 1996 and 2000 where she represented Russia. Dmitry won a silver medal in 1992 and a gold medal in 2000.
In the interests of avoiding confusion:
-Soviet rhythmic gymnast Oksana Skaldina married Dmitry Svatkovsky who finished in 4th place at the 1996 Olympics in modern pentathlon.
-Soviet rhythmic gymnast Oksana Kostina had a relationship with Eduard Zenovka who finished in 2nd place at the 1996 Olympics in modern pentathlon.
In one era two Soviet teammates with the same name in rhythmic gymnastics formed relationships with two men who were teammates themselves in another sport.
Carmen Acedo (1992 Spain)
Carmen Acedo is best known for finishing 4th at the 1992 Olympics where in front of home crowds she was one of two Spanish gymnasts who finished in the top-4 of the All-Around. It was one of the strongest performances a Western European country has ever given in Olympic rhythmic gymnastics.
She married fellow 1992 Olympian Jesus Angel Garcia (speed walking). Whereas Carmen is a 1x Olympian, her husband is an 8x Olympian and was present at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Garcia has the most Olympic appearances of any athlete in Track & Field which is alternatively known as “Athletics.” This is an impressive honor to have as Track & Field produces the largest contingent of athletes in any given Olympic cycle.
Garcia is one of 16 athletes with eight or more Olympic appearances. Ironically, because Oksana Chusovitina and Jesus Angel Garcia are the only two 8x Olympians who made their Olympic debut in 1992, they are listed alongside each other on Wikipedia’s list of Olympians with the most Olympic appearances.
Neither Carmen Acedo nor Jesus Angel Garcia have an Olympic medal. Both but athletes have the distinction of finishing in 4th place at the Olympics.
Giulia Staccioli (1984 & 1988 Italy)
Giulia Staccioli is the rare example of a 1980s rhythmic gymnast who competed in two Olympics (1984 and 1988). She married Andrea Zorzi a 3x Olympian (1988-1996) of men’s volleyball. He won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics.
Tania Moss (1984 New Zealand)
This example features a pair of New Zealanders. Tonia Moss finished 30th in Los Angeles and married fellow 1984 Olympian Kevin Barry (Boxing). He won a silver medal in his respective event.
Aliane Baquerot (1996 United States)
The United States is the only country with two different rhythmic gymnasts on this list. This time it is 1996 Olympian Aliane Baquerot. She is the only rhythmic gymnast on this list to compete in the group (team) event rather than the individual events. Readers will be particularly interested in this story because she married an Olympian in men’s gymnastics. Her fellow 1996 Olympian Blaine Wilson.
Aliane would be a 1x Olympian while Blaine would make the American Olympic team on three consecutive occasions. He would win the first Olympic medal of his career in his final Olympics at Athens-2004.
Jenifer Lovell (1992 United States)
There is yet another rhythmic gymnast from the 1992 Olympics who married an Olympian. This time it is American rhythmic gymnast Jenifer Lovell. Whereas Skaldina finished 3rd and Acedo finished 4th, Jenifer Lovell failed to even qualify for All-Around Finals. But Lovell’s performance was still impressive and she achieved the highest qualifying rank of any American in rhythmic gymnastics at the three Olympic Games spanning 1992-2000.
She married Juan Miguel Moreno (taekwondo) who officially competed at the Olympics on one occasion in 2000. The reason I word it this way is because Moreno attended the Olympics in both 1988 and 1992 where he placed 2nd on both occasions. But he competed when taekwondo was considered a demonstration sport. Taekwondo was removed as a demonstration sport for the 1996 Olympics only to be upgraded to full Olympic status in 2000.
The strongest years of Moreno’s career were lost to an era where his sport did not have Olympic status. He was a member of the very generation who helped make it part of the Olympic portfolio. But Moreno never got the Olympic medal he deserved, nor does being “only” a 1x Olympian reflect a career that actually spanned four Olympic quads. But becoming an official Olympian in the twilight of his career would be a consolation prize for a remarkable career.
Margarita Mamun (2016 Russia)
This is the rhythmic gymnast who is so famous that when I did Part I of this series which only covered artistic gymnastics, everyone kept commenting about Margarita Mamun. She is best known for winning the All-Around title at the 2016 Olympics. Mamun is held in high regard amongst fans for her unquestioned athletic talent, but equally so for being a role model in all walks of life. She’s an athlete everyone loves celebrating and was the main subject of the documentary “Over the Limit.” The movie has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is so compelling even those who don’t watch the Olympics would find it interesting.
Margarita Mamun married fellow 2016 Olympian Aleksandr Sukhorukov. He is a swimmer who had previously competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics as well. Mamun and Sukhorukov are only the second set of Olympians on this list where both married couples have an Olympic medal. The other being Skaldina and Svatkovsky.
If you count total number of medals, Skaldina/Svatkovsky combine for three medals while Mamun/Sukhorukov combine for “only” two medals. But Mamun and Sukhorukov win the “quality over quantity” argument as only they can say both spouses won a silver or better at the Olympics.
One interesting thing to note is of the seven rhythmic gymnasts featured on this list, five of them married an athlete who won an Olympic medal. On all five occasions that athlete won a silver medal or better at the Olympics. Of the two remaining gymnasts, one married an athlete with a 4th place finish and is one of the most noteworthy Olympians in history to never win an Olympic medal. The other married a dominant athlete in his respective sport who failed to medal only because of non-athletic reasons.
I’m not sure if this is merely a coincidence or an indication of an actual trend. But I found it interesting that none of these examples resulted in a rhythmic gymnast marrying a low ranking Olympian. All of them tied the knot with male Olympians who were at the very top of their respective sport.