Elena Ponomarenko

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For better or for worse, Elena Ponomarenko was a member of the famed Soviet club Rostov Dynamo when it was at the peak of its dominance from 1978-1983. Ponomarkenko not only trained alongside Hall of Fame gymnasts Natalia Shaposhnikova and Natalia Yurchenko, but other strong USSR gymnasts such as Albina Shishova and Elena Veselova.

Ponomarenko was the unusual case of being perhaps one of the 20 best gymnasts in the world, but only the 5th best gymnast in her own club. This depth gave Ponomarenko access to some of the best coaching Soviet WAG could offer, but also meant she had to fight for 1-on-1 attention.

Her most notable result was finishing 5th at the Jr. European Championships. Elena also competed at the 1983 University Games which was one of the more prestigious assignments a Soviet gymnast could obtain. Interestingly enough, in an era plagued by boycotts, Ponomarenko is one of just five Soviet gymnasts who ever competed against Mary Lou Retton.

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World Cup: Alternate

Jr. USSR Championships: 4th-AA, 1st-FX

Jr. USSR Championships: 1st-UB, 3rd-VT

Antibes International: 2nd-AA, 1st-VT, 1st-UB
Riga International: 1st-AA, 1st-VT, 1st-UB, 1st-BB
USSR Championships: 1st-Team, 11th-AA
USSR Cup: 9th-AA
Jr. European Championships: 5th-AA, 1st-UB

Riga International: 3rd-AA, 1st-BB
Russian SSR Championships: 1st-AA, 1st-UB, 1st-FX
USSR Cup: 10th-AA

Ennia Gold Cup: 7th-AA, 3rd-BB, 5th-VT
Russian SSR Championships: 1st-AA, 1st-VT, 1st-UB
USGF International Invitational: 4th-Team, 14th-AA, 6th-VT, 3rd-UB

University Games: 1st-Team, 7th-AA

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Results are taken from Score for Score, The Gymternet, GymnasticGreats, My Meet Scores, Gymn-Forum, the official websites of various national gymnastics federations, newspaper clippings, classic gymnastics magazines, and in some cases, were provided by the gymnasts themselves. An explanation for the meaning of these undefined symbols can be found here.

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