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Over the course of her life Olga has been associated with four different names, Kharlova, Karaseva, Karasyova, and Kovalenko. As a result she is often mistakenly entered into databases as two different gymnasts and it isn’t realized that all these results belong to a single gymnast who was a core member of the Soviet team for eight years.
Karaseva and three gymnasts from her age group (Larissa Petrik, Natalia Kuchinskaya, & Zinaida Voronina) rose up the ranks of the Soviet program in unison and together they were the foundation of the Soviet program. Karaseva spent most of her career being seen as the weakest member of the quartet and often watched as they won medals without her. But at the 1969 European Championships Karaseva was the only member of the quartet in attendance and finally found her moment to prove that she too was a highly capable gymnast. Olga Karaseva won a medal on every event.
In the 1990s a German television program recorded an interview with “Karaseva” where “she” alleged Soviet gymnasts had partaken in abortion doping and had gone as far as to claim gymnasts who did not wish to partake in the practice were raped by their coaches. It would later be revealed that the interviewee was an imposter pretending to be Karaseva and had successfully duped the media. The story has been debunked by fact checkers on numerous occasions. But the damage was done and Karaseva’s name is more widely known for her role in the abortion doping fiasco than her actual athletic accomplishments.
World Championships & Olympic Competition:
World Championships: 2nd-Team, 15th-AA
USSR Cup: 5th-AA
Olympic Games: 1st-Team
USSR Cup: 3rd-AA, 1st-FX
European Championships: 2nd-AA, 3rd-VT, 2nd-UB, 2nd-BB, 1st-FX
USSR Cup: 1st-FX
World Championships: 1st-Team, 2nd-FX
USSR Cup: 3rd-AA
USSR Championships: 2nd-AA, 2nd-VT, 1st-BB, 1st-FX
USSR Championships: 4th-AA, 6th-VT
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 symbols can be found here.