Batrichina was a member of the Russian rhythmic gymnastic (combination of dance, gymnastic movements and apparatus handling) team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and won the silver medal in the individual competition. The Games did not begin well for Yana, however, as she was in 13th place after the preliminaries. Because the top twenty gymnasts advanced to the semifinals, though, she was able to remain in competition. After finishing third in the semifinals, she finished second in the finals to capture the silver.
Batrichina was one of the most popular participants in rhythmic gymnastics international competition before her sudden and unexpected retirement in 1998 at the age of 19. Known for her "impish charm and original elements," and her ever-present smile, Yana burst onto the scene in 1993 when she finished second at the European Junior Championships. The following year, she moved up to the senior competition, finishing a respectable 15th at the European Championships and 9th at the Worlds.
In 1995, Yana emerged as a contender in the world of rhythmic gymnastics, finishing second in the all-around competition at the European Cup and third at the World Championships. The following year, she struggled at times, and only placed in the ribbon competition (finishing second) at the European Championships, but rebounded at the Olympics. In 1997, her performance was inconsistent. She won the silver medal at the Europeans in both the hoop and club events, but finished eighth in the all-around. At the World Championships that year, Yana stepped up and won the rope event, finished second in the clubs, and third in the all-around competition. She also competed at the Maccabiah Games in 1997.
In 1998, her final year of competition, Yana won the gold medal in the rope event, silver in the hoop, and bronze in the ribbon at the European Championships; she also finished third in the all-around competition. Following the Championships, though, Yana decided to retire despite still being one of the best rhythmic gymnasts in the world. Considered a trendsetter for using her incredible flexibility in her routines, many current gymnasts say Yana was their inspiration. She began coaching rhythmic gymnastics in 1999 and helped train the Brazilian team for the 2000 Olympics.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Oct. 7, 1979
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)