Why Did Ukraine Only Compete With 4 Gymnast at 1997 Worlds?

Well.. This answer is very involved.
There are a lot of reasons why they didn’t pull in Alternates.

First injury happened with Podkopayeva. She went to 97 Worlds coming back from an Injury. Ostapenko and her personal coach were originally gonna only have her do Uneven Bars, and Balance Beam due to the injury she suffered not long before Worlds. Then in a practice session before Qualifications she re-injured herself and withdrew. The Ukrainian Team decided they could just compete with just 5 and everyone could do the All Around. Then Karpenko injured her hand the day before Qualifications. Karpenko went right to the hospital, and had her hand checked out. The doctors confirmed that It was a broken finger that ran up into her hand, and she could not compete. The Ukrainian Federation had already submitted their Start List for the competition, while Karpenko was at the Hospital. Therefore they could not fly out there alternate and put them in the Competition.

Ukraine’s original plan for the Team Qualification was:

Galina TyrykLilia PodkopayevaLybouv SheremetaGalina Tyryk
Olga TeslenkoViktoria KarpenkoLilia PodkopayevaOlga Teslenko
Lybouv SheremetaLybouv SheremetaViktoria KarpenkoViktoria Karpenko
Viktoria KarpenkoInga ShkarupaInga ShkarupaInga Shkarupa
Inga ShkarupaOlga TeslenkoOlga TeslenkoLybouv Sheremeta

Now, some people might find it weird that Inga Shkarupa was after Viktoria Karpenko on floor originally. The reason behind this from what I have heard was that Karpenko was rather inconsistent on her Floor Routine, and would fall a lot on it. They used Inga Shkarupa who is rather consistent on floor, and has a good solid routine to raise that score up for Sheremeta so that Sheremeta could score the highest, as possible. Back during the 10.0 Scoring System if a Gymnast fell and got a low score the next gymnast would often get a lower score than usual. To outweigh this they would often hide a gymnast and put them last or put them in the middle or in the beginning of the rotation so that it doesn’t damage the strongest Gymnast score. In this case Inga Shkarupa was used as a buffer for Sheremeta just in case Karpenko would fall.

Why didn’t they originally take their Alternates with them? Well… What was the point? They knew if Podkopayeva was too injured to compete they would have just used everyone’s AA scores. Plus, they would have to pay for 2 extra airfares and hotel rooms. For what? Just to take them and possibly never use them in the team? So that’s why they didn’t take them…

Now time for my personal opinion… I think Ukraine should have at least won the Bronze, if not the Silver. Romania during these championships were often given way too high scores. My results would have been 1st RUS- 2nd UKR or CHN – 3rd CHN or UKR… Had Ukraine had Karpenko. I think they could have maybe challenged for the Gold Medal had they all hit there routines.. This team was possibly the most consistent Ukrainian Team that they had to this date. I will maybe do a blog post on these World’s soon. Who knows? 🙂

What do you think? Comment down below! Thanks for reading! See you all soon!

3 thoughts on “Why Did Ukraine Only Compete With 4 Gymnast at 1997 Worlds?

  1. Interesting read! I never knew much about the lineup strategy so that’s very intriguing! It’s such bad luck tho Ukraine just has some bad luck.. :((

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s bad luck for sure especially for Karpenko whom missed the Olympics and Worlds. Do we know why Zelepukina retired or didn’t compete here? She was young in Atlanta.


    1. Yes, Zelepukina in March of 1997 was forced into retirement due to going blind in her left eye. She later got surgery in 1998, and got her eyesight back in her left eye. She wanted to come back but due to past injuries didn’t want to continue


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