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15 Feb 2014

TOP-8 Belarusian sportsmen in 2013. MELITINA STANUTA, gymnast

Melitina Stanuta
We sums up the year 2013 with publications dedicated to Belarusian sports heroes, the best of which will be determined by public vote. Sergei Vishnevsky in the fifth article tells about the difficult fate of one of the most talented gymnasts of today Melitina Stanyuta who for 1,5-minute competitive performances on the carpet trains more and possibly harder than hockey players. Overcame the consequences of difficult injuries she had the most successful season in the career and took on her fragile shoulders the burden of leadership in the national team at the start of the new Olympic cycle.

Belarusian gymnast Melitina Stanuta

Great-granddaughter of the celebrated actress, grandgrand-granddaughter of the artist, the writer's granddaughter and daughter of journalists chose for career probably the most graceful and elegant sport. Both on the carpet and beyond it she stands out with exquisite appearance and aristocratic manners. But not everyone would guess that only her iron will and steely character up to now preserve this fragile-looking girl for gymnastics and for Belarusian fans – prospects of the Olympic medals in Rio de Janeiro.

Melitina Stanuta
Melitina Stanyuta
To understand better what price was given by Melita Stanyuta for minutes of fame today, we should make a retrospective journey into the history that contains multitude of contrasting moments.

Seventeen of her twenty years of life Melita Stanyuta dedicated to gymnastics. Got into the national team at the age of fifteen, she not only rapidly pushed her claims to leadership in the Belarusian team, but also brought hope that she is capable of dethroning Russian girls.

Debuted at the World Championship in 2009 in Japan, the young athlete was the best among Belarusians, having won one medal in the certain types of individual exercises (bronze for the composition with a hoop). In addition, she helped her senior friends Svetlana Rudalova and Lyubov Cherkashina to win silver in the team competition. In the Olympic all-around competition Belarusian yielded only to Russian leaders Evgenia Kanaeva and Daria Kondakova and also four-time world champion Anna Bessonova from Ukraine – at that time already fading, but still the star.

World Championship-2010 in Moscow Stanyuta started even better, took a third place in the Olympic discipline - all-around, yielded only still the same Kanaeva and Kondakova and won silver in the team tournament. But the price of the all-around victory was too high, it turned to a broken footstep. Moreover, the next day she won another bronze medal in the rope routine with broken bone! A week later she successfully performed at the competition in Japan...

Melitina Stanuta

Then there were unexpectedly detected chickenpox an hour before the complex operation, implanted metal screws and pin, and well-founded doubts about the future of sports career, because she was afraid that she could just walk normally.

But a year later, in 2011 in Montpellier, Stanyuta was again in the ranks. And how else: at the World Championship in France it was possible to win Olympic licenses! Took the sixth place in the all-around competition and won silver medal in the team tournament, Melita has found favor in the eyes of Irina Leparskaya – the strict coach of Belarusian team: "Melita Stanyuta is well on the way. She just did not get too much, when someone got bonuses. To take sixth place in the all-around after a year of recovery from severe trauma is almost unreal. She managed to do it, this girl is a hero".

"The injury was not only serious physical, but also psychological trial. It was difficult to sustain this make a pause in the performances, wait until everything is healed. But it toughened nature up. Now, if I have a black luck, it would be not so black, but at least grey. And I’ll come off with dignity", – described the bitter experience Melitina Stanyuta.

And she must have second sight. Soon, already in the Olympic year, life gave her another trial. Two months before the Games-2012 in London, the European Championship was held in Nizhny Novgorod. Participation of Stanyuta in this tournament was questionable. But she went there and took sixth place in the all-around. A senior teammate Luba Cherkashina took the fourth.

"They both were great, Melita Stanyuta a week before the European Championship removed gypsum from the footstep. But she could perform well, took sixth place in the all-around," – commented performances of athletes Irina Leparskaya on return from Nizhny Novgorod.

Hardly anyone expected from exhausted by the injuries Stanyuta medals at the London Olympics. But Melita was very upset at twelfth place and it seemed that she felt out of place. She obviously expected more from herself.

But you have not forgotten her words about the toughened up nature and black luck? After coming at a young age through such trials that would break many sportsmen the girl gained experience and mentally matured much earlier than most of her peers. She did not need much time to put thoughts in order and realize that it is her time, her Olympic cycle. Now – or never!

Season-2013 Stanyuta started impressively and even took the lead in the world ranking. She has constantly won several prizes at each of the tournaments where participated. And by the end of the year the collection of this season awards was almost twice more than the total amount of the achievements of the previous four years.

Melita Stanyuta’s medals in 2013:

  • World Championships in Kiev (Ukraine) – 3 bronze (all-around, ball, ribbon).
  • European Championships in Vienna (Austria) – 3 bronze (hoop, clubs, team tournament).
  • World Cup Series – 13 gold medals (two of them – in the all-around), 6 silver (two of them – in all-around), 3 bronze (one of them – in the all-around).
  • World Cup Final in St. Petersburg – 1 silver (all-around), 2 bronze (hoop, clubs).
  • Grand Prix Series – 1 gold, 3 silver and 7 bronze medals (one of them – in the all-around).
  • World Games in Cali (Colombia) – 2 gold, 1 silver.
  • Universiade in Kazan (Russia) – 1 silver (with a hoop).

And only in the autumn after the World Championships in Kiev the head coach of Belarusian team Irina Leparskaya said that at the beginning of the year the end of career threatened Stanyuta again: "Keep in mind that Melita was seriously injured, she was treated for a long time. She for a while did not know whether she will continue to do professional sport or not".

Perhaps such trials leave their mark on the performances of the Belarusian. In any case, some experts, giving credit for the complexity and clearness of performed exercises, have found something to complain about and criticized Melita for the lack of emotion on the carpet. Let's not waste time arguing with them and let them have the right to their opinion.

However, leadership in the world ranking Stanyuta failed to keep, at the end of the season she yielded the first line to the rising star of Russian rhythmic gymnastics – eighteen-year-old Margarita Mamun (120 points). Melita shared the second place with twenty-year-old representative of Ukraine Anna Rizatdinova (both have 110 points).

But loss of leadership hardly became a psychic trauma for Stanyuta. After all her troubles she is certainly ready for any eventuality. And therefore, sometimes it seems that she walks tall with a sense of superiority. Someone may take it as a star fever. But in fact, it is rather the behavior of a person who not only knows what he wants, but also understands what she needs for it. Perhaps this quality turns off those men which have no self-determination to get along with such high-status lady.

Melitina Stanuta

There is no need to hurry her. When it is necessary, she spends in the gym for eight hours a day and does not simplify the program, even if everything from top to toe aches. Without complaint she bears that she cannot take the liberty of drinking an extra cup of tea or eating an apple, not to speak of the biscuits and sweets. She gave the sweets a miss being a child.

In addition, she tirelessly destroys stereotypes about athletes – she studied hard at school and continues to do it at university. She has realized the importance of personal communication with foreigners: "I often imagine a situation: somebody wants to interview me, asks something in English, but I stand and flutter eyelashes. In our kind of sport such situations are not rare, so I long ago decided for myself that I should be able to communicate in several languages". And plus English, which she studied at school, she started to learn French, employing tutor’s services.

Also she managed to attend the driving school, parade at the National School of beauty, travel the world with demonstration performances, dream to play the guitar, be a guest at "Rokirovka" of MV-radio with the most famous Minsk rock band 2MORROW2LATE etc.

She also cares about the fate of her favorite rhythmic gymnastics, which she wants to promote after the athletic career: "Of course, I can’t perform forever. But I can stay in gymnastics: as a coach or judge. And I really want to develop sport management in our country. Rhythmic gymnastics is unpopular, although it’s a beautiful sport, and there are achievements in it. After the first victory when I got not only the team medal, but also the personal bronze one, I returned home from competitions so happy, inspired... and with a hoop. A man came to me and said: "Hey, why do you carry this tire?" and then I realized that we need to do something with the sport".

It’s easy to guess that the rhetorical question "Who, if not me?" Melita has already taken as a guideline to follow.

Sergei Vishnevsky


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