Junior superstar Viktoria Komova (Russia) made history in 2010 at the Youth Olympic Games, but tells IG the highlight of her year was a special gift from her parents — a puppy she named "Kutya."
IG Online continues its yearly holiday series, bringing you the scoop on what the world's best gymnasts will be up to at the end of 2010!
Junior superstar Viktoria Komova (Russia) made history in 2010 with golden performances at the Junior Europeans and Youth Olympic Games, but tells IG the highlight of her year was a special gift from her parents.
"The best moment in 2010 was my birthday present, a Shih tzu puppy," said Komova, who named her new dog "Kutya."
The Voronezh native won six gold medals in major international competition, making her one of the most successful gymnasts of 2010, and her hometown already named her "Athlete of the Year."
"And, of course, I have very bright and cheerful memories of my performances at the European championships and the first Youth Olympic Games," said Komova, who turns 16 on Jan. 30.
Komova poses with her beloved "Kutya," the Shih tzu puppy she received for her 15th birthday.
Komova's parents, 1986 Goodwill Games champion Vera Kolesnikova and former Soviet national team member Alexander Komov, presented her with the puppy when she returned to Voronezh after the Junior European championships in Birmingham.
Komova and Russian teammate Anastasia Grishina swept April's competition in Birmingham, a first in Junior European championships history. Russia won the team title, Komova won the all-around, vault and balance beam golds, and Grishina won uneven bars and tied for the gold on floor exercise.
Kutya was waiting alongside family, friends and TV crews when Komova arrived at the train station in Voronezh after dominating the inaugural Youth Olympics, held in August in Singapore. Komova was phenomenal in Singapore, winning the all-around title with a record score of 61.250, and taking individual titles on vault and uneven bars.
In November, Komova won uneven bars at the Italian Grand Prix in Sardinia. She was scheduled to compete at the Voronin Cup, Dec. 17-18 in Moscow, but suffered a sprained foot after tripping on the mat in the gym.
Komova is looking forward to spending New Year's Eve at home in Voronezh with her parents and older brother, Sasha.
"New Year's Eve for us is a family holiday and we always celebrate at home," she said. "Since we all love pizza, and my mom makes it very tasty, we help her prepare it along with other food for the New Year — all kinds of salads, meat dishes, side dishes."
Continued Komova, "At midnight, it's our tradition to pop open the champagne (children's champagne for the kids), wish each other 'Happy New Year,' give presents and watch the fireworks, which are organized in each city. Then we go out and get together with the neighbors for more fireworks and various amusements."
Komova, coached by Gennady Yelfimov, heads back to the Round Lake training center on Jan. 5 to prepare for her first year of senior competition. Her top rival for 2011 is expected to be her teammate, 2010 world champion Aliya Mustafina. The two are expected to fight it out for the all-around title at the Russian championships in March, provided Komova's foot has completely healed.
"In the New Year I really want to quickly recover from my injury and prepare for the Russian championships, to perform successfully at the European and world championships, as well as pass my school exams," Komova said.