The First and Only Gymnast to Ever Earn 8 Perfect Scores in One Competition

Almost 30 years ago, at the World Championships in Varna, Bianka Panova from Bulgaria got 4 perfect 10.000s in the all around. She then went ahead to get another 4 perfect scores in each of the finals. This is a feat that will likely never be repeated, but it was very well deserved. 

Bianka is the perfectionist of rhythmic gymnastics, a performer who executes every movement with amazing precision.I believe a gymnast of such exquisite dedication is Yana Kudryavtseva as well. Ironically, both Yana and Bianka dropped a club at the Olympics, which resulted in a silver for Yana and only a fourth spot for Bianka in 1988.

My very first memory of a seeing gymnast  on TV as a child is  a still image of Bianka in a simple white leotard. Under the image, the score, 10.000, is displayed. She is executing a beautiful jump with a wide ribbon that looks like a natural extension of her arm. I still recall sitting in front of the TV thinking: here is a magical creature from the fairy tales, a  princess by nature, without any jewelry at all. I am rather certain that if she had to perform under the current Code of Points, she would still shine with absolute glory.

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