Larissa Lukyanenko Returns...as a Judge with Red Hair

Remember a stunning, breath-taking gymnast from Belarus, who frequently won against stars like Kostina, Petrova, Vitrichenko, Serebryanskaya, Zaripova?

When the Bulgarian TV comentator first saw this gymnast, she said, "God gave this girl so much talent, he forgot to stop."

Yes, I am talking about Larissa Lukyanenko from Belarus who I was thrilled to see as a judge at this year's World Cup in Montreal. Here are a couple of shots of Larissa in her new role.

For those of you who need a memory refresher, I am just going to say that among Larissa's many titles are the gold medals with rope at the 1992, 1995 and the 1996 World Championships. Wow, three rope gold medals! In 1992 she also won both European and World golds with hoop.In 1993 Larissa was second after Petrova in the all around the European Cup in Malaga but won the ball and clubs. She also won the European Cup Final with rope and ball in 1995 and got gold with clubs at the European championships in 1994. I still think rope was Larissa's best apparatus and here is an original and versatile routine that makes me feel sorry that the rope will not be used anymore in rhythmic gymnastics:

I think Larissa was one of the most memorable gymnasts of the 20th century and I wish her a meaningful and exciting career as an international judge. Perhaps she can help bring the rope back!