Tsvetelina Stoyanova's MRI Results Bring Hope, Bulgarian Team Continues Strong

The Bulgarian media has announced that Tsvetelina Stoyanova's MRI has shown no serious spinal cord injury, which makes everyone hopeful for her future recovery. Various individuals who may or may not be familiar with Tsveti's situation, such as former individual gymnast Nastia Kisse and former group gymnast Maia Paunovska, have continued to blame the Bulgarian Federation for Tsveti's tragedy. The Bulgarian group members have all made statements saying that they always supported Tsveti and treated her like a sister and that the same applies for everyone on the team including the coaches. Hristiana Todorova and team captain Mihaela Maevska have expressed disappointment that some people have claimed the team should not compete in Holon. They asserted the position that they continue to do their work and work towards their Olympic dream while always thinking of Tsveti and dedicating their efforts to her.

In all of this turmoil, Bulgarian individual gymnasts, Neviana Vladinova and Katrin Taseva were unfortunately placed in the first group of the competition where the scoring started with a lower base. Vladinova did 4 very strong routines, but only received over 18 for her hoop.  Neviana has the pressure and responsibility to show that she is an amazing leader of the Bulgarian team and an example of other individual gymnasts. By placing in the top 10 at this European Championship, she has fulfilled that promise 100%. I think her resilience and courage can inspire the wonderful junior gymnasts Bulgaria has brought to this event such as Ioana Nikolova who has made the finals among juniors. 

I would specifically like to point out how strong and focused coach Branimira Markova has been in both working with Nevi and also encouraging her and supporting her even as routines were not performed cleanly. We have all seen tremendous growth in Nevi and it is only a matter of time before she truly masters additional difficulty to improve the quality of her routines. But it is also important that she step out as a very confident performer and the coaches are instrumental in building and nurturing this confidence. Branimira and Nevi show they have a beautiful bond and a fantastic coaching relationship.

Further to the joy of fans, Katrin Taseva made a very successful European debut with very, very strong ball routine, and finally  a cleanly performed ribbon! I truly believe that Katrin Taseva deserves to cross the 18.000 mark with the difficulty and risk in her routines and that it is just a matter of time and some additional confidence building before that happens.

For Katrin in particular, this was a first time at such a big event and she needed to have her teammates and coaches support her in a calm and focused manner. It is impossible for this kind of support to occur when media and even previous competitors such as Kisse have chosen to point fingers at people instead of being sympathetic to the entire team in this difficult situation. For this reason, the fact that Katrin looked stronger and stronger with each routine just points to the brilliant future ahead of her. I only wish Katrin had become part of the team earlier. 

Overall, I am deeply satisfied that Bulgaria is finally represented not by only one but two gymnasts who choose to reach out for new heights in their work by showing original elements, being expressive, staying focused and challenged and also being there for each other as teammates and friends. 

I believe that fans around the world need to hear that girls in the Bulgarian team are inspired and inspiring, that they love what they do and look forward to competing. It is both sad and unfair that some individuals have chosen to place the blame for Tsveti's situation on coaches and on gymnastics in general. As we observe both the group and the individual gymnasts on the Bulgarian team, we can see they are hard-working, spirited and compassionate people who constantly demonstrate both strength and caring for one another.  I wish them the best of luck before the Olympics.

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