Captain of Bulgarian Group Simona Dyankova Can Rock on Any Carpet

Photography:Dimo Dimov

We have all seen her leap in the year behind her teammates but do you remember her as an individual gymnast? I wrote about her  along time ago here: https://ludafenka-en.blogspot.com/2011/01/beautiful-young-gymnast-from-bulgaria.html.

At first I was skeptical about her move to the group. This is a gymnast who always adds her own interpretation to every movement and, with those touches, can make a routine memorable, but groups are about uniformity and harmony, not rock-star individual stage presence. I thought she would stand out with her own style and not look like the other four girls, to put it simply. Now that she has been with the group for a while, I think her place as leader of the group has made a significant impact on the entire national team, an impact she may not have had the chance to make before. She raises everyone's spirit and pushes for a more expressive style.  I think the others on the team perform more boldly under her guidance and contagious example. 

Being part of the group exercise does not work smoothly for everyone and many top performers retire due to the internal politics of their federation because they don't "break through" as an individual competitor, or at least not as quickly as their coaches expect. The group is not some kind of second chance, though; it is simply a different challenge and a choice to commit and contribute to a shared goal.

While Simona had a lot of potential to bring her gymnastics to the next level as an individual as she's a true actress and a diva of dance and expression, all the personal sacrifices she has made to be part of the group are definitely well worth it. She has become the leading athlete in a dream team and is participating in performances that will leave a mark on the history of the sport.