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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Smarrelli

2021 Victorian Sport Awards: Gymnastics community among the finalists

Updated: May 9, 2022

Gymnastics Victoria congratulates the members of the gymnastics community who have been named as finalists for the 2021 Victorian Sports Awards.

Each year, the Victorian Sport Awards recognises those who have made an exceptional contribution to sport in Victoria as individual or team athletes, coaches, administrators, and volunteers from both metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria.

Representing the Victorian Gymnastics community as a finalist for the Southern Cross Trophies Coach of the Year is John Hart.

John is the only Australian women's artistic gymnastics (WAG) coach to have had representatives at the last four Olympics Games. John coached Tokyo Olympian Emily Whitehead to win the all-around gold medal at the Continental Championships in 2021. This win secured Emily’s spot at the Tokyo Olympics where she, accompanied by John, scored a personal best in the all-around competition. John is known for his willingness to provide advice, consultation and guidance to athletes, staff and fellow coaches while serving on multiple advisory committees. Recently, he received the International Gymnastics Federation Honorary Coaches’ Diploma, becoming one of the few WAG coaches in the world to earn this prestigious award.

The Gymnastics community is also represented in the Governor's Award Victorian Female Athlete of the Year - Kitty McEwan Award category, with two finalists in Emily Whitehead and Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva.

Having returned from a long stint of recovery due to injury , Women’s Artistic Gymnast Emily Whitehead represented Australia at the 2021 Oceania Continental Championships and showed no signs of rust, winning first place and earning a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. There, her combined score on the balance beam, floor exercise, vault and uneven bars in the all-around competition was a personal best to cap off a triumphant year.

Also, a finalist is Rhythmic Gymnast Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva, who at 20 years of age, has been competing internationally for half of her life. Despite interruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was an eventful year for the accomplished rhythmic gymnast. She won three gold medals and a silver at the 2021 Australian Gymnastics Championships, was named the Senior International All-Around Victorian Champion and collected five gold medals at international tournaments after competing in Romania, Japan, Russia and Greece. Having made the difficult decision to move overseas to train and compete, Alexandra was the only Australian representative across all gymsports at the 2021 Gymnastics World Championship in Japan.

Congratulations to John, Emily and Alexandra on being nominated and named as finalists.

The 2021 Victorian Sport Awards will be held in person at CENTREPIECE Melbourne on Wednesday 15 June 2022.

Click here to see the full list of finalists.

Originally published for Gymnastics Victoria

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