It may have slipped most residents that Cayman recently hosted an Olympic gold medallist here. Based on her assessment of the local gymnastics scene, Cayman might garner attention from around the world soon.
Svetlana Boguinskaia (often times spelt Boginskaya) was at Motions Unlimited gym over the weekend. The Russian gymnast held clinics for young male and female talents who ranged in age from roughly 8-16. Boguinskaia was brought down by the gym in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Gymnastics Association and its president Bernice Scott.
For the record Boguinskaia has five Olympic medals (three goal, two silver and one bronze) and competed at three Olympic Games. She also won gold at the 1989 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
Boguinskaia, 38, held the clinics while on vacation in Cayman. She states she was pleased to see Cayman had a world-class facility that could produce talented gymnasts.
“This is my first time coming to Cayman and I didn’t know this island had a gym club like this,” Boguinskaia said. “The sport is not as popular as say basketball and tennis. But I see that a facility exists and it’s in great shape with new equipment. I did overall basic instruction. I worked mostly with girls though a few boys did turn up and they did extremely well.
“To see the youngsters train and the skills they can do at a high level is, to me, comparable with the US. Cayman will improve with its coaching and the kids’ talent. Right now the amount of kids taking gymnastics seriously is amazing.”
Boguinskaia, who is originally from Belarus, now lives in Houston, Texas. She retired from competitive gymnastics in 1997. Her last major event was the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and she was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005. She states the trip to Cayman was a relaxing one that comes in the middle of a usually busy period.
“Everyone is so relaxed here. Everyone made me feel so welcome. In the US it’s always busy and it’s go, go, go all the time. I quite enjoyed my time here and I have to come back. I’ll try to be back in May, probably with my family.
“Currently I do a camp business, called the Olympia Gymnastics Camp, that runs eight to 10 weeks where we go around and rent a gym in different states. I bring in my old coaches and we work with the kids to get them ready for the competition season, which is generally January to March.
“Between April and May I’m getting ready for the summer camps. Those take place from June to August with September-December being my time off in the year. Though I’m always available to visit other clubs, give speeches and make guest appearances at various events.”
When not involved in gymnastics, Boguinskaia spends time with her family members. Her husband William is a promoter, her daughter Amia, 11, is following mum’s footsteps as a gymnast though she has a new interest in cheer-leading and son Brandon, 7, is a golf enthusiast.
Ultimately Boguinskaia states her success was not easy and that kids in Cayman can reach similar heights with lots of effort.
“I may be retired and looking more at my company, but gymnastics always stays with me. It has pretty much been my life. I almost feel like it’s something you have to be born with and love to do.
“I trained for the Olympics from 14-19. I was in the gym six hours a week, seven days a week. It was a job because I started 7am and did training, with breaks, until 7pm with school on top of that.
“But if you put in enough effort and time you can be an Olympian. That applies to anyone anywhere in the world, including here in Cayman. You just have to spend enough time and have a goal. You give everything you can and you don’t have to be the most naturally talented. My motto is you put in 100 percent and you get 100 percent back.”