Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ANASTASIA DAVYDOVA SELECTED FOR THE HALL OF FAME - MOST DECORATED SYNCHRO SWIMMER IN HISTORY


FORT LAUDERDALE - The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that Russian synchronized swimmer Anastasia Davydova will join 17 others as honorees who will enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Davydova is the four-teenth member of the class to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale. Previously, Open water swimmer Maarten Van Der Weijden, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA) Georges Vallerey, Jr. (FRA), Alain Bernard (FRA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN) and Laura Wilkinson (USA), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA), water polo players Osvaldo Codaro (ARG), András Bodnár (HUN) and Bridgette Gusterson, coach Dick Jochums (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced.

Anastasia Davydova—nicknamed “Asya”— was born on February 2, 1983. She is a five-time Olympic champion, thirteen-time world champion, seven-time European champion in synchro-nized swimming.. Davydova’s specialty was the duet event and she is the only swimmer in his-tory to repeat as an Olympic duet champion. Her routines were on the cutting edge of choreog-raphy, as well as being technically superior. In 2010, FINA declared her the best synchronized swimmer of the XXI century and in 2012 she was the standard bearer of the Russian Olympic team at the closing ceremony of the Games in London.

Anastasia’s first sport was figure skating. Then she saw artistic gymnastics on TV and she left the ice for the ribbon and mat, but not for long. At the age of six, her mother took her for swim lessons where she was exposed to synchronized swimming. She loved the sport so much that she even gave up her favorite foods: chips, cakes and chocolates.  You see, she was a little chubby and the coach put her on a trial period to see if she would lose weight. While she really wanted the “bad food,” she loved synchronized swimming more and the rest, as they say, is his-tory.

In a sport that usually forces athletes to be patient as they build international reputations, Ana-stasia Davydova did not have to wait very long to move to the top. At age 15, she was paired with Anastasia Ermakova (ISHOF 2015). Because they were very successful at the junior level, judges were familiar with them by the time they became seniors. At their first major senior in-ternational event, they placed second in duet at the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fuku-oka, Japan. The next year they performed a nearly flawless routine, including five perfect 10s in the final free program, to win the European Championships. At the 2003 World Champion-ships in Barcelona, Davydova and Ermakova won their first senior world duet title; the Russian team was also victorious. Davydova won team and duet at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens in April 2004 and the European Championships in Madrid in May 2004. At the Olympic Games in Athens, Davydova and Ermakova won gold with an impeccable routine, scoring a perfect 50 for artistic impression (receiving a score of ten from all five judges). In the team event, they also won gold, even after a music malfunction required them repeat their per-formance.

Leading up to the Beijing Games, Davydova, Ermakova and the Russian’s were unbeatable, winning every event they entered. At Beijing, the pair again won duet gold, earning a combined 99.251 and all perfect 10s for technical merit. The Russian team also won, leaving Ermakova and Davydova with a record four gold synchro medals.

After Ermakova retired, Davydova began training with Svetlana Romashina. But after the pair won at the 2011 FINA World Championships, Davydova stepped aside in favor of Natalia Ishchenko to focus on the team event, her studies at the Moscow Institute of Economics, Poli-tics, and Law and on coaching youth at her local club. When She announced her retirement af-ter winning gold in the team event at the 2012 Olympic Games, she also announced that she would turn her energy to coaching.  She wanted to be part of keeping the Russians on top. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Russia won both gold medals.

Today, Anastasia Davydova is the director of the Olympic Synchronized Swimming Center, she is a Cavalier of three Russian state orders, is vice- president of the Russian Olympic Commit-tee, Chairman of the Council of Assistance to the Russian Olympic Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Russian Olympic Committee.  She also still avoids eating her favorite “bad foods” and is in great shape.

About the ISHOF
The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people in-volved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, edu-cate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email bwigo@ishof.org

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