Fourth position is the worst position an athlete could ever be in but placing fourth four times in one major international competition is definitely an athlete’s ultimate nightmare.

Elena Produnova of Russia placed four times in fourth place during the pre Olympic World championship, 1999 Worlds. 

The Russian gymnast lost the all around bronze medal out to her teammate Elena Zamoloditchikova by 0.014 of a point despite outscoring her on three events, bars beam and floor. Produnova mainly lost the medal due to scoring lower than her teammate by a 0.301 of a point ironically on the event (vault) she is known to be powerful on. 

Produnova also scored the highest score on the balance beam 9.762 in that night.
Women’s Individual FinalsFedVTUBBBFXTotal
1OLARU MariaROM9.6259.5879.7379.82538.774
2KARPENKO VyctoriaUKR9.4939.7759.7629.67538.705
3ZAMOLODCHIKOVA ElenaRUS9.6509.6509.6009.78738.687
4PRODUNOVA ElenaRUS9.3499.7509.7629.81238.673

Her beam routine from the all around

At the vault final, Produnova once again lost the bronze medal with a very close margin of 0.005.  She lost the medal to Romanian and then World all around champion Maria Olaru. Produnova performed her signature vault ‘front handspring into a double tucked front’ which is also the most difficult vault in women’s gymnastics standing at 7.0 D score.

If Produnova was competing under the new CoP, with this vault she would have claimed the gold in a heartbeat.

On floor exercise, she lost the bronze medal to teammates, Svetlana Khorkina. Produnova scored a 9.737 with a routine full of difficult tumbling passes  like a double arabian into a front tuck worth nowadays a 0.2 connection bonus plus the value of the double arabian (E:0.5), a front layout into a double front (E) worth a 0.2 connection bonus. She ended her routine with a double twisting front layout (D) but her landing was too deep thus getting a huge deduction.
Just like the vault, her floor routine would have earned her at least a bronze medal , if she was competing nowadays. 

On bars, she lost the medal to China's Ling Jie with 0.062 difference. She performed a piked Tkatchev which is an E rated release element under the new CoP. Her biggest mistake was on her handstand on the low bar as she clearly lost some balance. 

She ended her routine with a beautiful controlled full twisting back tuck.

Routine at 4:10

Written by Gigi khazback Farid



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