Via Facebook
Lilia Podkopayeva, who won the 1996 Olympic all around title, was one of the first gymnasts to jump to Rustam Sharipov's defense after former Olympic Soviet gymnast Tatiana Gutsu included the latter in her MeToo post on Facebook.

Gustu alleged that legendary Soviet gymnast Vitaly Scherbo raped her during the Stuttgart cup back in 1991, accusing then teammates Tatiana Toropova and Rustam Sharipov of not standing up for her when it happened.

Rustam denied the accusations in a Facebook post stressing that this is the first time for him to hear about the rape allegation.

"Rustam Sharipov we all know that you are person of great integrity, judgment and character. I stand with you and I believe you," Lilia commented.

Podkopayeva then went on to write a long post on how Rustam is a "person of a great integrity" and a "good moral character" stressing that she has never experienced any harassment neither from coaches nor from teammates while questioning the timing of Gutsu's allegations.

"The accusations that Rustam could witness a horrific act and remain silent or not come to a help are not representative of his character," the former Ukrainian gymnast stated.

" I am myself a professional gymnast who competed in all major competitions since 1991 side by side with other male and female gymnasts and I have never experienced any harassment neither from coaches nor from teammates in my USSR Youth National Team and later in Ukrainian National Team."

"The alleged accusations are in no way could be related to person like Rustam Sharipov and it is hard for me to imagine what is a reason for such accusation coming out at this time."

Olympic gold medalists Svetlana Boguinskaya who competed for USSR and Belarus, and Dominique Moceanu of USA were among the gymnasts who supported Rustam.

Moceanu's supportive comments for Rustam drew criticism with people calling her out for discrediting Gustu's story when she emphasized the need to support the victim and not stand beside the alleged abuser or their supporters.

Rustam competed for the Unified Team and Ukraine at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic respectively, where he won three medals - two of which are gold.

Gutsu, Ukrainian native, competed for the Unified team at 1992 Olympics where she won the all around and team gold medals, silver on uneven bars and bronze on floor exercise.

Lilia Podkopayeva competed for Ukraine between 1993 and 1997. She is best known for being  one of the very few European gymnasts who managed to win all three Olympic, World and European all around titles.

Written by Gigi Farid

Like our website, please support us and donate.



WOGymnastikA is a blog turned website which brings you the latest updates on women’s artistic gymnastics as well as exclusive interviews with your favorite gymnasts. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us on .


Post A Comment: