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French Club Celebrates 130th Anniversary
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Bulgarian rhythmic gymnastics legend and current head coach Iliana Rayeva sends video of congratulations to La Bretonne Gymnic Club in France on its 130th anniversary.

La Bretonne Gymnic Club in northwest France recently celebrated its 130th anniversary with two galas earlier this month. The club, located in Saint-Brieuc, Côtes-d'Armor in Brittany, held gala celebrations on Nov. 9 and 10.

The club has a fascinating history spanning the three centuries (19th, 20th, 21st) during which it has existed. Established as both a shooting and gymnastics club on Nov. 14, 1883, La Bretonne was born out of the Third Republic that ruled France from 1870 to 1940. The republic wanted a well-armed, fit citizenry and thus established a number of gymnastics societies. "The gymnast symbolizes the French citizen. He is a good Republican ready to serve the Fatherland," declared Paul Bert, France's Minister of Public Instruction at the time.

Five gymnasts from La Bretonne were chosen to serve as pallbearers for the casket of the legendary French author Victor Hugo, who authored "Les Misérables" and "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame," during his funeral in 1885 in Paris.

In the beginning of the 20th century, as gymnastics became a competitive sport, the club evolved along with the sport. Women's gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics were included among the program. In 1992, the club merged with the Gymnic club to become the Breton Gymnic Club. Currently the club offers instruction in preschool, women's and men's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline.

Since 1995, the club has had a warm relationship with the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation and participated in exchange programs and training camps.

Three Bulgarian junior artistic gymnastics, including rhythmic gymnast turned artistic talent Elizabet Vasileva, took part in the gala followed by a training camp.

External Link: La Bretonne Gymnic Club Website

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