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Dudnik on Life: 'You Have To Push Yourself Through It'
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Featured in the cover story of the October issue of International Gymnast magazine, former Soviet star Olesya Dudnik told IG that, through the triumphs and sorrows she has faced during and since her competitive career, she remains determined and faithful.

"Life gives you many things, and you have to push yourself through it," said Dudnik in a revealing sit-down interview with IG's John Crumlish in Marina del Rey, Calif., to where she recently relocated. "You cannot sit down and cry, and feel sorry for yourself. In my life, through many difficult situations, I think God has helped me, so I will continue the same way."

After a promising junior career, Dudnik, a native of Ukraine, made her biggest international marks in 1989. She tied for first place on balance beam at the 1989 European Championships in Brussels. She scored four 10s (compulsory floor exercise, optional vault, optional balance beam, vault final) at the 1989 World Championships in Stuttgart, where she finished first with her team, first on vault, second on balance beam and fourth on floor exercise.

On balance beam, Dudnik performed three combinations that are rare even today: side aerial, layout, layout; round-off, layout full; and round-off, flip-flop, triple twist dismount.

Dudnik said she was pleased to see her her side aerial, layout, layout series performed at the P&G (U.S.) Championships in Anaheim in August, which she attended.

"When I see girls do something like this, and they do it nicely, I am very happy because I understand it's not very easy," Dudnik said. "It takes hard work. By practice, you feel the elements. You feel everything, and it feels good. When people perform it now, it's what I felt before."

On floor exercise, Dudnik tumbled varied passes at the 1989 American Cup, 1989 European Championships, 1989 Soviet Championships, 1989 Worlds and 1990 Soviet Championships. Her glorious interpretation of Gershwin's "Second Rhapsody" in 1989 included an Arabian double front, 2-1/2 twist-punch barani and piked full-in at the 1989 Soviet Championships and her exuberant, poignant performance in the event finals at the 1989 Worlds.

Read "Higher Power," a four-page cover story in which Dudnik describes the personal, professional and spiritual challenges she has faced and overcome during her life, in the October 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

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