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Anna Bessonova ready for Beijing
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She is pretty, graceful, talented, and has a sports family behind her. Anna Bessonova seems to have all these needed to make a successful rhythmic gymnast.

The 24-year-old Ukrainian has not failed her gifts. After numerous medals in continental and world rhythmic competitions, now Bessonova is ready for gold at the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games.

Bessonova was born on July 29, 1984, in Kiev. Her pro soccer player father, Vladimir Bessonov, played for Dynamo Kiev and made it to the FIFA World Cup Final. Her mother, Viktoria, was a group rhythmic gymnast and won the World Championships twice. It was she who introduced the young Anna to the world of rhythmic gymnastics.

Bessonova began training when she was only five. Instructed by Alina Deriugina and her daughter Irina Deriugina, a two-time world champion, she benefited a lot from excellent coaching and showed great talent at a young age.

With years of hard training, Bessonova showed incredible flexibility and entered her first international competition at age 10.

In 1999, Bessonova competed in group gymnastics and finished third in the World Championship in Osaka, Japan. Two years later, she clinched the bronze medal for individual all-round at the 2001 worlds in Madrid, Spain.

After winning more titles at the World and European championships, the rising star went to Athens, where she performed impressively to earn an Olympic bronze medal.

Bessonova was finally awarded a long-waited gold medal at the 2007 world championship in Patras and most recently executed a gold-medal routine at LA Lights 2008.

(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2008)

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