A wittle Vika

I used to subscribe to IG throughout the 90’s, back when I competed. Far before youtube, you had to rely on IG for turning you on to up and coming talent(s). I recall an issue in ’95 featuring a photo still (IG loved photo stills) of a very young junior by the name of Viktoria Karpenko competing a standing arabian on beam. A skill that is still considered risky, it was pretty radical at the time. Though no video evidence of it exists, I maintain that Karpenko was the first to compete the standing arabian.

I always thought that Karpenko was the youngest in Sabae – 4 days younger than Marinescu, but then I realized that Marinscu’s age was falsified by a year.

Still, here she is in Sabae at the ripe old age of 14 looking cute as a button.

She didn’t contribute much, but posted a 9.787 for this bar routine. No real release move, aside from the Pak, but she does the “Karpenko”, and I believe the only full twisting double layout dismount of the meet (correct me if I’m wrong) :

Here she is at the Junior International on vault doing a Yurchenko-style vault. If Karpenko had a “weak” event in her senior years, it was vault. It’s kind of surprising given how powerful she is; you’d think she’d be one of the gymnasts doing a DTY, right? Here’s evidence that she could actually roundoff onto the board :

In 1996, Marinescu narrowly defeated her in the all-around at Junior Euro’s, but Vika did scrape up the floor title with her later infamous arabian double to punch front.

She doesn’t go for it in the AA, but this footage shows us the liveliest she’s ever been in her dance (even if the choreography is on the immature side) :

and beam :

This is sort of a template/pre-empt to a piece I’m working on about the decline of Ukrainian Gymnastics. Keep on the lookout for that.



2 responses to “A wittle Vika

  • Lizzie

    Such an elegant little gymnast. But then, most of the Ukrainians were.

  • Stoi!

    I remember that Junior Euros well. In fact I think I might have got her autograph on my programme.

    Regarding vault, I think she’s just one in a surprisingly long list of gymnasts who can do the big tumbles but are weak on vault. Memmel, Tweddle, Dos Santos, Bieger.

    As for her age, there were always Karpenko underage rumours floating around, but I’m not sure of the substance of them. Nor would I like to bet that all Team China 95 were born in 81 or before. Marinescu might well have been the youngest competitor in Sabae, but I’d not bet my house on it. If I lived in a house.

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