A BRIEF STORY ON Albina Deriugina and the Deruginia school in Ukraine
Updated: Jun 11
The Deriugina School in Kyiv is where the top Ukrainian gymnasts prepare for international and Olympic competitions. Anna Bessonova, Alina Maksymenko, Ganna Rizatdinova, Viktoria Mazur are some of the most notable alumni of the school, along with many more outstanding gymnasts in a different cup and World Championships. This school is run by Albina Derugina and it can be described in two words: excellence and elegance.
In case you never heard of Albina Derugina lets make something really clear: She is the closest thing to God any human will see.
Believe me, she's that good.
She is almost 90 years old and she has coached and choreographed many generations of Ukrainian gymnasts since the independence of the country, and she dedicated her young adult life to develop Rhythmic Gymnastics with the Soviet Team. She thought that after the 2012 Olympic Games in London she was going to retire, but to this day, she is still personal coaching, directing her school and playing a vital role in the Ukrainian gymnastics federation.
Deriugina talks about the conditions the Ukrainian national team train on. Nothing is too luxurious in the school. In the last 30, the Ukrainian government hasn't supported the Deriugina School and their installations. The dorms, common areas, and training halls are rather modest.
Deriugina has met the president and other members of the government to build a bigger training centre but they always seem to back up when talking about costs or building details.
Even with these limitations, the Deriugina School has managed to be one of the best schools in the world. Ukrainian gymnasts have a unique, fierce style. Many people (myself included) love their strong, elegant and incredibly original routines. Far from the girly, delicate, and pink coated stereotype of the sport, Albina's choreographies are sassy and distinctive.
Bessonova and Maksymenko are some great examples of this. Their style is fierce and glamourous. Only the Deriugina School could have developed the skill these gymnasts have.
Albina was one of the pioneers fighting for Rhythmic Gymnastics to become an Olympic Sport. She has done so much for this discipline and with over 80 years old and she is still rocking, unbelievable!