At a time when the Soviet Union was literally coming apart at the seams — or rather, borders — along came the rare gymnast with no weakness. That would be Tatiana Lysenko, who represented the Soviet Union at the 1991 World Championships, the Commonwealth of Independent States at the 1992 Olympics and her native Ukraine at the 1993 World Championships. Her final major competition was the 1994 Brisbane World Championships.
The event that really drew attention to Lysenko, however, was the 1990 World Cup in Brussels, Belgium. That’s where she upset her idol, 1989 World Champion Svetlana Boginskaya, for the all-around gold. The remainder of her brief career included the team gold at the 1991 Worlds; the floor exercise bronze at the 1992 Worlds; golds for the team and on balance beam, and the vault bronze, at the 1992 Olympics; and all-around bronze at the 1993 Worlds.
Lysenko was born on June 23, 1975, in Kherson, Ukraine, to an engineer father and physician mother. She began gymnastics at age 7 and was trained by Oleg Ostapenko, one of the most respected coaches in the world. Lysenko’s unique style was both athletic and artistic, and each routine was performed with exquisite flair.
Lysenko moved to the United States in 2002 to attend law school at the University of San Francisco. That same year she was also inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. After working as an attorney for 10 years, she changed paths and launched a recruiting firm, which assists companies in finding top talent in their fields.
Lysenko lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and their daughter, Sophia. In her spare time she enjoys horseback riding and yoga.