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Russians Mourns Loss of Bobrova, Kryuchkova
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Former Russian national team members Maria Kryuchkova (pictured at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens) and Natalia Bobrova have both died.

The Russian gymnastics community is mourning the loss of Natalia Bobrova Kudryavtseva, who died April 2 in Israel. Bobrova died after a long battle with stomach cancer in Tel Aviv, where she had gone to seek treatment. She was 36.

At the 1993 World Championships in Birmingham, Bobrova won the bronze medal on floor exercise, the first world championships medal for a female gymnast for independent Russia. She also impressed on balance beam as one of the first gymnast to compete a front handspring, punch front combination. She was coached by Mikhail Yakovlevich Koziorov.

Bobrova was absent from the world championships in 1994, but she returned to compete at the 1995 World Championships in Sabae. She then became a coach in her native Novosibirsk.

The death of Bobrova comes just weeks after the unexpected death of 2004 Olympic team member Maria Kryuchkova. Kryuchkova, from the famous school at Olympic Reserve School at Rostov-on-Don, won a bronze medal with the Russian team in Athens. She was also a member of the Russian squad that won the team gold at the 2002 Junior European Championships in Patras, where she placed sixth in the floor exercise final. She trained under Olga Nikolayevna Sagina, who coaches current European balance beam champion Maria Kharenkova.

Kryuchkova, 26, died of an embolism (blood clot) on March 8, a member of the Russian gymnastics community confirmed to IG.

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