Two-time Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva is retiring from competition because of a kidney disease, Russian media reported Thursday.
Two-time Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva is retiring from competition after suffering from a kidney disease, Russian media reported Thursday.
The world and European champion is hospitalized with kidney stones and is facing weeks of recovery, said team coach Valentina Rodionenko, ruining any chances of Afanasyeva competing in a third Olympic Games. As late as Wednesday, the 24 year old had been listed as an alternate for this summer's Olympic Games, with a chronic ankle injury still a question.
Known for her exceptional grace and power, Afanasyeva was a member of Russia's fourth-place team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where she qualified to the final on balance beam. She helped lead Russia to its first world team title two years later in Rotterdam, and in 2011 became world champion on floor exercise. She was the captain of Russia's team that won the silver at the 2012 Olympics in London. She won floor exercise at both the 2013 and 2015 European championships, and won vault and floor at the 2013 University Games.
Afanasyeva was plagued the past several years by an ankle injury, missing the 2013 and 2014 world championships, and underwent multiple surgeries. She returned to the world championships in 2015 and won a silver medal on floor exercise.
She competed on vault only at this spring's European championships in Bern, where she helped Russia win the team title and captured the individual bronze medal on vault.
Afanasyeva, who turns 25 in September, traveled to Germany in June to have scar tissue removed. She and Russia's coaches had hoped she would be able to return in time to compete at the Olympic Games, which begin August 5.
The Russian delegation plans to depart on Sunday for Brazil. Yevgenia Shelgunova has moved into the alternate position for Russia in place of Afanasyeva, with Natalia Kapitanova the second alternate.
External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation