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30 Oct, 2021 12:06

Dina Averina breaks legendary Russian gymnast Kanaeva’s gold medal record – & two-time Olympic champ cheers as she watches (VIDEO)

Dina Averina breaks legendary Russian gymnast Kanaeva’s gold medal record – & two-time Olympic champ cheers as she watches (VIDEO)

Dina Averina brought the thunder as she danced to AC/DC's hit of that name en route to becoming the most successful rhythmic gymnast of all time, eclipsing fellow Russian Evgeniya Kanaeva's staggering haul of 18 world gold medals.

All-time great Averina has been threatening to break Kanaeva's record at the World Championships in Kitakyushu, and the 23-year-old finally completed the feat by winning the all-round for an unheralded fourth time with a wide win over impressive Belarusian Alina Gornosko.

Kanaeva, who won her medals in the competition between 2007 and 2011, was watching excitedly, sharing footage of the dramatic scenes while praying for luck on an occasion when Averina admitted she had felt nerves.

Now 31, Kanaeva hailed team coach Irina Viner-Usmanova and shared a photo of herself with Averina, her twin sister Arina and members of the Russian team in celebration.

The younger Averina claimed bronze on another memorable day for the gifted siblings that sealed a 22nd World Championships medal for the Olympic silver medalist.

Arina dropped a club in her final routine, but that was not sufficient to dissuade the judges from placing her third.

Dina put in a sensational clubs performance, although she was less entirely convincing in the ribbon showcase, making a mistake on a throw.

That is immaterial after a glorious end to a dominant week in which she was only thwarted by Belarusian Alina Harnasko, who beat her to gold in the ribbon final.

The Moscow-based superstar held four fingers up to the camera and shed tears of joy as the results were read out.

"I believe that this world championship should be named after Dina Averina – there can be no other options because she showed a phenomenal performance,” said former world champion Yana Batyrshina, speaking to TASS.

“It is also important to note that she is the only gymnast who was in the competition for all three days and did not make a single visible mistake.

"She performed like a champion, no options and questions. Could someone else be in her place? No, because it was her competition."

Linoy Ashram, the Israeli who controversially beat Averina to gold at the Tokyo Games this summer, did not travel to the championships with her team.

“It amazes me that there was such pressure on [Averina] after the Olympics," said Batyrshina.

"A lot of attention was riveted on her: how many records she could beat, for sure [that thought] was spinning in her head.

"She did everything. A real fighter – she has the strongest, champion character."

Batyrshina said she agrees with Viner-Usmanova that Averina can keep up her performances and proceed to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

The 42-year-old also voiced sympathy for Arina. “Unfortunately, [she] was a little unlucky," she said.

"Of course, it's a shame, but the bronze medal is also wonderful. [Going to the] World Championships [and winning] more than one medal... I think that they are great, [it's an] excellent performance from our girls. I hope they now have a good rest."

Alongside Kanaeva, three athletes have won a hat-trick of all-round world golds: Russian Yana Kudryatseva managed it between 2013 and 2015, with Bulgaria's Maria Petrova performing heroics from 1993 to 1995 and her compatriot, Maria Gigova, preceding her in 1969, 1971 and 1973.

Also on rt.com Brink of history: Vladimir Putin congratulates Dina Averina after gymnastics great becomes world champion for 15th time (VIDEO)