Former world rhythmic champion Gabashvili dies at 48
posted on 03/24/2009

Irina Gabashvili

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., March 24, 2009 – Irina Gabashvili of Tigard, Ore., a former world rhythmic gymnastics champion who has coached in the United States since 2000, died today at age 48 after a five-year battle with cancer. A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, at 1:00 p.m. at Holy New Martyrs of Russia Orthodox Church in Mulino, Ore.

“Irina was a valued member of the rhythmic gymnastics community, and she will be missed,” said Caroline Hunt, rhythmic gymnastics program director for USA Gymnastics. “Irina was known for both her elegance and grace, and she put up a gallant struggle in her battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.”

Gabashvili won the world title for ball at the 1979 World Championships in London, England. After joining the Soviet National Team at 16 years old, she competed for the former Soviet Union for seven years. A graduate of Georgia State University in the former Soviet Union, she immigrated to the United States in 2000 after a seven-year stint as the head of the Malaysian Rhythmic National Team. She was a coach at Westside Gymnastics Academy in Portland, Ore., where she worked with Danielle Lord who was a member of the 2001 U.S. World Championships Team. In addition to coaching, Gabashvili was a rhythmic gymnastics judge. She recently became involved with aesthetic gymnastics and her team medaled at the 2008 World Aesthetic Championships in Spain. Gabashvili, who was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, is survived by her husband, son and sister.