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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 23, 2010

Gymnastics: Olympic champ Natalia Lavrova dies in car accident


Associated Press

MOSCOW Police say two-time Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion Natalia Lavrova of Russia has been killed in a car accident.

Traffic police spokesman Vitaly Ivanov said in a televised statement that a car driven by Lavrova's sister collided Friday with another vehicle near Penza, about 330 miles southeast of Moscow. He said Lavrova and her sister died instantly.

The 25-year-old Lavrova is Russia's only rhythmic gymnast to win two Olympic gold medals in team competitions at the Sydney and Athens Olympics in 2000 and 2004.

Lavrova came into the sport when she was 5. She joined the Russian team in 1998 and won her first major world title in 1999. She later coached Dynamo club and helped train Russia's national team.