Medal loss leads to renewed love

Debbie as a young athlete
Debbie as a young athlete

An Olympic athlete who turned a heart-breaking theft into a trip to Rio has launched her latest Games-inspired 

Earlier this summer the Gazette reported how 
Debbie Georgiou parked her car on London Road for a 
matter of minutes – only to 
return and discover that a handbag containing her 
Olympic participation medal plus two Commonwealth gold medals had been taken.

But the theft led to a 
chain of events which 
culminated in her being asked to commentate at this 
summer’s Rio Olympics – and the experience has inspired her to set up her own gymnastics classes across Dacorum.

She said: “Until now there hasn’t been any rhythmic 
gymnastics groups in 

“This isn’t the gymnastics with poles and horses – it’s the beautiful side of the sport with much more of a dance background.

“When I was competing there were rhythmic 
gymnastic clubs dotted around the country, but over the last few years it has 
declined as a sport.

“I know there are many girls who would love to do it if only there was somewhere to go.”

Mother-of-two Debbie dedicated her life to gymnastics from the age of 11, and rapidly moved through the national ranks.

She left home aged just 13 to move to Moscow and be coached by the head of the British squad for gruelling 
nine-hour daily training 
sessions. Finally, in 1992, 
Debbie achieved her dream and was the youngest 
rhythmic gymnast in the 
Barcelona Olympics.

Debbie is running classes at both The Vine Dance
 Academy in Berkhamsted and at Apsley Community Centre, aimed at girls aged between four and 12.

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