Real-Life Heroine: Elena Mukhina

I drew this illustration to honour the memory of Elena Mukhina. Elena was a Soviet gymnast who was active and very successful internationally during the latter half of the 1970s. Unfortunately, however, pressure from Soviet authorities caused her to suffer a number of serious injuries, the worst of which left her a quadriplegic at just twenty years of age. After that, she sadly seems to have been largely forgotten and she passed away in 2006.

Elena’s tragic story reminds me a lot of the Soviet film “Куколка” (Dolly or A Little Doll in English). I’m a big fan of “Куколка”, which is the fictional story of a gymnast that suffers a life-changing injury, so I’m rather surprised that I only found out about Elena Mukhina a couple of weeks ago, during the Tokyo Olympics. But I certainly hope my drawing helps to make more people aware of her. Incidentally, I used footage I found on YouTube from the 1977 European Women’s Gymnastics Championships for reference.

If you are interested in finding out more about Elena Mukhina, you can read her Wikipedia article by clicking HERE. And if you want to find out more about the film “Куколка”, you can read my post on it by clicking HERE.😊