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