Renowned athletes don’t come much more modest than Andrei Kravtsov.
However, this weekend there will be no evading the limelight as he is about to be inducted into the inaugural Gymnastics Australia (GA) Hall of Fame.
The four-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist and former Australian champion will be honoured in Sydney on Sunday alongside 27 other of the sport’s greats.
Kravtsov, who now coaches Eurobodalla gymnasts at his own gym in Batemans Bay, received a letter last month from GA president Grant Harrison saying he had officially reached “legend status” within the sport.
“I was kind of surprised,” Kravtsov said.
“But it was good because this is recognition of my achievements. Other people that respect what I’ve done can see that I deserve that.”
Kravtsov was born in Kursk, Russia, and moved to Australia in 1993 before his career went from strength to strength.
After joining the Australian Institute of Sport in 1995, Kravtsov won four national titles and four gold medals for Australia at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
It was that period of time Kravtsov rated as the best of his glittering career.
“All the years between 1996 and 2000 I was healthy and fit and ready to win,” he said.
“All the competitions between then were the highlights of my career.”
However, he also experienced some moments of genuine heartache.
Finishing 27th overall at the 1995 World Championships was enough for the then 24-year-old to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
However, he snapped his right Achilles tendon during training just six weeks out from the Games and so he was ruled out through injury.
A similarly devastating incident meant he missed the 2000 Sydney Olympics and so Kravtsov was robbed of the chance to represent his adopted country on home soil.
“With that being on home ground, it was very upsetting for me,” he said.
After retiring from the sport in 2002, Kravtsov soon moved to the Bay where he has been coaching youngsters ever since.
“I quite enjoy it because I get to share all of my knowledge,” he said. “I’ve been trained by the best coaches in the world in some of the best gyms in the world and now I want to teach the kids.”
Kravtsov will receive his award during a ceremony at Sydney Olympic Park this weekend as part of the Australian Gymnastics Championships.