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Mohini Bhardwaj

Mohini Bhardwaj (Sport)

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Mohini Bhardwaj (मोहिनी भारद्वाज) (born sep. 29, 1978 (42 years ago)) is a retired American gymnast who competed at the 1997 (23 years ago) and 2001 (19 years ago) World Championships and earned a team silver medal at the 2004 (16 years ago) Summer Olympics in Athens. She is the first Indian-American gymnast, and the second Indian-American athlete overall, ever to medal at the Olympics.

Early life and career

Mohini Bhardwaj was born on sep. 29, 1978 (42 years ago), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents Indu and Kaushal. She has one younger brother, Arun. Bhardwaj's mother, Indu, is from Russia; her father is from India. Bhardwaj was raised in the Hindu faith, and is vegetarian. Her given name, Mohini, means "illusion" in Hindi. During her gymnastics career, this fact was repeated by commentators in almost every televised competition in which she competed, and eventually became a running joke among gymnastics fans.

Bhardwaj began taking gymnastics classes at the age of four in her hometown of Cincinnati. She excelled in the sport, and, at the age of 13, moved to Orlando to train at Brown's Gymnastics.

At the age of 16, Bhardwaj's coach, Alexander Alexandrov, moved to Houston to open a new facility for Brown's. Bhardwaj followed, without her parents. Living alone in a Texas apartment, she began to struggle, and her gymnastics suffered from long nights of partying, smoking and drinking. At the 1996 (24 years ago) U.S. Olympic Trials, she finished in 10th place, missing a spot on the team by.075.

Bhardwaj continued training after the Olympics, but at the 1996 (24 years ago) U.S. Nationals, NBC commentators noted that she was only competing due to her parents' insistence. In spite of her seeming indifferent, Bhardwaj had a strong showing at Nationals, finishing 3rd in the all-around and easily earning a spot on the American World Championships team. At the 1997 (23 years ago) World Championships, Bhardwaj was the only American besides Kristen Maloney to qualify for an individual event final, the vault, where she placed fifth.


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