Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

Paris OlympicsFeatureAustralia

Jewish rhythmic gymnast’s pride in fulfilling her Olympic dream

In the first of a series on Australia’s Jewish athletes going to Paris, Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatrevya hopes the games will send a message of peace.
Jono Baruch
Print this
Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatrevya gymnast

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatrevya rhythmic gymnast (supplied)

Published: 11 July 2024

Last updated: 9 July 2024

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatrevya is a rhythmic gymnast on a mission - to lead and level up rhythmic gymnastics in Australia. The 22-year-old is driven by her own goals and dreams of representing her country and performing at the highest level possible.

The dream will come true later this month after she earned selection in her first Australian Olympic team.

Kiroi-Bogatrevya is one of three debutants, along with fellow gymnast Jess Weintraub and canoeist Noemie Fox, among the five Jewish athletes heading to Paris. They will join Jess Fox, a canoeing gold medallist from Tokyo (and Noemie’s older sister), and racewalker Jemima Montag.

Kiroi-Bogatrevya understands the significance of her presence as a Jewish athlete at these Olympics. "I think [us Jewish athletes being there]… is a power move," she told The Jewish Independent. "I hope that by us being there, people can see that we’re strong no matter what. "

A product of the Melbourne Jewish community, where she attended the King David School, Kiroi-Bogatrevya expressed her pride in being selected for her first Olympic team and adding her name to a growing Jewish sporting legacy.

“I have been working towards the Olympic Games my whole life," she said. "When I found out, I had so many tears. My family and my friends, my coaches were all just bawling their eyes out and it was a very emotional time.

Before my Olympic qualifiers, I was waking up at 6:30am every day for the past six to eight months.

“No matter how many people tell me this now, I still can’t believe it... I'm just very excited for the journey towards Olympic Games and for the actual events to begin. I feel very honoured and proud to be joining such an illustrious group."

After the disappointment of missing out on the Tokyo Games, Kiroi-Bogatrevya set her sights on breaking new ground for rhythmic gymnastics in Australia.

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatrevya with her Commonwealth Games bronze medal
Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatrevya with her Commonwealth Games bronze medal

It prompted a career-defining move to Baku, Azerbaijan in 2021 to train at its National Gymnastics arena, where her coaches were based. That move allowed her to zero in and focus on the major events at the upcoming Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

Her regime involved long days, beginning as early as 6.30am and stretching up to ten hours per day as she trained on the five apparatus/disciplines in her sport.

"Before my Olympic qualifiers this year, I was waking up at 6:30am every day for the past six to eight months."

In 2022 alone, Kiroi-Bogatrevya had a “career year” when she achieved several top place finishes in World Cups, Grand Prix and world championships. This was capped off by winning five bronze medals representing Australia at the Maccabiah Games before going on to win her breakthrough gold medal weeks later at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

"After I missed the Tokyo qualification, I set myself a goal of gold at the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

The breakthrough in Birmingham was a fitting reward for her meticulous training and preparation.

It's a day she will remember forever. "When I competed on the first day, it was team ranking where we placed silver. In the all-around I came third. It was a tough competition, and I didn’t do my full 100% (rotation).

"The finals were on the third day and everyone was exhausted. By the time we got to the last apparatus, which was clubs, I just went out and gave it my all. I enjoyed every moment of it.

"I was sitting there with my coach Katie and the score came up - and I remember seeing the results bar going way up high (her name going up to the top of the leaderboard as results came through). Tears flooded my face. It was such a proud moment.

She finished the year ranked number one in Australia and a career-high 26th in the world, which was followed by a scholarship from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring program in 2023.

Kiroi-Bogatrevya paid tribute to the significance of the Jewish community and the role that Maccabi has had in her athletics journey. "We’re a special community. Maccabi has always been interested in all my competitions, my results. They’re very supportive of any competition, any result that I bring. I love being a part of any Maccabi event they invite me to and that I attend.

I hope that in Paris people can acknowledge everyone’s differences and we have an Olympics where everyone is united.

"I love being a part of the Jewish community. We’re all very close and I love being supported."

Amid all the doom gloom in the Middle East and elsewhere, she hopes Paris can send a “powerful message” for peace.

"I hope that in Paris people can acknowledge everyone’s differences and where everyone is from, and we can have an Olympic Games where everyone is united, which would be a powerful message."

In her limited time outside of the sporting arena, Kiroi-Bogatrevya is studying a Bachelor of Law, remotely, at Monash University in Melbourne, in preparation for life after sport.

“It’s hard to balance rhythmic gymnastics and study, which is why most girls training in Baku don’t attend university. However, this is my choice. These are the sacrifices I choose to make to get myself to this level.

“I have my goals in sports and law, and that’s what keeps me going every day.”

About the author

Jono Baruch

Jono Baruch is a Melbourne freelance sports journalist. He has covered football seasons, summers of cricket and recently reported on the 2022 Maccabiah Games in Israel.


No comments on this article yet. Be the first to add your thoughts.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site