Russian gymnast Natalia Bobrova dies at 36

MOSCOW (AP) Natalia Bobrova, the first female gymnast to win a world championship medal for Russia, has died at the age of 36.

Bobrova's bronze medal in the floor exercise in Birmingham, England, in 1993, came in Russia's first world championships under its own flag after the Soviet Union's collapse broke up a world-beating team.

Bobrova, who was known as Natalia Kudryavtseva after marriage, died on April 2 after a lengthy battle with cancer, Russian gymnastics federation spokesperson Elena Mikhailova told The Associated Press.

Bobrova's top-level international career was brief amid strong competition within a Russian team that included double Olympic champion Svetlana Khorkina. Bobrova narrowly missed out on a world team medal with Russia in 1995, coming fifth, and was not selected for the Atlanta Olympics a year later.

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