Olga Brusnikina first attracted attention when, at the age of 14, she performed a mesmerizing solo routine at the 1993 world junior synchro championships that earned her a standing ovation.
With karate in the water to the win
When team synchronized swimming was added to the Olympic programme in 1996, Brusnikina was a member of the Russian team that placed fourth. In Sydney 2000 the duet result was never in doubt. Brusnikina and her partner, Maria Kisseleva, swam a karate-themed free routine, performed to Japanese drums, and earned straight 10's for artistic interpretation and technical merit scores of 10 from four of the five judges. Brusnikina won a second gold medal as a member of the Russian squad in the team event.
At home in the water
Four years later, at the Olympic Games in Athens, she earned another gold medal in the team event. Brusnikina, who had been a synchronized swimmer since she was nine years old, once explained, "After so many years of training, I feel at home in the water. I'm used to having my feet point upward. I'm used to living upside down."