Russian gymnasts plan to open training center in Mount Prospect

  • From left, Denis Belikov, real estate broker Iryna Auchynnikava and Andrey Sovenko at Mount Prospect's village hall.

    From left, Denis Belikov, real estate broker Iryna Auchynnikava and Andrey Sovenko at Mount Prospect's village hall. Courtesy of Scott Verhey

Updated 6/21/2017 7:51 PM

Two Russian gymnasts hope to bring their world-class coaching expertise to Mount Prospect.

On Tuesday, the village board granted zoning approval for Professional Gymnastics Center, 1920 Carboy Road.


Community Development Director Bill Cooney said the 70,000-square-foot building would serve as a training facility for young gymnasts. The building would include training areas for floor exercise, balance beam, vaulting, parallel and uneven bars, trampoline, and strength and conditioning.

Class sizes would vary, with a maximum of 20 students and two staff/instructors during normal work hours -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- and a maximum of 60 students and four instructors from 5 until 9 p.m. Ninety-five percent of the students would be under the age of 16.

Cooney said that when the matter had come before the planning and zoning commission, there were concerns about parking for large events that would not exceed 80 participants. He said the facility had satisfied the commission that overflow parking would be provided.

The two coaches, Denis Belikov and Andrey Sovenko, have spent virtually their entire lives either competing in or coaching elite gymnastics.

"Both gentlemen are trained at the highest level that Russian gymnastics allows," said Scott Verhey, the attorney for the petitioner. "It would be like having a master's degree in gymnastics from Russia. … I think they will draw people from well outside Mount Prospect."

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According to biographical information presented, Sovenko was a champion in Russia and a prizewinner in international competition. From 2003 to 2008, he was a member of Russia's national team. His experience includes being head coach of the women's gymnastics team in the Rostov region in Russia. In the United States, he coached Indiana state champions.

Belikov, who hails from St. Petersburg, was a member of the Russian junior team and a member of the Russian national team for AER gymnastics. In Russia, he coached top-ranking aerobic gymnast Sergei Konstantinov. In the United States, he has coached gymnastics at the Midwest Training and Ice Center in St. John, Indiana, and at Summit Gymnastics in Savannah, Georgia.

"In the United States, the sport is very popular, especially (among) girls," Belikov said.

Verhey said the next step will be to get the business license approved. August is the target month for opening.

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