“The feminine is feminine and the masculine, masculine”. This is how he alludes on Instagram Russian Olympic figure skater Tatina Navka to the Cristofer Benítez from Tenerife, a pioneer in the practice of rhythmic gymnastics in the Canary Islands. The reactions have not been long in coming.
Cristofer Benítez, a consolidated gymnast from Tenerife in his modality, has a long journey on the tapestry over more than a decade, in which it has been a direct witness of the advances that the male presence has had in the field of acceptance in this form of gymnastics. But nevertheless, his leap to the fore is now triggered by the unfortunate phrase of Tatina Navka, a Russian Olympic medalist who practices ice skating. Navka writes on his Instagram account, about a routine of Benítez in his participation in the Copa de la Reina, in Guadalajara, which “the masculine will continue to be masculine and the feminine will continue to be feminine. And my children will never see this and they will not think that this is the norm”, although later she describes herself as “tolerant”, according to the translation of the text by LaSexta.
“I posted that video in 2019 and it has generated thousands of comments, most of them Russian. I am a bit special with the costumes and I go more to the artistic, I make my clothes a little more thematic. That is why I was highly criticized at the time” , assures the gymnast to EL DÍA, newspaper that belongs to this group, Prensa Ibérica. Now the matter resurfaces by the comments of the skater Navka. Cristofer is living this situation “with the creeps, I have been a pioneer, the first gymnast to bring medals to the Canary Islands, I have been competing since 2006, I am 31 years old and I continue to do so. I have been shocked by the welcome I have had, they have called me from the CSD, the Federation, the mayor of Santa Cruz, all supporting me, telling me that Santa Cruz is with me, “says the gymnast, very grateful.” This woman’s comment was not It will affect me at all, “he says. Cristofer, who belongs to the Evangym team. He is one of the most popular figures in the world of gymnastics in Tenerife and it has been common in national competitions, integrated in the modality of mixed sets. “We have always scored points, the first Spanish championship was in 2009, before they left us but as an Open, to be able to participate, like foreigners,” explains Cristofer. That barrier was overcome when the Spanish Gymnastics Federation created the Men’s Spanish Championship and the Queen’s Cup, extended to boys. The presence of man in the Rhythmic is fully accepted in Spanish sport. In addition, mixed sets already participate on equal terms with the other modalities. It is, however, an exclusive conquest of Spanish Rhythmic. In other countries, there has been no male integration in this modality, so they do not exist either in the European or world concert.
The Santa Cruz City Council described the event as “homophobic” and expressed its solidarity with the athlete. “Cristofer and the rest of the male gymnasts are a source of pride for us and an example of what an open and inclusive society should be, Thank you for being pioneers!”, Adds the tweet from the Sports service, which supports the condemnation that they do so much the Spanish Federation as the Superior Sports Council.