In 1988, Vanya Gesheva became the first Bulgarian Olympian to win a complete set of Olympic medals. She combined a victory in the K-1 with a silver medal in the K-2 (together with Diana Paliyska) and a bronze medal in the K-4. Gesheva had débuted at the Olympics in Moscow, where she had earned a silver medal in the K-1 500 m, behind Birgit Fischer. A silver medallist at the 1983 World Championships, Gesheva missed the 1984 Olympics when Bulgaria joined the Eastern Bloc boycott. In 1986, with the dominant Fischer absent, Gesheva won her first international title, claiming the K-1 world title. At the Seoul Olympics, Schmidt did compete, but surprisingly lost to Gesheva in the final, by a narrow margin of just 0.12 seconds. Earlier in her career, Gesheva had also collected World Championship medals in the K-2 500 m (bronze in 1977 with the non-Olympian Diana Khristova and in 1986 with Diana Paliyska) and K-4 500 m (silver in 1978 with Natasha Petrova and the non-Olympians Velichka Mincheva and Iliana Nikolova). After her active career, Gesheva became a board member of the Bulgarian canoe federation, and chariman of the canoe section of her club, OSK Levski.