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1971 European Championships WAG

1971: Co-Champions at the Women’s European Championships

A peculiar situation arose at the 1971 European Championships in Minsk. Two gymnasts tied for the all-around title, but there was only one cup. Though the organizers did not break the tie for first place, they had to decide who should take home the European cup.

Let’s take a look at what happened in Minsk on Saturday, October 16, and Sunday, October 17.

Reminder: The men’s European Championships were much earlier in the year, in May.

The arena in Minsk

Quick Links: The All-Around | The Event Finals | Quotes | Video | Olga Korbut | Appendix A: Profiles of the Four Medalists | Appendix B: The USSR vs. East Germany Meet Days Later

Setting the Scene

It was a snowy time in Minsk.

In Minsk, during the European women’s gymnastics championship, the first snow fell, and now the landscape is white. 

We didn’t know anything about this until we left the Sports Palace early on Friday afternoon, where the training ended that day. While the snow crystals were falling more and more frequently, the experts of the gymnastics, trainers, specialists, judges, journalists watched the old and new gymnasts.

Nepsport, Oct. 16, 1971

Minszkben, a női tornász EB színhelyén leesett az első hó, és most fehérbe öltözött a táj. 

Erről mit sem tudtunk, míg ki nem léptünk pénteken kora délután a Sportpalotából, ahol befejeződött az aznapi edzés. Mialatt kint egyre szaporábban, sűrűbben érkeztek a hókristályok, a „szakma”, a tornasport értői, edzők, szakvezetők, bírók, újságírók, a régi és az új tornászcsillagokat figyelték.

The Sports Hall in Minsk was updated for the competition.

The Sports Hall in Minsk, which, in the spring of this year, had a dress rehearsal before the “Europeans,” hosting the first edition of the international championships of the U.S.S.R., was, in recent weeks, specially equipped for the competition of the best gymnasts in Europe: new apparatus were installed, and in a visible place there is mounted the electronic board with a length of 8 meters and a width of 3 m, on which the results of the entire competition will appear.

Sportul, Oct. 15, 1971

Sala Sporturilor din Minsk care, în primăvara acestui an, a făcut o repetiție generală înaintea „europenelor”, găzduind prima ediție a campionatelor internaționale ale U.R.S.S., a fost, în ultimele săptămîni, amenajată în mod special pentru întrecerea celor mai bune gimnaste din Europa : au fost instalate aparate noi, iar la loc vizibil se află montată tabela electronică avînd o lungime de 8 metri și o lățime de 3 m, pe care vor apare rezultatele din întreaga desfășurare a competiției

Podium training was the beginning of the competition, insofar as the judges used this time to start ranking gymnasts.

These last exercises before the competition, always serve two purposes. One goal is to move the muscles, the other is of tactical importance: this is the best time to influence the professionals, especially the judges sitting in the stands… 

Nepsport, Oct. 16, 1971

Ezek, a verseny előtti utolsó edzések mindig két célt szolgálnak. Az egyik cél az izmok átmozgatása, a másik taktikai jelentőségű: ilyenkor lehet legjobban hatni a szakmabeliekre, elsősorban persze a lelátókon ülő bírókra…

Note: Regarding the importance of podium training, this wasn’t just the opinion of a Hungarian journalist in 1971. Boris Shakhlin wrote the same thing in his 1973 autobiography, My Gymnastics:

However, in the morning, over breakfast, Aleksandr Semyonovich told us that if we dreamed of victory, we would have to start the struggle straight away. We will test the apparatus, and the judges will meanwhile “test” us, the participants of the competition. Even today, the judges will examine the readiness of each of us and give their preliminary scores, so to speak, and many of the scores could become final tomorrow, during the competition.

Shakhlin, My Gymnastics

Однако утром, за завтраком, Александр Семенович сказал нам, что если мы мечтаем о победе, то борьбу необходимо начинать уже сейчас. Мы будем опробовать снаряды, а судьи тем временем будут как бы «опробовать» нас, участников состязаний. Уже сегодня судьи взвесят готовность каждого, вынесут, так сказать, предварительные оценки, многие из которых завтра в ходе состязаний могут стать оценками окончательными.

And Shakhlin would know; he was a member of the Men’s Technical Committee at the time his autobiography was published.


The All-Around

Karin Janz won four of the five gold medals at the 1969 European Championships, but she did not compete in 1971. The East German press reported that she was not in shape after finishing her high school studies and starting her medical studies.

The absence of Karin Janz, who was not able to acquire the appropriate form in time due to her graduation from high school and the start of her medical studies, made it necessary to use a young gymnast [i.e. Angelika Hellmann].

Neues Deutschland, Oct. 18, 1971

Der Ausfall von Karin Janz, die durch ihr Abitur und den Beginn des Medizinstudiums nicht rechtzeitig die entsprechende Form erlangen konnte, machte den Einsatz einer jungen Turnerin erforderlich.

Note: Some newspaper reports state that Janz was sick at the time:

Strongly flu-like, Karin Janz was replaced in the East German team with the young Angelika Hellmann.

Sportul, Oct. 16, 1971

Puternic gripală, Karin Janz a fost înlocuită în echipa R.D. Germane cu tînăra Angelica Helman.
GymnastCountryVTUBBBFXTotal
1T. Tourischeva,
Ludmilla
URS9.809.509.659.9038.85
1T. Lazakovich,
Tamara
URS9.759.609.709.8038.85
3. Zuchold,
Erika
GDR9.709.559.409.6538.30
4T. Brázdová,
Soňa
TCH9.409.309.509.4537.65
4T. Békési,
Ilona
HUN9.409.459.409.4037.65
6. Hellmann,
Angelika
GDR9.409.459.159.3037.30
7. Oltersdorf,
Jutta
FRG9.409.359.009.1536.90
8. Schorn,
Uta
FRG9.409.309.009.1036.80
9. Bazzi,
Patrizia
SUI9.159.158.909.1036.30
10. Dorňáková,
Zdena
TCH9.208.359.159.4036.10
11. Matraszek,
Łucja
POL9.108.958.859.1036.00
12T. Fritschi,
Käthi
SUI9.308.658.809.1535.90
12T. Lundquist,
Marie
SWE9.108.859.058.9035.90
14T. Kéry,
Anikó
HUN9.108.908.459.3535.80
14T. Ceampelea,
Elena
ROU9.509.208.358.7535.80
16. Blagoeva,
Maya
BUL9.309.358.258.8035.70
17. Alberti,
Angela
ITA9.209.008.608.8035.60
18. Goreac,
Alina
ROU9.109.108.009.1535.35
19. Cayre,
Mireille
FRA9.308.808.308.9035.30
20. Peri,
Rita
ITA7.959.159.109.0035.20
Source: Gymnast, Jan. 1972

The Romanian newspaper Sportul gives the best account of what happened during the all-around competition.

In fact, the battle for the first place was between these two athletes [i.e. Tourischeva and Lazakovich] and the representative of the German D.R., Erika Zuchold — a dispute that lasted until almost the end. 

After the first rotation, Zuchold was in the lead with an excellent vault of 9.70, while Lazakovich and Tourischeva (on bars) scored 9.60 and 9.50 respectively. The balance beam, however, clearly demands much of the two Soviet sportswomen. Lazakovich is the first to perform. Her exercise, full of very difficult elements, performed at a breathtaking pace and in exemplary form, earned her a very good score of 9.70. Tourischeva also works just as steadily — 9.65. During this time, Zuchold performed on the bars, with the same particularly difficult exercise shown at the World Championships. But bending her legs during the execution has led to a small deduction — 9.55. Halfway through the competition, the top three are separated by only 15 hundredths, with Lazakovich in the lead. 

The next apparatus — the floor — for the Soviets, the beam for Zuchold. As expected, competing in their favorite event, the Soviet gymnasts performed with great virtuosity, obtaining the highest scores in the championship: Tourischeva — 9.90, Lazakovich — 9.80. On the balance beam, an imbalance brings Erika Zuchold a severe penalty, losing all hope for a gold medal. 

So, before the last rotation, it was clear that one of the two Soviet gymnasts would win the cup and the gold medal. The vaults were the deciding factor. Lazakovich performs first — 9.75. The spectators applaude her frantically, already seeing in her the new European champion. But, Tourischeva doesn’t give up easily. A prolonged focusing, a fast sprint, an elegant flight and a magnificent landing led to an excellent score: 9.80. Thus, a tie. The title and gold medal are awarded to both gymnasts. However, the cup is awarded to Ludmilla Tourischeva for her higher score on the floor. So, another record within the 8th European Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

Sportul, Oct. 17, 1970

In fact, the fight for the first place was between these two athletes and the representative of R. D. Germane, Erika Zuchold — a dispute that continued until almost the end.

La primul schimb, Zuchold s-a aflat în frunte cu o săritură excelentă notată cu 9,70, în timp ce Lazakovici și Turisceva (la paralele) au obținut 9,60, respectiv 9,50. Birna impune, însă, net pe cele două sportive sovietice. Evoluează mai intîi Lazakovici. Exercițiul ei plin de elemente de mare dificultate, executat intr-un ritm de-a dreptul uluitor și într-o ținută exemplară, îi aduce o notare foarte bună 9,70. Turisceva lucrează și ea la fel de sigur — 9,65. In acest timp, Zuchold a evoluat la paralele, cu același exercițiu deosebit de greu, prezentat la mondiale. Dar, îndoirea picioarelor în timpul execuției i-a adus o mică penalizare — 9,55. La jumătatea concursului, primele trei clasate sunt despărțite doar de 15 sutimi, in frunte trecînd Lazakovici.

Următorul aparat — solul — pentru sovietice, bîrna pentru Zuchold. Cum era și normal, concurînd la proba lor favorită, gimnastele sovietice au realizat execuții de înaltă virtuozitate, obținînd cele mai ridicate note din campionat: Turisceva — 9,90, Lazakovici — 9,80. La bîrnă, o dezechilibrare îi aduce Erikei Zuchold o severă penalizare, ea pierzînd în acest moment orice speranță la medalia de aur.

Așadar, înaintea ultimului schimb era clar că una dintre cele două gimnaste sovietice va cîștiga cupa și medalia de aur. Săriturile urmau să decidă Lazacovici execută prima — 9,75. Spectatorii o aplaudă frenetic, văzînd deja în ea pe noua campioană a Europei. Dar, Turisceva nu se dă ușor bătută. O îndelungată concentrare, un elan avîntat, un zbor elegant și o aterizare magnifică consemnează o notare excelentă : 9,80. Deci, egalitate. Titlul și medalia de aur se acordă ambelor gimnaste. Cupa este înmânată, însă, Ludmilei Turisceva pentru nota ei mai ridicată de la sol. Așadar, încă un record în bilanțul celei de-a VIII-a ediții a campionatelor europene feminine de gimnastică. 

Additional Notes

This was the first time that there was a tie for the European all-around champion.

A whisper ran through the ranks: For the first time in the history of the European Championships, there were two champions […].

Neues Deutschland, October 17, 1971

Ein Raunen ging durch die Ränge: Zum ersten Male In der Geschichte der Europameisterschaften gab es zwei Titelträgerinnen […].

For a brief second, Tourischeva was reportedly the outright champion, but her vault score was lowered.

This was the second time Tourischeva had a score lowered at the European Championships. In 1969, her beam score was lowered after the President of the Women’s Technical Committee intervened. It’s unclear if there was a judging intervention or if there was a mathematical error in 1971.

The all-around world champion Ludmilla Tourischeva added an exclamation point that everyone who was there will not soon forget. Nobody had ever seen such a Yamashita. Especially the second flight phase with a model landing nearly at the end of the mat. For the second time, the top score of 9.9 appeared on the scoreboard. But this brilliant performance seemed to have impressed even the judges too much and tempted someone to make a calculation error. They reversed themselves. Ludmilla was the sole European champion for just two minutes. The revised score was 9.80.

Neues Deutschland, October 17, 1971

Die Achtkampfweltmeisterin Ludmilla Turistschewa setzte ein Ausrufezeichen, das alle, die dabei waren, so schnell nicht vergessen werden. Einen solchen Yamashita hatte noch niemand gesehen. Besonders die zweite Flugphase mit einer musterhaften Landung fast am Ende der Matte. Zum zweitenmal erschien die Höchstnote 9,9 an der Leuchttafel. Doch schien diese Glanzleistung selbst das Kampfgericht zu’ stark beeindruckt und irgendwen zu einem Rechenfehler verführt zu haben. Man revidierte sich. Ludmilla war nur zwei Minuten lang alleinige Europameisterin. Die revidierte Note lautete 9,80.

Note: Modern Gymnast also remarked on Tourischeva’s amazing Yamashita. Oh, and apparently, one gymnast attempted a handspring + front salto on vault.

On the vault, Turistcheva’s Yamashita seemed destined to take her into orbit. Such afterflight! One girl made a handspring front sommie, but not well.

Modern Gymnast, January 1972

The move that took Erika Zuchold out of contention: a double turn on beam.

The reason for the relatively low score was that the otherwise truly world champion construction, and also gymnastic exercise, contained a very large risk. The turn on one leg has now been doubled. A little too much momentum threw her off-balance for a split second. Then any prospect of one of the top places was gone […]

Neues Deutschland, October 17, 1971

Der Grund für die relativ niedrige Wertung war darin zu suchen, daß ihre ansonsten wahrhaft weltmeisterlich aufgebaute und auch geturnte Übung ein sehr großes Risiko enthielt. Die Drehung auf einem Bein ist jetzt verdoppelt worden. Eine Winzigkeit zu viel Schwung brachte sie für den Bruchteil einer Sekunde aus dem Gleichgewicht. Damit war jede Aussicht auf einen der vorderen Plätze dahin […]

The Swiss media coverage made sure to highlight the split between Eastern and Western Europe.

Of the Swiss, who for the first time met the entire elite of the continent at the 8th European Championships, 14-year-old Patrizia Bazzi provided a brilliant performance and finished with 36.30 points as the third best Western European behind Jutta Oltersdorf and Uta Schorn in ninth place. This was among 42 gymnasts from 21 nations who took part in the all-around competition!

Only five countries had a gymnast finish ahead of the best Swiss. Truly a great success for Luděk Martschini. The gymnasts of the Federal Republic of Germany, who are also only 15 (Oltersdorf) and 14 (Schorn) years old and also landed so far for the first time, were also admired. Jutta Oltersdorf even made it into the final on the balance beam and on vault,* which Patrizia Bazzi was denied.

Neue Zürcher Nachrichten, October 18, 1971

Von den Schweizerinnen, die an den 8. Europameisterschaften erstmals auf die gesamte Elite des Kontinents trafen, sorgte die 14jährige Patrizia Bazzi für eine Glanzleistung und klassierte sich mit 36,30 Punkten als drittbeste Westeuropäerin hinter Jutta Oltersdorf und Uta Schorn im neunten Rang. Dies unter 42 Turnerinnen aus 21 Nationen, die sich an dem Kür-Vierkampf beteiligten! 

Nur fünf Länder hatten eine Turnerin vor der besten Schweizerin klassiert. Wahrlich ein grosser Erfolg für Ludek Martschini. Bewundert wurden aber auch die Turnerinnen der Bundesrepublik, die ebenfalls erst 15 (Oltersdorf) und 14 Jahre (Schorn) alt sind und ebenfalls zum ersten Mal soweit vorne landeten. Jutta Oltersdorf drang sogar in den Final am Schwebebalken und im Pferdsprung vor, was Patrizia Bazzi versagt blieb. 

*Note: The information is incorrect. Oltersdorf qualified for one event final: the uneven bars.

The East German press highlighted the split, as well.

[A]s the only active participant from a non-socialist country, the West German gymnast Oltersdorf came to the final.

Neues Deutschland, October 18, 1971

[A]ls einzige Aktive aus einem nichtsozialistischen, Land die BRD-Turnerin Oltersdorf ins Finale gekommen.

Békési of Hungary was seen as an up-and-comer.

Although not of the same class as the first three gymnasts, [Békési] is on the way up and is definitely a hard worker with a very enthusiastic coach.

Modern Gymnast, Jan. 1972

Regarding that “enthusiastic” coach, Békési was coached by her father.

Ilona Békési, now 17 years old, a former Hungarian newcomer to the Mexican Olympics, won the masters gymnastics championship with an impressive margin. In the case of the round-faced, brown-haired Ilike, the truth of the old saying that the apple does not fall far from the tree was confirmed, as her father and coach, Sándor Békési, was also a champion gymnast who competed in the [1960] Olympics. After this year’s championship, the father also received congratulations, since his daughter was also first in the individual competition after the all-around championship, and did not leave a single gold to her fellow competitors.

Magyar Hírek, Oct. 16, 1971

A mexikói olimpia egykori magyar újonca, a most már 17 esztendős Békési Ilona imponáló fölénnyel nyerte a mesterfokú tornászbajnokságot. A kerek arcú, barna hajú Ilike esetében is beigazolódott a régi szólás-mondás igazsága, miszerint az alma nem esik messze a fájától, hiszen édesapja és edzője, Békési Sándor ugyancsak bajnok, olimpián szerepelt tornász volt. Az idei bajnokság után különben a papának is kijutott a gratulációkból, hiszen lánya az összetett bajnokság után a szerenkénti versenyben is rendre első lett, egyetlen aranyat sem hagyott vetélytársnőinek.

Romania had a rough performance.

The Romanian gymnasts Elena Ceampelea and Alina Goreac did not record any meritorious performances at this select European competition. After a good start (9.50 on vault and 9.20 on uneven bars – an apparatus on which the gymnast has obviously lost some points), our all-around champion [i.e. Ceampelea] then failed both at the balance beam and floor. On beam, she simply lost her way, coming off the apparatus and then missing the final, and on floor, after performing a difficult element, she touched the mat with her hands, thus obtaining only 8.75! Alina Goreac fell off the beam twice, as if she was too afraid of the level of the competition. We are therefore left with the consolation of Elena Ceampelea’s qualification for the vault final, but without the hope that she will be able to win a medal, as her opponents tomorrow have much better vaults. On Sunday, the apparatus final will take place, which will decide four more European champions. 

Sportul, Oct. 17, 1971

Gimnastele românce Elena Ceampelea și Alina Goreac nu și-au înscris în palmares comportări meritorii la această selectă întrecere europeană. După un început bun (9,50 la sărituri și 9,20 la paralele — aparat la care gimnasta a fost evident depunctată), campiona noastră absolută a ratat apoi atît la bîrnă, cit și la sol. La bîrnă ea s-a pierdut pur și simplu, coborînd de r aparat și ratînd apoi și finalul, iar la sol, după executarea unui element greu, ea a atins covorul cu mîinile, obținînd astfel doar 8,75! Alina Goreac a căzut de două ori de pe bîrnă, fiind parcă prea timorată de nivelul întrecerii. Rămînem, așadar, cu consolarea calificării Elenei Ceampelea în finala de la sărituri, dar fără speranța că ea va putea să obțină și o medalie, adversarele ei de mîine avînd sărituri mult mai bune. Duminică va avea loc finala pe aparate, care va desemna alte patru campioane ale Europei. 

Event Finals

Note: You can watch most of the routines in the video section below.

Zuchold, Tourischeva, Lazakovich

Vault

GymnastCountryQuals.FinalsTotal
1. TourischevaURS9.809.8019.60
2. LazakovichURS9.759.8019.55
3. ZucholdURS9.709.8019.50
4. CeampeleaROU9.509.5019.00
5. BrázdováTCH9.409.5518.95
6. BékésiHUN9.409.4518.85

Bars

GymnastCountryQuals.FinalsTotal
1. LazakovichURS9.609.7519.35
2. TourischevaURS9.509.7019.20
3. HellmannGDR9.459.5519.00
4. BékésiHUN9.459.5018.95
5. ZucholdGDR9.559.2518.80
6. OltersdofFRG9.359.3018.65

Beam

GymnastCountryQualsFinalsTotal
1. LazakovichURS9.709.5019.20
2. TourischevaURS9.659.5019.15
3. ZucholdGDR9.409.6019.00
4. BrázdováTCh9.509.4018.90
5. BékésiHUN9.409.4018.80
6. HellmannGDR9.159.3518.50

Floor

GymnastCountryQuals.FinalsTotal
1. TourischevaURS9.909.7519.65
2. LazakovichURS9.809.8019.60
3. ZucholdGDR9.659.6019.25
4. BrázdováTCH9.459.5018.95
5. BékésiHUN9.409.4518.85
6. DorňákováTCH9.409.3518.75

Tourischeva stepped out of bounds on floor but still took home the gold.

Floor exercise, which ended the competition, once again highlighted the high class of Soviet gymnastics in this event. Both Lazakovich and Tourischeva, the two indisputable leaders of the competition, presented the most beautiful and highly artistic exercises. An exit from the area of ​​the carpet meant that Tourischeva did not get a 9.90 again, but even so, her average in this event is the highest in the contest — 19.65.

Sportul, Oct. 18, 1971

Solul, care a încheiat competiția, a evidențiat încă o dată înalta școală a gimnasticii sovietice în această probă, atît Lazakovici cît și Turișceva, cele două lidere incontestabile ale competiției, prezentînd exercițiile cele mai frumoase și de înaltă ținută artistică. O ieșire din spațiul covorului a făcut ca Turișceva să nu obțină iarăși 9,90, dar și așa media ei la această probă este cea mai ridicată din concurs — 19,65.

The floor music was rather monotonous

Two of the six finalists danced to “Hello Dolly,” another to “Mack the Knife.” The only “Folklore type” music was used with great effect by Turistcheva.

Modern Gymnast, Jan. 1972

Quotes after the Competition

Larissa Latynina, Head Coach of the Soviet Team

Before the competition, we hoped that our two athletes would achieve good results, as they both worked hard, made many sacrifices for success, and proved that they were in excellent form. Still, we were a little bit surprised by this 100% success rate. The competition always has unknown factors and pitfalls. Opponents are not always exactly known, even though we try to monitor the development of rivals. Ilona Békési is an example of this. She developed so quickly that we could not expected this. You never know when and where another talented opponent might show up. We know only what is only the possible defense against unexpected surprises. At the presentation held at the end of the competition, you could also get a taste of this. We also have an extremely strong youth team …

Nepsport, Oct. 19, 1971

Már a verseny előtt reméltük, hogy két versenyzőnk jó eredményeket ér majd el, hiszen mindketten sokat dolgoztak, sok áldozatot hoztak a sikerért, s bizonyították is, hogy kitűnő formában vannak. Mégis kicsit váratlanul ért bennünket is a százszázalékos siker. A verseny ugyanis mindig tartogat ismeretlen tényezőket, buktatókat. Nem mindig ismertek pontosan az ellenfelek, hiába is próbáljuk figyelemmel kísérni a riválisok fejlődését. Békési Ilona is példa erre. Olyan gyorsan fejlődött, amire nem számíthattunk. Sohasem tudhatjuk, hol, mikor bukkan fel újabb tehetséges ellenfél… Csak azt tudjuk, hogy mi a váratlan meglepetések elleni egyetlen lehetséges védekezés. A verseny végén megtartott bemutatón önök is kaphattak ebből egy kis ízelítőt. Hallatlanul erős az utánpótlásunk is…

Berthe Villancher, the President of the Women’s Technical Committee

I enjoyed staying in this beautiful city, by the way, the directors really did their best to run the competition smoothly. The crowded stands showed that people loved this sport, which showed significant progress here at the EC. I am very pleased that, in addition to the successful presentation of the difficult elements, the competitors also focused on the brilliant development of the connecting parts. I would like to draw your attention to one, but unfortunately, striking error of almost all the participants in the field: there were too many stops on the balance beam. Except maybe Lazakovich, whom I liked the most on this apparatus. I congratulate the development of the little Békési, who developed tremendously since the last World Championship. However, she is also encouraged to perform more continuously. 

Nepsport, Oct. 19, 1971

Ebben a szép városban, ahol mellesleg kitűnően éreztem magam, a rendezők valóban mindent megtettek a verseny gördülékeny lebonyolítása érdekében. A zsúfolt lelátók arról árulkodtak, hogy az emberek nagyon szeretik ezt a sportágat, amely itt, az EB alkalmával jelentős fejlődésről adott számot. Rendkívül örülök annak, hogy a versenyzők a nehéz elemek sikeres bemutatása mellett, azonos hangsúllyal foglalkoztak az összekötő résztek briliáns kidolgozásával is. Egyetlen, de sajnos, a mezőny csaknem minden résztvevőjének feltűnő hibájára külön is felhívom a figyelmet: a gerendán túl sok volt a megállás. Kivételt talán csak Lazakovics képez, aki a legjobban tetszett nekem ezen a szeren. A kis Békési fejlődéséhez gratulálok önöknek, óriásit fejlődött a legutóbbivilágverseny óta. Őt is buzdítják azonban folyamatosabb előadásmódra.

Sandor Békési, Ilona Békési’s father and coach:

To tell you the truth, I didn’t think Ili could get to the finals in any discipline. Although I know it was expected from her and from us. This expectation weighed heavily on me, and on the girls, too, the knowledge that the boys did very well at the European Championships in Madrid, and they should not be left behind by that result. But it turns out that, even if those thoughts were of interest to Ili, she was just a little bit more accepted than at home at the masters tournament. Of course, she and I both know we can’t stop with these results. The very things we see here will inspire us to do more thorough work. However, it is certain that Ili has made great progress in the international field, and I feel that this is also the success of the whole Hungarian gymnastics sport.

Nepsport, Oct. 19, 1971

Őszintén megvallom, otthon nem nagyon hittem, hogy Ili akárcsak egy szeren is bekerülhet a döntőbe. Bár tudom, hogy ezt mindenképpen várták tőle, tőlünk. Engem ez a várakozás is nyomasztott, s a lányokat is az a tudat, hogy a fiúknak nagyon jól sikerült az Európa-bajnokság Madridban, s attól az eredménytől nekik sem „illik” lemaradniok. De kiderült, hogy ha ezek a gondolatok foglalkoztatták is Ilit, alig volt valamivel elfogadottabb, mint otthon, a mesterfokú bajnokságon. Persze, ő is, én is, mindketten tudjuk, hogy nem állhatunk meg ezeknél az eredményeknél. Éppen az itt látottak sarkallnak majd további alapos munkára. Az viszont biztos, hogy Ili nagyot lépett előre a nemzetközi mezőnyben, s úgy érzem, ez az egész magyar tornasport sikere is.

Dr. Lászlóné Kovács, head coach of the Hungarian team:

There are certainly some people at home who know the results, explore the fact that we started Anikó Kéri as a second competitor beside Békési. So, let me tell you, why did we choose her? Our primary task was to get our competitors to the finals in each discipline. Anikó had an extremely good chance of doing so on the floor. Her exercise is good, and if she does this with a double twist, it will certainly meet the expectations. It would not have been a problem if she can tolerate the EC’s really depressing atmosphere for newcomers. Well, unfortunately, this was not the case. Although she clearly tried, she wanted, but she did not dare to perform the double twist on floor, the horizontal pirouette on the bar. However, this competition will not be a failure for her. She can learn from it, and we, coaches, need to learn from it. 

Nepsport, Oct. 19, 1971

Bizonyára vannak otthon néhányan, akik már az eredmények ismeretében helytelenítik, hogy Békési mellett Kéri Anikótindítottuk második versenyzőként. Ezért hadd mondjam el, miért esett rá a választásunk? Elsődleges feladatunknak tekintettük versenyzőink ezerenkénti döntőbe jutását. Anikónak erre rendkívül sok esélye volt talajon. Gyakorlata jó, és amennyiben dupla csavarral csinálja meg, bizonyára meg is felel a várakozásnak. Nem is lett volna semmi baj, ha idegileg elbírja az EB-nek újoncok számára valóban nyomasztó légkörét. Sajnos, nem így történt. Bár szemmel láthatóan igyekezett, akart, mégsem merte végrehajtani talajon a duplaszaltót, korláton a vízszintes piruettet. Semmiképpen nem jelent azonban kudarcot számára ez a verseny. Okulhat belőle ő is, és okulnunk kell nekünk, edzőknek is. 

Video Footage

Uneven Bars

  • Tourischeva: 0:14
  • Hellmann: 1:13
  • Oltersdorf: 1:58
  • Zuchold: 2:39
  • Békési: 3:32
  • Lazakovich: 4:10

Balance Beam

  • Zuchold: 4:59
  • Brázdová: 6:59
  • Lazakovich: 8:37
  • Békési: 10:30
  • Tourischeva: 12:26

Floor Exercise:

  • Zuchold: 14:26
  • Brázdová: 16:13
  • Dorňáková: 17:54
  • Tourischeva: 19:24
  • Lazakovich: 21:31

My thought bubble: Even though the women’s Code of Points didn’t reward risk, originality, and virtuosity in 1971, creativity and originality were starting to flow, especially on uneven bars. In particular, I want to highlight the routines of the two Germans: Hellmann (GDR) and Oltersdorf (FRG).

Hellmann: Karin Janz was known for her clear hip to handstand. Here, Hellmann takes that skill and adds a half pirouette to it.

Her dismount was also unique. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, gymnasts were trying to find ways to perform salto dismounts. Joyce Tanac (USA) had competed her straddle cut to back tuck. Cathy Rigby (USA) had attempted her toe-on front. Olga Korbut had competed her forward sole circle to back layout

The clear hip + snap to back tuck was Hellmann’s way of dismounting with a salto. This technique would be used for decades to come. For example, see Lia Parolari’s dismount from the 2007 World Championships.

Oltersdorf: Like Hellmann, Oltersdorf tried to dismount with a salto, as well, casting into a front tuck over the low bar.

But the more interesting skill happens right at the beginning of her routine: the cast to a front somersault to the high bar.

It’s important to recognize that Oltersdorf did this routine before Jaegers and Giengers were performed. So, casting from the low bar, performing a salto, and catching the high bar was quite impressive.

Note: Karin Janz would take this move and make it a same-bar release. She cast to handstand, performed a half pirouette, held onto the high bar, and did a belly beat into a front salto before catching the high bar. In a way, it was a Jaeger without the giant.

Note #2: Békési mounted with a front somersault to the high bar, with support on the low bar. At the Japan vs. Europe meet in 1971, the bars collapsed on her during her mount.


Soviet Coverage

TRANSCRIPT AND TRANSLATION

[00:00:00]
[music]
Announcer: The 8th, the most representative in history, European Artistic Gymnastics Championship among women was held in the Minsk Palace of Sports. Athletes from 21 countries took part in it. The honor of Soviet sports was defended by Ludmilla Tourischeva and Tamara Lazakovich. Their main rival was Erika Zuchold [00:00:30] from the German Democratic Republic. The world vault champion, Zuchold, successfully performed in the first all-around exercise. On uneven bars, Tamara Lazakovich is the winner of the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR tournament.
[music]
[applause]
Announcer: Ludmilla Tourischeva is speaking.
[00:01:00]
[music]
Announcer: This time the all-around world champion gets a relatively low score for herself – 9.5 points. The fight escalates. Tamara Lazakovich is in the lead.
[music]
[00:01:30]
[applause]
[music]
Announcer: What will Tourischeva show because the balance beam is one of the most difficult gymnastic equipment?
[music]
[applause]
Announcer: The competition between two teammates continues on [00:02:00] floor exercise. Speaker Tamara Lazakovich.
[music]
[applause]
[music]
Announcer: Ludmilla Tourischeva.
[music]
[applause]
Announcer: Tourischeva has the highest score in the championship. [00:02:30] Lazakovich is vaulting.
[applause]
Announcer: Now the outcome of the struggle for the highest European title will be decided. Tourischeva or Lazakovich?
[applause]
Announcer: Vladislav Rastorotsky, Tourischeva’s coach, is worried.
[music]
[00:03:00]
[music]
Announcer: Ludmilla Tourischeva and Tamara Lazakovich scored the same amount of points in the all-around. Both of them are European champions. In third place is Erika Zuchold. The European Cup is ours.
[music]

***

[00:00:00]
[музыка]
Диктор: В минском Дворце спорта проходил 8-й, самый представительный за всю историю, Чемпионат Европы по спортивной гимнастике среди женщин. В нем приняли участие спортсменки из 21 страны. Честь советского спорта защищали Людмила Турищева и Тамара Лазакович. Их главной соперницей была Эрика Цухольд [00:00:30] из Германской Демократической Республики. Чемпионка мира в опорном прыжке Цухольд успешно выступила в первом упражнении многоборья. На брусьях Тамара Лазакович — победительница турнира Спартакиады народов СССР.
[музыка]
[аплодисменты]
Диктор: Выступает Людмила Турищева.
[00:01:00]
[музыка]
Диктор: Абсолютная чемпионка мира получает на этот раз относительно невысокую для себя оценку — 9,5 балла. Борьба обостряется. Лидирует Тамара Лазакович.
[музыка]
[00:01:30]
[аплодисменты]
[музыка]
Диктор: Что покажет Турищева, ведь бревно — это один из самых сложных гимнастических снарядов?
[музыка]
[аплодисменты]
Диктор: Спор двух подруг по команде продолжается в [00:02:00] вольных упражнениях. Выступает Тамара Лазакович.
[музыка]
[аплодисменты]
[музыка]
Диктор: Людмила Турищева.
[музыка]
[аплодисменты]
Диктор: У Турищевой высшая оценка чемпионата. [00:02:30] Прыгает Лазакович.
[аплодисменты]
Диктор: Сейчас решится исход борьбы за высший европейский титул. Турищева или Лазакович?
[аплодисменты]
Диктор: Волнуется Владислав Растороцкий — тренер Турищевой.
[музыка]
[00:03:00]
[музыка]
Диктор: Людмила Турищева и Тамара Лазакович набрали в многоборье одинаковую сумму баллов. Обе они — чемпионки Европы. На третьем месте — Эрика Цухольд. Кубок Европы — наш.
[музыка]

Olga Korbut’s Appearance in Minsk

Korbut did not compete at the 1971 European Championships, but she was there, performing her skills that would captivate the world one year later in Munich, including her Korbut flip:

On the bars, one of the young Russian girls stands on the high bar, and throws a layout back catch the high bar, wrap-around low bar.

Modern Gymnast, Jan. 1972

As well as her standing back tuck on beam:

I’m sorry I’m not talking about the competition, but I’m talking about the star of the future first. The Soviet Korbut is a 14-year-old* little girl. Maybe that’s why she’s jumping, spinning, dancing on a balance beam with the width of ten centimeters, like it’s the path of the People’s Republic… Does she jump? She’s doing a flip. With barely noticeable momentum, hop, and the soles of her two ballet shoes are glued to the beam after the flip in the air. The end of the exercise is again a flip on the beam, and from it another flip… 

Nepsport, Oct. 16, 1971

Elnézést, amiért nem a verseny, hanem várhatóan a jövő csillagocskájáról szólok legelőbb. A szovjet Korbut 14 éves kicsi lány. Talán ezért is ugrik, forog, táncol úgy a tíz centiméter széles gerendán, mintha az a Népköztársaság útja lenne… Ugrik? Szaltót ugrik!… Alig észrevehető lendületével, hopp, és a két balettcipős talpacskát a légbukfenc után mintha ráragasztották volna a gerendára. A gyakorlat befejezése újra egy szaftó a gerendára, majd abból szaltóleugrás… 

*Note: Korbut was 16 at the time — not 14.

Already in 1971, there was much debate if Korbut’s skills should be allowed:

“Here is the future!” says several people in the stands, but many other add that this is not a very good future. The flip on the balance beam is life-threatening! However, the progress seems to be difficult to stop. The ‘Korbuts’, the ‘Grosovas’ and other similar athletes will do it. The International Gymnastics Federation should do something, they say… 

However, when we see Korbut, the future is not alarming. Children like her seem to learn and present these movements not through embarrassing and unnatural fears. They do it with as much natural pleasure as kids throwing up and catching a red polka dot rubber ball. 

Nepsport, Oct. 16, 1971

— Itt a jövő! — fejtik ki többen a lelátón, és sokan hozzáteszik, nem jó, hogy ez a jövő. A szaltó a gerendán életveszélyes! A folyamat azonban nehezen megállíthatónak látszik. A „Korbutok”, a „Groszovák” és e velük egyívásúak csinálni fogják. A nemzetközi szövetségnek kellene tennie valamit, mondják ez ellen … 

Korbutot látva azonban nem riasztó a jövő. A hozzá hasonló gyerekeken látszik, hogy nem kínos-keserves- félelmek között tanulják meg, adják elő ezeket a mozdulatokat. Olyan természetes örömmel csinálják, mint ahogyan a gyerekek feldobnak és elkapnak egy piros pettyes gumilabdát.

Appendix A: Profiles of Tourischeva, Lazakovich, Zuchold, and Hellmann

Only four gymnasts won medals at the 1971 European Championships, and the East German newspaper Neues Deutschland (Oct. 18, 1971) ran short biographies on the medalists, calling them the “Medal Quartet.”

The Minsk “Medal Quartet.”

Ludmilla Tourischeva

European champion in the all-around, floor exercise, vault

1.55 m tall, weighing 47 kg, born on 7 October 1952, student, 24th in the Olympic Games in Mexico, three-time bronze medalist of the 1969 European Championships in Landskrona. With these statistics, the name Ludmilla Tourischeva appeared in the starting lists of the 1970 World Championships in Ljubljana. Only those who had followed the championship and cup fights of the Soviet top class knew about the fantastic floor exercise and that the RSFSR athlete had received the highest rating of 9.9 like.

Ludmilla had put up a fight with Lyubov Burda, the defending champion, Zinaida Voronina, and Larisa Petrik, and had become the national champion on floor and uneven bars but in the all-around ranking was “only” number three among the Soviet gymnasts.

Everyone still remembers the breathtaking final sprint in which Karin Janz, Ludmilla Tourischeva, Erika Zuchold, and Zinaida Voronina strove to obtain the world championship title in 1970, Karin’s fall on the last exercise, the celebration for the 9.9 in Ludmilla’s floor routine. In Minsk, the world champion was able to consolidate her good reputation as an elegant gymnast with extremely difficult connections. The double pirouette in front of the upper bar on the uneven bars is one of them, as well as her beautiful Yamashita vaults.

Tamara Lazakovich 

European champion in the all-around, uneven bars, and balance beam

The 17-year-old gymnast, who was born in Vitebsk, made her debut in the women’s championship at the age of thirteen. At that time, she took last place in the shadow of Petrik, Voronina, and Karasova. At the 1970 state championships, she defeated all three on the balance beam to win her first gold medal. In three years, Tamara had matured into an experienced, self-confident gymnast. This maturing process was significantly accelerated by the youthful competitions of friendship, which bring together the strongest young athletes from the socialist countries every year. In 1968 in Cluj, she was second place, behind Tourischeva in 1969 in Moscow, and a year later in Gottwaldov, Tamara won. She is calmness personified and, as the picture shows, was not disturbed at all during a “shoe repair.”

Her success in the championship brought her a place in the world championship squad, but in Ljubljana, she fell off the balance beam in the compulsory program and was unable to make up for the lost points: 21st in the all-around. The big hour for Tamara came at the Spartakiade. Surprisingly, she won the competition ahead of Moscow’s Karasova.

In addition to the all-around at the world championship, she now started at the European Championships. With the lowest score of 9.60, she demonstrated such outstanding performance stability that she was rightly awarded the FIG Cup.

Erika Zuchold 

Third in the all-around, vault, balance beam, floor exercise

The teacher from Leipzig once again knew how to elegantly present her gymnastics skills. The now 24-year-old has been part of our national team for eight years now. Youth champion at the age of 15, national champion for the first time at 17, she was the first gymnast in the world to do a flick-flack on the balance beam. Shortly before the Olympic Games in Tokyo, she suffered a torn Achilles tendon. She overcame the serious injury with a lot of energy. In 1968, Erika returned home from Mexico with the silver medal on vault and fourth place in the all-around. Two years later, behind Ludmilla Tourischeva, she finished second in the all-around and won gold on vault and balance beam. And that after a meniscus operation!

At the European Championships in Amsterdam in 1967, and in Landskrona in 1969, Erika won silver medals on vault, fourth in the all-around in 1967 and tied for third with Tourischeva in 1969 in the all-around. Defeating the two USSR top gymnasts now in Minsk hardly seemed possible. With a 9.70 on vault and 9.65 on floor, she was among the favorites. Her attempt to turn the double turn on the balance beam into a triple spin didn’t quite succeed. Uncertainty on the uneven bars brought another tenth of a point deduction. But four bronze medals speak for themselves.

Angelika Hellman

Sixth in the all-around, third on uneven bars

Angelika does not yet have any “personal gold” among the women. The 17-year-old Berliner, born in Halle, drew attention to herself for the first time at the Spartakiade competitions for our children and young people in 1968 and had a big boost in performance after winning a bronze medal at the East German women’s championships in 1970. The light-heartedness with which she performed her exercises in a lively and pleasing manner without any inhibitions, her consistency, and the high level of her exercises brought Angelika a place in the world championship squad of the GDR, where she performed gymnastics with nerves of steel despite the great strain as a newcomer and came tenth.

The absence of Karin Janz, who was not able to acquire the appropriate form in time due to her graduation from high school and the start of her medical studies, made it necessary to use a young gymnast. Angelika received a confidence boost at the European Championships. She is one of the medal winners. Now she is working to further improve her performances. Although the 9.20 was her lowest score, sixth place in these competitions is by no means a disappointment. The bronze medal on the uneven bars was an expression of her skills.

Das “Medaillenquartett” von Minsk

Ludmilla Turistschewa 
Europameisterin im Vierkampf, Bodenturnen, Pferdsprung

1,55 m groß, 47 kg schwer, geboren am 7. Oktober 1952, Studentin, 24. der Olympischen Spiele von Mexiko, dreifache Bronzemedaillengewinnerin der Europameisterschaften 1969 von Landskrona. Mit diesen statistischen Angaben tauchte der Name Ludmilla Turistschewas in den Startlisten der Weltmeisterschaften 1970 von Ljubliaria auf. Nur wer die Meisterschafts- und Pokalkämpfe der sowjetischen Spitzenklasse aufmerksam verfolgt hatte, wußte von einer phantastischen Bodenübung und davon, daß die RSFSR-Sportlerin dafür mit 9,9 wie Karassiowa die höchste Wertung erhalten hatte. 
Ludmilla hatte Ljubow Burda, der Titelverteidigerin, Sinaida Woronina und Larissa Petrik einen Kampf auf Biegen und Brechen geliefert, war zwar Landesmeisterin am Boden und Stufenbarren geworden, aber in der Gesamtwertung „nur” Nummer drei der sowjetischen Turnerinnen. 

Jeder erinnert sich noch des atemberaubenden Endspurts, mit dem Karin Janz, Ludmilla Turistschewa, Erika Zuchold und Sinaida Woronina 1970 dem Ziele des Weltmeistertitels zustrebten, des Sturzes von Karin am letzten Gerät, des Jubels um die 9,9 für Ludmillas Bodenkür. In Minsk konnte die Weltmeisterin ihren guten Ruf als elegante Turnerin mit extrem schwierigen Verbindungen festigen. Die doppelte Pirouette vor dem oberen Holm am Stufenbarren zählt dazu und ihre schönen Yamasiltasprünge.

Tamara Lasakowitsch 
Europameisterin im Vierkampf, Stufenbarren, Schwebebalken

Die 17jährige in Witebsk geborene Turnerin gab bereits 13jährig ihr Debüt in der Frauenmeisterschaft. Damals belegte sie den letzten Platz im Schatten von Petrik, Woronina, Karassiowa. Bei den Landesmeisterschaften 1970 besiegte sie alle drei am Schwebebalken und holte sich erstmals Gold. Tamara war in drei Jahren zu einer erfahrenen Turnerin herangereift, selbstbewußt. Wesentlich beschleunigt wurde dieser Reifeprozeß von den Jugendwettkämpfen der Freundschaft, die alljährlich die stärksten jungen Sportler der sozialistischen Länder zusammenführen. 1968 in Cluj wurde sie Zweite hinter Turistschewa, 1969 in Moskau und ein Jahr später in Gottwaldov gewann Tamara. Sie ist die Ruhe in Person, ließ sich bei einer „Schuhreparatur”, wie das Bild beweist, überhaupt nicht stören. 

Ihr Meisterschaftserfolg brachte den Platz in. der Weltmeisterriege, doch in Ljubljana fiel sie im Pflichtprogramm vom Schwebebalken und konnte den Punktverlust nicht mehr wettmachen: 21. der Gesamtwertung. Bei der Völkerspartakiade schlug die große Stunde für Tamara. Überraschend gewann sie den Achtkampf vor der Moskauerin Karassiowa, 
Neben der Achtkampf Weltmeisterin startete sie nun bei den Europameisterschaften. Mit der niedrigsten Wertung von 9,60 bewies sie eine so hervorragende Leistungsstabilität, daß ihr zu Recht der Pokal der FIG zugesprochen wurde.

Erika Zuchold 
Dritte im Vierkampf, Pferdsprung, Schwebebalken, Boden

Die Leipziger Lehrerin verstand es auch diesmal, ihre Turnkunst elegant darzubieten. Seit nunmehr acht Jahren steht die jetzt 24jährlge in unserer Nationalmannschaft. Mit 15 Jahren Jugendmeisterin, mit 17 erstmals Landesmeisterin im Achtkampf kreierte sie als erste Turnerin der Welt den Flick-Flack auf dem Schwebebalken. Kurz vor den Olympischen Spielen in Tokio erlitt sie einen Achillessehnenriß. Sie überwand die schwere Verletzung mit viel Energie. 1968 kehrte Erika aus Mexiko mit der Silbermedaille im Pferdsprung und dem vierten Platz der Gesamtwertung heim. Zwei Jahre später wurde sie hinter Ludmilla Turistschewa Vizeweltmeisterin im Achtkampf und gewann Gold im Sprung und am Schwebebalken. Und das nach einer Meniskusoperation!

Bei Europameisterschaften hatte Erika 1967 in Amsterdam und 1969 in Landskrona Silber Im Pferdsprung, 1967 den vierten und 1969 gemeinsam mit Turistschewa den dritten Rang im Vierkampf erreicht. Die beiden UdSSR-Spitzenturnerinnen jetzt in Minsk zu bezwingen, schien kaum möglich. Mit 9,70 im Sprung und 9,65 am Boden lag sie im Bereich der Favoritenwertungen. Ihr Versuch, aus der zweifachen Drehung auf dem Schwebebalken eine dreifache zu machen, gelang nicht ganz. Eine Unsicherheit am Stufenbarren brachte weitere Zehntel Abzug. Aber viermal Bronze sprechen für sich.

Angelika Hellmann
Sechste im Vierkampf, Dritte am Stufenbarren

Angelika hat noch kein „persönliches Gold” bei den Frauen aufzuweisen. Die 17jährige Berlinerin, in Halle geboren, machte zum ersten Male bei den Spartakiadewettkämpfen unserer Kinder und Jugendlichen 1968 auf sich aufmerksam und hatte nach dem Gewinn einer Bronzemedaille bei den Frauenmeisterschaften der DDR 1970 einen großen Leistungsaufschwung zu verzeichnen. Die Unbeschwertheit, mit der sie ohne jede Hemmung ihre Übungen schwungvoll und gefällig darbot, ihre Beständigkeit und das hohe Niveau ihrer Übungen brachten Angelika einen Platz in der Weltmelsterschaftsriege der DDR. Dort turnte sie trotz der großen Belastung als Neuling äußerst nervenstark und wurde Zehnte.

Der Ausfall von Karin Janz, die durch ihr Abitur und den Beginn des Medizinstudiums nicht rechtzeitig die entsprechende Form erlangen konnte, machte den Einsatz einer jungen Turnerin erforderlich. Angelika erhielt das Vertrauen für die Europameisterschaften. Sie gehört zu den Medaillengewinnern. Jetzt arbeitet sie daran, ihre Leistungen weiter zu verbessern. Obwohl die 9,20 ihre niedrigste Wertung war, kann Platz sechs bei diesen Titelkämpfen keinesfalls als Enttäuschung angesehen werden. Die Bronzemedaille am Stufenbarren war Ausdruck ihres Könnens.

Appendix B: East Germany vs. USSR Days Later

Just days after the European Championships, the Soviet and East German teams competed against each other. With the exception of Hellmann, both teams sent gymnasts who had not competed in Minsk at the European Championships.

Olga Korbut won the competition, bouncing back after a poor routine on uneven bars. Meanwhile, the East Germans were becoming more expressive during their floor routines.

Here’s an account of the competition from the East German newspaper Neue Zeit (Oct. 26, 1971).

After a lead of one and a half points on the first day, a balanced gymnastics team from the GDR narrowly lost to the USSR in the women’s international gymnastics competition in Ufa with 376.70:376.85 points. The decisive factor for the Soviet victory was the excellent performance of 16-year-old Olga Korbut from Grodno, who had been considered the greatest hope for the future for the past three years. After an unsuccessful exercise on the uneven bars (8.85) at “halftime” she was only eighth. Nevertheless, she still managed to jump to first place.

She won the individual classification with 75.95 points ahead of her compatriot Sikharulidze (75.70) and Sabine Leffs (GDR/75.65), who was still in the lead after the first day. Olga Korbut’s scores: vault 9.6, uneven bars 9.8, balance beam 9.65, floor 9.75. “Flaws” by Angelika Hellmann (GDR) on the uneven bars and by Sabine Leffs on the balance beam also contributed to the victory remaining in the host country.

One of the highlights of the second round was Olga Korbut’s uneven bars routine. Technically excellent gymnastics, with high risk and original connections, it contained, among other things, a flick flack from the stand on the upper bar into a hang. On the balance beam, the 16-year-old again impressed with a backflip, which she performed twice safely.

The young GDR squad showed their greatest progress in floor exercise, something like our Achilles’ heel so far. The lead of the Soviet gymnasts from the last few years has almost been caught up. The GDR girls were only half a point behind, with a score of 9.40 being noted for the team rating. It was particularly striking that, in addition to the acrobatic difficulties, the gymnastic part was also presented effectively and gracefully this time.

The three-day gymnastics comparison ended with the event finals. Olga Korbut, the great individual winner of the international competition, was in the final three times. She won vault and balance beam, while she was defeated by Rusudan Sikharulidze of Georgia in the floor exercise. Sabine Leffs recorded the only victory for the GDR colors on uneven bars. The Leipzig native was also second on vault and a good third on floor.

The individual all-around 1. Korbut 75.95, 2. Sikharulidze (both USSR) 75.70, 3. Leffs (GDR) 75.65, 4T. Burda, Saadi (both USSR) and Kadolph (GDR) each 75.35, 7. Noack 75.30. 8. Hellmann 75.10. 9. Peelers (all DDR) 74.90. 10. Gapeenko (USSR) 73.50, 11. Schmeisser (GDR) 73.30, 12. Tikhonova (USSR) 73.25.

Event finals. Vault: 1. Korbut 19.2. 2. Leffs and Burda each 19.05. Uneven bars: 1st Leff 19.25, 2nd Burda 19.00. 3. Kadolph 18.9. Balance beam: 1. Korbut 19.2. 2. Burda 19.1. 3. Kadolph 19.05. Floor: 1. Sikharulidze 19.475, 2. Korbut 19.35, 3. Leffs 19.175.

Nach einem Vorsprung von anderthalb Punkten am ersten Tage unterlag eine ausgeglichen turnende DDR-Mannschaft beim Turnländerkampf der Frauen in Ufa der UdSSR knapp mit 376,70:376,85 Punkten. Auschlaggebend für den sowjetischen Sieg waren hervorragende Leistungen der seit drei Jahren als größte Zukunftshoffnung betrachteten 16jähngen Olga Korbut aus Grodno. Nach einer mißglückten Uebung am Stufenbarren (8,85) bei „Halbzeit” nur Achte, gelang ihr noch der Sprung auf den ersten Platz.

Sie siegte in der Einzelwertung mit 75,95 Punkten vor ihrer Landsmännin Sicharulidse (75,70) und Sabine Leffs (DDR/75,65), die nach dem ersten Tag noch in Führung gelegen hatte. Die Noten für Olga Korbut: Pferdsprung 9,6, Stufenbarren 9,8, Schwebebalken 9,65, Boden 9,75. „Patzer” von Angelika Hellmann (DDR) am Stufenbarren und Von Sabine Leffs am Schwebebalken trugen ebenfalls dazu bei, daß der Sieg im Gastgeberland blieb.

Zu den Höhepunkten des zweiten Kürdurchgangs zählte die Barrenübung von Olga Korbut. Technisch hervorragend geturnt, mit hohem Risiko und originellen Verbindungen, enthielt sie u. a. den Flickflack vom Stand auf dem oberen Holm in den Hang. Auf dem Schwebebalken imponierte die 16jährige wiederum mit dem zweimal sicher gestandenen Rückwärtssalto.

Die junge DDR-Riege bewies ihren größten Fortschritt im Bodenturnen, bisher so etwas wie unsere Achillesferse. Der Vorsprung der sowjetischen Turnerinnen aus den letzten Jahren ist nahezu aufgeholt. Der Rückstand der DDR-Mädchen betrug nur einen halben Punkt, wobei als Streichnote für die Mannschaftswertung eine 9,40 notiert wurde. Besonders auffallend war, daß neben akrobatischen Schwierigkeiten diesmal auch der gymnastische Teil wirkungsvoll und graziös dargeboten wurde.

Der dreitägige Turn vergleich wurde mit den Finalkämpfen an den einzelnen Geräten abgeschlossen. Olga Korbut, die großartige Einzelsiegenn des Länderkampfes, stand dreimal im Endkampf. Sie siegte im Pferdsprung und am Schwebebalken, während sie in der Bodenübung der Georgierin Russudan Sicharulidse den Vortritt lassen mußte. Den einzigen Sieg für die DDR-Farben verbuchte Sabine Leffs am Stufenbarren. Die Leipzigerin wurde außerdem Zweite im Pferdsprung und gute Dritte am Boden.

Die Einzelereebmsse 1. Korbut 75,95, 2. Sicharulidse (beide UdSSR) 75,70, 3. Leffs (DDR) 75,65, 4. Burda, Saadi (beide UdSSR) und Kadolph (DDR) je 75,35, 7. Noack 75,30. 8. Hellmann 75,10. 9. Schäler (alle DDR) 74,90. 10. Gapejenko (UdSSR) 73,50, 11. Schmeißer (DDR) 73,30, 12. Tichonowa (UdSSR) 73,25.

Finale an den Geräten. Pferdsprung: 1. Korbut 19.2. 2. Leffs und Burda je 19.05. Stufenbarren : 1. Leff 19,25, 2. Burda 19,00. 3. Kadolph 18,9. Schwebebalken: 1. Korbut 19.2. 2. Burda 19.1. 3. Kadolph 19,05. Boden: 1. Sicharulidse 19,475, 2. Korbut 19,35, 3. Leffs 19,175.

You can see Korbut training the Korbut flip and her back tuck on beam in 1969:

Transcript:

Narrator: [00:00:00] Olga Korbut. Everybody got to know her name after she won an international artistic gymnastics event between USSR and Japan. It was the breaking point when the young athlete gained her first fame. Olya is a native of the Belarussian [00:00:30] city of Grodno. She is an eighth-grade school student and practices gymnastics. A whole galaxy of famous athletes was brought up by the Honored Coach of the USSR, Renald Ivanovich Knysh.

Olya has been his pupil for just two years. Difficult elements for the uneven bars are introduced by the coach and the gymnast. The challenging road from idea to execution can take weeks, months, and it’s not, [00:01:00] by far, smooth sailing. No worries, it will come about. Coach knows his pupil – she has what it takes in terms of bravery and will. Sports is not only about the score or fastest time. A talented athlete, with the help of their coach, will always invent something personal, something new.

No female gymnast has ever before performed this element of the highest difficulty, [00:01:30] a salto on the balance beam. Olga Korbut is just 15 years old. Her first steps in the big sport clearly state that a new talented gymnast has come.
[pause 00:01:46]

Диктор: [00:00:00] Ольга Корбут. Ее имя стало известно после победы в международном матче по спортивной гимнастике СССР—Япония. Тогда к юной спортсменке пришел первый большой успех. Оля — из белорусского [00:00:30] города Гродно. Она учится в восьмом классе и занимается гимнастикой. Целую плеяду известных спортсменов воспитал заслуженный тренер СССР Ренальд Иванович Кныш.
Оля тренируется у него всего лишь два года. Трудные элементы вносят тренер и гимнастка в упражнение на брусьях. Сложный путь от замысла до выполнения растягивается на недели, месяцы, и путь этот [00:01:00] далеко не легкий. Ничего, получится. Тренер знает свою ученицу — у нее хватит и смелости, и воли. Спорт — это не только очки, секунды. Даровитый спортсмен с помощью тренера всегда вносит что-то свое, новое.
Еще ни одна гимнастка не выполняла этот сложнейший элемент — [00:01:30] сальто на бревне. Всего 15 лет Ольге Корбут. Ее первые шаги в большом спорте говорят о появлении новой способной гимнастки.
[пауза 00:01:46]

Note: Korbut has accused Knysh of sexual assault. Knysh has denied the allegations.

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