1972 Olympics WAG

1972: The Women’s All-Around Final at the Munich Olympics

The third rotation of the women’s all-around final (competition II) in Munich is one of the most famous moments in the history of gymnastics. It was widely covered in the media at the time, and it continues to be mentioned in almost every history about women’s gymnastics. 

You probably know the story. 

Heading into the third rotation, Korbut had a 0.075 lead over Tourischeva. When Korbut mounted the bars, she messed up a simple glide kip, and from there, things fell apart. After her routine, she burst into tears — a moment that appeared on television sets and in periodicals around the world. With a score of 7.50 on bars, she lost all chances of an all-around medal.

In the words of one Wall Street Journal writer, the American public forgot about the politics of the Cold War and saw Olga as human: “She was simply a 17-year-old girl from a small town, crying in anguish at her failures and glowing over her successes” (WSJ, Sep. 6, 1972).

But that’s not all that transpired during the competition. So, let’s take a look at what happened on August 30, 1972. 

Copyright: imago/Colorsport Gymnastics – 1972 Munich Olympics – Women s Individual All-Around The gold medal winner, USSR s Lyudmila Turishcheva. Sports Hall, Olympic Park, Munich, West Germany.

Quick Links: Predictions | Results | General Comments | Rotation-by-Rotation Commentary | Interview with Tourischeva | Video with Commentary from Janz

Reminder: The 1972 Olympics were the first time there was an all-around final.


Just days before the Olympics started, it seemed as if the all-around would be a battle between Tourischeva, Lazakovich, Zuchold, Janz, and Korbut.

In the individual event, the four medals will be decided between Tourischeva and Lazakovich, and Zuchold and Janz, with Korbut possibly also in the mix. The Soviet girls are hardly beaten on beam and floor, which require greater looseness and flexibility, and the GDR girls in the vault, which demands explosiveness. That leaves the uneven bars. This could lead to open competition… between these five girls.

Képes Sport, August 22, 1972

Egyéniben Turiscseva és Lazakovics, illetve Zucold és Janz között dőlhet el a négy szerenkénti bajnokság sorsa és itt esetleg még beleszólhat a küzdelembe Korbut is. A nagyobb lazaságot, hajlékonyságot igénylő gerendán és talajon a szovjet, a robbanékonyságot követelő lóugrásban az NDK- beli lányok aligha verhetők. Marad a felemáskorlát. Ez nyílt versenyt hozhat… mármint e között az öt lány között.

And then right before the all-around finals, Deutsches Sportecho picked Ludmilla Tourischeva and Karin Janz to win.

Who will win the all-around?

The team competitions also established the basis for today’s all-around, which sees only representatives of the socialist countries in the top nine places: five gymnasts from the USSR, three from the GDR (Janz, Zuchold, and Hellmann), and Ilona Békési (Hungary). In tenth place comes another gymnast, Cathy Rigby (USA), the world silver medalist on balance beam, but she is unlikely to have any chance of intervening in the fight for the all-around medals. She is already 1.3 points behind the first-placed gymnasts.

Who will be the winner of the all-around? Probably a female gymnast from the USSR or the GDR. Their superiority is obvious. But who? At the moment Ludmilla Tourischeva and Karin Janz are in the lead with 38.425 points each. Karin achieved the absolute highest score with 9.85 points in the bars compulsory routine — Ludmilla Tourischeva had a bad “wobble” on the beam and scored only 9.05 points, but with 9.75 in the optionals she proved that this was only a slip and that she is on the verge of conquering the Olympic all-around gold for the USSR.

Deutsches Sportecho, August 30, 1972

Wer wird Achtkampfsiegerin?
Mit den Mannschafts-Wettbewerben wurden auch die Grundlagen für den heute stattfindenden Achtkampf geschaffen; er sieht auf den neun ersten Plätzen ausschließlich Vertreterinnen der sozialistischen Länder: fünf UdSSR-Turnerinnen, drei DDR-Aktive (Janz, Zuchold und Hellmann) und Ilona Bekesi (Ungarn). Auf Rang zehn folgt mit der Vize-Weltmeisterin am Schwebebalken, Cathy Rigby (USA), eine andere Turnerin. die aber kaum noch eine Chance haben dürfte, in den Kampf um die Achtkampf-Medaillen einzugreifen. Ihr Rückstand gegenüber den Erstplazierten beträgt bereits 1,3 Punkte.
Wer Achtkampfsiegerin wird? Wohl nur eine Turnerin aus der UdSSR oder der DDR. Ihre Überlegenheit ist eindeutig. Doch wer? Zur Stunde rangieren Ludmilla Turischtschewa und Karin‘ Janz mit je 38,425 Punkten an der Spitze. Karin erreichte mit 9,85 Zählern in der Barren-Pflicht die absolute Höchstnote — Ludmilla Turischtschewa hatte auf dem Balken einen üblen „Wackler“ und kam auf nur 9,05 Punkte, Mit 9,75 in der Kür bewies sie aber, daß dies nur ein Ausrutscher war und daß sie drauf und dran ist, das olympische Mehrkampf-Gold für die UdSSR zu erobern.


Note: Each gymnast’s qualifying rank is listed under her name. Her qualifying average from compulsories and optionals (competitions 1a and 1b) are listed under her country. Her final all-around score is listed in bold print in the third row. It is the sum of her qualifying average and her point total from the all-around finals. (I recognize that this is not the ideal layout, but I need to save space.)

1. Tourischeva
Qual: 1T38.4259.709.659.759.7038.80
2. Janz
Qual: 1T38.4259.809.709.509.7038.70
3. Lazakovich
Qual: 438.2009.309.509.759.6038.15
4. Zuchold
Qual: 538.0009.709.609.359.5538.20
5. Burda
Qual: 637.6759.559.309.559.5037.90
6. Hellmann
Qual: 737.6509.509.509.209.6037.80
7. Korbut
Qual: 338.3509.609.709.759.7538.80
8. Saadi
Qual: 837.3259.409.409.259.4037.45
9. Békési
Qual: 937.2009.409.559.309.4037.65
10. Rigby
Qual: 1037.1259.159.409.359.5037.40
11. Abel
Qual: 1336.8759.559.409.009.2537.20
12. Schmeißer
Qual: 1736.6008.459.458.859.4536.20
13. Medveczky
Qual: 1536.8009.209.359.359.3037.20
14. Császár
Qual: 1236.9259.309.259.409.3037.25
15. Schmitt
Qual: 1436.8509.359.309.059.3037.00
16. Koshel
Qual: 20T36.5009.408.509.408.7036.00
17. Kéry
Qual: 1636.6959.409.308.959.5537.20
18. Némethová
Qual: 1137.0009.409.409.109.3537.25
19. van Gerwen
Qual: 2236.4759.309.459.209.3037.25
20. Matsuhisa
Qual: 26T36.2509.209.408.609.2036.40
21. Moore
Qual: 26T36.2509.109.108.659.4036.25
22. Ceampelea
Qual: 18T36.5259.
23. Schorn
Qual: 31T36.0509.409.308.459.0536.20
24. Brázdová
Qual: 2436.4009.159.408.709.1036.35
25. Hirashima
Qual: 35T35.9759.159.208.909.0536.30
26. Fritschi
Qual: 35T35.9759.309.308.909.0536.55
27. Dorňáková
Qual: 2336.4509.259.358.309.4036.30
28. Chace
Qual: 18T36.5259.109.208.959.2536.50
29T. Bujnáčková
Qual: 26T36.2509.
29T. Grigoraș
Qual: 31T36.0509.209.058.959.2536.45
31. Goreac
Qual: 3036.1259.359.308.309.3036.25
32. Lišková
Qual: 3336.0259.159.258.409.0035.80
33. Pierce
Qual: 2536.2759.259.309.008.9536.50
34. Kelemen
Qual: 20T36.5009.359.409.108.9536.80
35. Hasegawa
Qual: 3436.0009.209.258.559.1036.10
36. Metheny
Qual: 26T36.2509.

General Commentary

While Tourischeva won the meet, Olga was often called the “moral winner” of the competition.

Two years after her World Championship victory in Ljubljana, the not-quite 20-year-old Ludmilla Tourischeva from the Soviet Union also became Olympic champion in a dramatic final battle in Munich. Before the last discipline, the elegant Russian was still five-hundredths of a point behind the East German Karin Janz of the same age, but with 9.90 on the floor exercise she was able to overtake her rival again. Karin Janz “only” scored 9.70 on her last apparatus, the uneven bars. The bronze medal went to the Russian European Champion Tamara Lazakowitsch, who achieved the absolute highest optional total with 38.65. The “moral winner” was 17-year-old Olga Korbut, who only lost the gold medal because of a fall from uneven bars (7.50).

Thuner Tagblatt, Volume 96, Number 204, 31 August 1972

Zwei Jahre nach ihrem WM-Sieg in Ljubljana wurde die nicht ganz 20jährige Ludmilla Turischtschewa aus der Sowjetunion in München in einem dramatischen Endkampf auch Olympiasiegerin. Vor der letzten Disziplin lag die elegante Russin noch fünf Hundertstelpunkte hinter der gleichaltrigen ostdeutschen Karin Janz, doch mit 9,90 in der Bodenübung vermochte sie ihre Rivalin wieder zu überholen. Karin Janz hatte es an ihrem letzten Gerät, dem Stufenbarren, «nur» zu 9,70 gereicht. Die Bronzemedaille ging an die russische Europameisterin Tamara Lasakowitsch, die mit 38,65 das absolut höchste Kürtotal erreichte. Als «moralische Siegerin» ging aber die 17jährige Olga Korbut hervor, die nur wegen eines Sturzes vom Stufenbarren (7,50) um die Goldmedaille kam.

The East German gymnasts had significantly improved between 1960 and 1972.

From Ingrid to Karin.

The recognition for sporting championship is also due to Karin Janz, Erika Zuchold, and [Angelika] Hellmann, who the results sheet showed among the best ten gymnasts. In this proud hour went the memory of the first Olympic start of our gymnasts. Roselore Sonntag, today’s team coach, was in that Rome squad in 1960, finishing 29th. Our most successful gymnast at that time was Ingrid Föst, still unmatched in the number of GDR championship titles she won, who took ninth place. Our table shows how we progressed.

OG 1960 Rome

9. Föst 
29. Sonntag 
31. Starke 
34. Schiener
49. Schneider
59. Boldemann

OG 1964 Tokyo

4. Radochla
10. Starke
12. Föst
31. Mannewitz
35. Felgner
44. Stolz

OG 1968 Mexico City

4. Zuchold 
6. Janz 
12. Bauerschmidt 
22. Starke
27. Noack 
29. Schmidt 

OG 1972 Munich

2. Janz
4. Zuchold
6. Hellmann
11. Abel
12. Schmeißer
15. Schmitt

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972

Von Ingrid bis Karin.
Die Anerkennung für sportliche Meisterschaft gebührt auch Karin Janz, auch Erika Zuchold, auch [Angelika] Hellmann, die das Ergebnisprotokoll unter den besten zehn Turnerinnen auswies. In dieser stolzen Stunde ging die Erinnerung an den ersten Olympiastart unserer Turnerinnen. Roselore Sonntag, heutige Mannschaftstrainerin, stand in jener römischen Riege 1960. Sie belegte den 29. Platz. Unsere Erfolgreichste war damals Ingrid Föst, bis heute in der Anzahl erturnter DDR-Meistertitel unerreicht, die den neunten Rang einnahm. Wie wir vorwärtsgekommen, zeigt unsere Tabelle.

One topic of conversation was Janz’s change of appearance. 

When Janz made her debut at the 1967 European Championships, she was often described in boyish, masculine terms, in part, due to her short hair. In Munich, many noticed that her appearance changed.

However, the twenty-year-old Karin, already a student at the Humboldt University’s Faculty of Medicine, had prepared carefully for the Munich Olympics. Not only on the apparatus. The young woman softened her features, equipped herself with a smile, grew her hair, and even reached for her lipstick. Each sport requires its own thing. Gymnastics demands that women look impressive.

Stadión, January 30, 1973

Na mnichovskou olympiádu se však dvacetiletá Karin, už posluchačka lékařské fakulty Humboldtovy university, pečlivě připravovala. Nejen na nářadí. Mladá žena zjemnila své pohyby, přizdobila se úsměvem, nechala narůst vlasy a dokonce sáhla po šminkách. Každý sport chce své. Gymnastika žádá od žen působivý vzhled.

Note: Berthe Villancher, President of the Women’s Technical Committee, was a proponent of traditional, bourgeois feminine ideals.

The all-around was a triumph for socialist countries.

However, the sporting recognition belongs not only to the gymnasts of the USSR and the GDR, but also to the Hungarian representatives, who, with their exercises, reminded us of the old Hungarian gymnastics school, of those Olympic events in Helsinki in 1952 and in Melbourne in 1956, when Keleti, Korondi, and Tass won gold and silver in a multitude. The all-around final put especially Ilona Békési and Anikó Kery in the spotlight not only of the experts, but also of the enthusiastic spectators, who, this time, were much more objective. It was a remarkable gymnastics show, which impressively reflected the outstanding skills of the female athletes of our socialist countries.

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972

Die sportliche Anerkennung gebührt aber nicht nur den Turnerinnen der UdSSR und der DDR, sie gehört auch den ungarischen Vertreterinnen, die mit ihren Übungen an alte ungarische Turnschule erinnerten, an jene olympischen Ereignisse 1952 in Helsinki und 1956 in Melbourne, da die Keleti, Korondi und Tass Gold und Silber in einer Vielzahl erturnten. Das Mehrkampffinale brachte vor allem Ilona Bekesi und Aniko Kery ins Rampenlicht nicht nur der Experten, sondern auch der begeisterten, diesmal wesentlich objektiveren Zuschauer. Es war eine bemerkenswerte Turnschau, die eindrucksvoll das überragende Können der Sportlerinnen unserer sozialistischen Länder widerspiegelte.

Arthur Magakian, Technical Director of the French Gymnastics Federation, liked these routines best:

In my opinion, the best constructed exercises were:

Uneven bars: Tourischeva, Lazakovich, Janz.

Beam: Lazakovitch, Korbut, Chace (USA), Császár (Hungary).

Floor: Tourischeva, Lazakovich, Burda, Moore (USA), Korbut.

Vault: Janz, Korbut, Tourischeva, Burda, Zuchold.

Revue EPS, Nov/Dec. 1972

A mon avis, les exercices les mieux construit s furent :

Barres asymétriques: Turischeva, Lazakovitch, Janz.

Poutre : Lazakovitch, Korbut, Chease (USA), Csaszar (Hongrie).

Sol: Turischeva, Lazakovitch, Burda, Moore (USA), Korbut.

Saut: Janz, Korbut, Turischeva, Burda, Zuchold.

Magakian also noted that there were two different “types” of gymnasts in the competition, and he felt that the judges favored the “acrobatic” gymnast over the “classical” gymnast.

There are clearly two trends in women’s gymnastics:

The classical gymnast: artistic, harmonious, elegant, with presence, very feminine (Lazakovitch).

The acrobatic gymnast: where the qualities of daring, grit, combine with the smaller size, more child prodigy (Korbut, Rigby, Janz).

Note the generosity of the judges for the second type.

Should we appreciate more audacity, temerity, originality? or leave to women’s gymnastics all its aesthetic value where bodily expression would be valued as much as the qualities of pure acrobatics?

The public, which sometimes influences the judges, is fond of sensationalism, appreciates the “never seen” and it is certain that little Olga knows how to be loved for her mischievous side.

Arthur Magakian, Technical Director, France, Revue EPS, Nov/Dec. 1972

L’on distingue nettement deux tendances en gymnastique féminine :

La gymnaste classique : artistique, harmonieuse, élégante, ayant de la présence, très féminine (Lazakovitch).

La gymnaste acrobatique: où les qualités d’audace, de cran, s’allient avec le gabarit plus petit, plus enfant prodige (Korbut, Rigby, Janz).

A noter la générosité des juges pour le deuxième type.

Faut-il plus apprécier l’audace, la témérité, l’originalité ? ou laisser à la gymnastique féminine toute sa valeur esthétique où l’expression corporelle serait valorisée autant que les qualités de pure acrobatie ?

Le public, qui parfois influence les juges, est friand de sensationnel, apprécie le « jamais vu » et il est certain que la petite Olga sait se faire aimer par son côté espiègle.

Sándor Békési, Ilona Békési’s father and coach, had a different opinion.

He felt that the judges favored the more “feminine” performances that did not have the “spectacular” acrobatic elements.

Their choreographies already tend to incorporate insanely spectacular elements, this is true for almost all events, yet the judges still give higher scores for the feminine, artistic performances.

Népsport, Sept. 4, 1972

Koreográfiájuk egyre inkább a szinte meghökkentően látványos elemek beiktatására törekszik, erre szinte minden szeren láttunk példákat, a pontozók azonban továbbra is többre értékelték a nőies, művészi előadásmódot.

On a different topic, as you can see in the results table above, Metheny (USA) received zeros for her scores. She withdrew at the last minute.

Linda Metheny, who had qualified to compete in Competition Two, withdrew before the competition began because of her injuries.

Gymnast, Jan. 1973

Muriel Grossfeld described Metheny’s injuries thusly:

When she went to Washington and on the same day that Nancy hurt her knee, she landed a somi rather heavily on the beam, found herself having difficulties breathing. It turned out that… and nobody’s sure just how badly she was really hurt, whether the diaphragm muscles were ripped, whether part of the diaphragm was actually injured or what, she couldn’t move, she couldn’t breath and there wasn’t very much at all that she could do. At the time that we left Washington her coach Dick Mulvihill felt that she wouldn’ t compete. I felt that she probably would, but I can’t tell you all the reasons why I thought so I just got good feelings about things. She didn’t know. She wanted still to compete, but she was very mixed up. We went to Munich. We tried ice treatments, we tried everything, but we found out that she had problems that were contributing more deeply to the injury. Finally she worked out only for two days before the competition, got back to what kind of shape we could get her in. She has a wonderful reputation internationally, and none of our gymnasts had that except for Linda and Cathy Rigby, so just the fact that we could even put her on the floor did mean a whole lot to the rest of the team.

Gymnast, Dec. 1972

Rotation-by-Rotation Commentary

Unfortunately, much of the commentary from the time focused on the last two rotations: Korbut’s mishap and Tourischeva’s triumph. So, the first part of this section will rely on extant video coverage and my commentary.

The standings before the competition started.

1T. TourischevaURS38.425VT
1T. JanzGDR38.425BB
3. KorbutURS38.350FX
4. LazakovichURS38.200FX
5. ZucholdGDR38.000FX
6. BurdaURS37.675UB
7. HellmannGDR37.650BB
8. SaadiURS37.325BB

Rotation 1

Lazakovich on FX: 

  • Performing to “Hutsulochka” (Гуцулочка), she waits almost 30 seconds before doing her tumbling first pass. 
  • By this time, full-twisting layouts had become commonplace in women’s floor, so you’ll see the gymnasts start to perform multiple fulls and do them in combination. Lazakovich opted for a back handspring stepout out of her opening tumbling pass.
  • Speaking of commonplace, cat leap 1½s were everywhere.
  • Her handstand hop to flop was such a dramatic piece of choreography before her second tumbling line.

Janz on BB:

  • Important historical note: Korbut was not the only gymnast to do a back handspring swing-down in Munich. (In fact, a gymnast did the skill in 1968.)
  • Janz’s back handspring swing-down was quite long, but I love that it was connected to a back extension roll.
  • The wobble on her front handspring on beam is one place where Janz gave away valuable tenths to Tourischeva. Since it happened early in the competition, this bobble is often forgotten, and the emphasis is placed on hitting her foot on the bar during the final rotation. 
  • In 1970, Janz had performed her dismount out of a back handspring and crashed it. In 1972, she removed the back handspring and stuck the dismount.

Korbut on FX:

  • Performing to “Java” by Al Hirt, Korbut absolutely sparkled on floor with every move perfectly choreographed and performed. (Originally, her floor music was “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” but she changed it at the last minute.)
  • The swing-through after her aerial walkover was a nice, original touch.
  • Her tumbling passes were not as difficult as, say, Tourischeva’s and Moore’s double fulls. However, her routine worked the Code of Points. The following skills were of superior difficulty (the highest level of difficulty):
    • A front tuck
    • A roundoff, back handspring, back tuck
    • A roundoff, back handspring, layout
    • (Her chest roll was not in the Code.)

Hellmann on BB:

  • Her dismount sequence was original: a leap to a gainer tuck off the side.

Tourischeva on VT:

  • Unlike most competitors, she performed two different  vaults.
  • The safer vault was the Yamashita, which was much easier to land.
  • The more challenging vault was the handspring with a full twist.

Rigby on BB:

  • In the team competition, she removed the front aerial from her routine to play it safe. In the all-around final, she added it back in.
  • The crowd did not understand her score.
  • The U.S. media was not pleased, either. Gymnast wrote, “She showed good amplitude and exciting dance elements. In contrast, Turischeva was to have breaks on the beam” (Jan. 1973).
  • Note: Tourischeva received a 9.40 on beam, and Rigby received a 9.35 during the all-around final.

Also, you can see that Rigby’s foot was heavily bandaged. She injured it during the Olympic Trials:

Miss Rigby, 19, from Long Beach had been leading the competition when she had to cancel after pulling a tendon in the arch of her right foot Friday night during a tumbling stunt.

She received emergency treatment later and was released from the hospital but her coach ruled against letting her compete in the final competition Saturday.

With a margin of less than one point over her nearest competitor, sources said there was no doubt she would finish out of the top six places needed to qualify for the Olympics.

However, Vannie Edwards, chariman of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Committee, said a vote was taken permitting Miss Rigby to join the U.S. team. He said she will be considered a regular member of the team and not an alternate. Edwards said now only the top five placers will automatically make the team, as well as Rigby.

Los Angeles Times, May 28, 1972

The Standings after Rotation 1

GymnastCountryInitial Score1st RotationSubtotal
1. KorbutURS38.3509.80
2. TourischevaURS38.4259.65
3. LazakovichURS38.2009.65
4. JanzGDR38.4259.40
5. ZucholdGDR38.0009.60
6. BurdaURS37.6759.50
7. HellmannGDR37.6509.25

Rotation 2

Janz on FX: 

  • An interesting musical rendition of Cher’s “Bang Bang.”
  • Many a newspaper had written about Janz’s need to improve her performance quality on floor. This routine disguised her weaknesses in dance by using interesting patterns across the floor (e.g. when she almost steps out of bounds), more acrobatic dance elements (e.g. three butterflies), and constant motion.
  • Her handspring + front pike through to a full was a great combination pass.
  • Janz had injured her left ankle just prior to the Olympics, so performing two layout step-outs was a smart move.

The Standings after Rotation 2

GymnastCountryRotation 2Subtotal
1. KorbutURS9.65
2. TourischevaURS9.65
3. JanzGDR9.70
4. LazakovichURS9.55
5. ZucholdGDR9.70
6. BurdaURS9.40
7. HellmannGDR9.55

Rotation 3

Copyright: imago/Colorsport Gymnastics – 1972 Munich Olympics – Olga Korbut

Here’s how Korbut’s mishap was described at the time.

Korbut led, but then…

Small drama during the women’s gymnastics final

At 154 cm and 38 kg, the 17-year-old young girl from the Soviet Union, Olga Korbut, still had two routines ahead of her, the uneven bar and the balance beam. It seemed as if nothing could keep the gymnast, who had only been in the spotlight since 1971, from the gold medal. With impressive assurance, she had gymnastically practiced the floor exercise with a flic flac, which she rolled on her chest, and received 9.80 points. The Yamashita jump, a bent pike, she mastered on her horse. After two of the four disciplines in the individual all-around, which consists of the halved result of the eight-team event and the individual competition held yesterday, she was ahead of 20-year-old Ludmilla Tourischeva and Karin Janz (GDR) by almost three tenths.

But what happened, was not so easy to explain: Korbut, audience favorite number 1, mounted from the wrong side of the uneven bars, touched the ground with her foot at the glide kip and got stuck. What followed was a jigsaw puzzle of shiny pieces that were no longer held together by any connections. And to make it worse, a second kip failed, Olga Korbut had to fidget up the high bar like a beginner. There was absolute silence in the room. 12,000 people experienced the drama that top-level sport so often writes about with relentless harshness. The Olympic champion, who was meant to be, disappeared in the results to an anonymous 10th place. The best beam exercise with a somersault backwards and forwards and the daily maximum score of 9.8 points on this apparatus only allowed a cosmetic change: swapping 10th place with 7th place.

Neue Zürcher Nachrichten, Volume 67, Number 204, 1 September 1972

Korbut führte, doch dann…

Kleines Drama beim Kür-Finalturnen der Frauen

Das 154 cm grosse, 38 kg schwere und 17 Jahre junge Mädchen aus der Sowjetunion, Olga Korbut, hatte noch zwei Uebungen vor sich, den Stufenbarren und den Schwebebalken. Es schien, als ob die erst seit 1971 ins Rampenlicht getretene Turnerin nichts mehr auf dem Weg zur Goldmedaille halten konnte. Mit bestechender Sicherheit hatte sie die Bodenübung mit einem Flic Flac, den sie auf der Brust abrollte, geturnt und 9,80 Punkte erhalten. Der Yamashita-Sprung, ein gebückter Hecht, war ihr am Pferd geglückt. Nach zwei der vier Disziplinen im Einzelkampf, der sich aus dem halbierten Resultat des Mannschafts-Achtkampfs und des gestern durchgeführten Einzel-Kürkampfes zusammensetzt, lag sie mit fast drei Zehnteln Vorsprang vor den 20jährigen Ludmilla Tourischewa und Karin Janz (DDR).

Doch dann geschah, was erklärbar so leicht nicht ist: die Korbut, Publikumsliebling Nummer 1, ging von der falschen Seite an den Stufenbarren, berührte bei der Schleifkippe mit dem Fuss den Boden und blieb hängen. Was nachher kam, war ein Puzzle glänzender Einzelteile, die durch keine Verbindungen mehr gehalten waren. Und um das Mass voll zu machen, missriet eine zweite Kippe, Olga Korbut musste sich wie eine Anfängerin auf den oberen Holm heraufzappeln. Im Saal herrschte absolute Ruhe. 12 000 Menschen erlebten das Drama, das der Spitzensport mit unerbittlicher Härte so oft schreibt. DieÖlympiasiegerin, die man gemeint hatte, verschwand in einer Rangliste auf den anonymen 10. Platz. Die beste Balkenübung mit einem Salto rückwärts und vorwärts und der Tageshöchstnote von 9,8 Punkten an diesem Gerät liess nur noch kosmetische Aenderung zu: Vertauschung des 10. mit dem 7. Platz.

At the time, Korbut chalked it up to inexperience.

OLGA KORBUT: “I never thought that something like this could happen to me. But it’s likely because I’m still very inexperienced and have a long way to go to become a world-class gymnast.”

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972

OLGA KORBUT: „Ich habe nie gedacht, daß mir so etwas einmal passieren könnte. Aber es liegt wohl daran, daß ich noch sehr unerfahren bin und bis zu einer Weltklasseturnerin einen weiten Weg zurückzulegen habe.“

Janz, who lost the 1970 all-around title after a fall on beam, empathized with Korbut:

KARIN JANZ: “I feel very, very sorry for Olga Korbut, who was about to win the gold medal in the all-around. I can understand how she felt, because, as you know, something similar happened to me at the World Championships in Ljubljana. But she should console herself: tomorrow the sun will rise again.”

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972
KARIN JANZ: „Olga Korbut, die ja kurz vor der Goldmedaille im Mehrkampf stand, tut mir sehr, sehr leid. Ich kann nachfühlen, wie ihr zumute war, denn mir ist ja bekanntlich bei den Weltmeisterschaften in Ljubljana ähnliches. passiert. Aber sie soll sich trösten: Morgen scheint wieder die Sonne.“

Latynina pointed to a recent back injury. 

LARISSA LATYNINA, Federation coach of the USSR: “Of course, we are satisfied and happy with our success. We cannot explain the failure of Olga Korbut. Although she suffered from something in the past few days, back pain… I am sure that she will do much better in the apparatus final.”

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972

LARISSA LATYNINA, Verbandstrainerin der UdSSR: „Natürlich sind wir zufrieden und glücklich über unseren Erfolg. Das Versagen von Olga Korbut können wir uns alle nicht erklären. Sie hatte zwar in den zurückliegenden Tagen etwas, Rückenschmerzen… Ich bin sicher, daß sie es bei der Geräte-Entscheidung wesentlich besser macht.”

Korbut looked back on the moment.

It should be mentioned that Korbut had hit her feet on a glide swing at the 1972 USSR Championships. She also had a major error on bars at the 1972 Riga International and during a dual meet with East Germany.

But something was different this time in Munich.

In 2022, as Korbut reflected on the 1972 Olympics, she, like Latynina, attributed the error to her back injury. The doctors had given her Novocaine, and she could not feel her legs.


Zuchold on UB:

  • The Zuchold shoot to the low bar followed by the clear hip to handstand was an outstanding combination.

Burda on FX:

  • She used Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” the same piece that she used at the 1970 World Championships.
  • Her stretched Arabian step-out floated through the air and was reminiscent of Kuchinskaya’s old pass.
  • Her split leap into the final tumbling pass was a touch of something unique.

Janz on VT:

  • As you’ll hear in the video below, Janz hurt her foot right before the Olympics and could barely train. It’s interesting that she performed a more difficult vault than she needed to. She could have done a simple Yamashita but instead opted for a full twist.

The Standings after Rotation 3

GymnastCountryRotation 3Subtotal
1. JanzGDR9.65
2. TourischevaURS9.40
3. LazakovichURS9.70
4. ZucholdGDR9.65
5. BurdaURS9.65
6. HellmannGDR9.50
7. SaadiURS9.55

The Final Rotation

GymnastCountryRotation 4Final
1. TourischevaURS9.90
2. JanzGDR9.70
3. LazakovichURS9.75
4. ZucholdGDR9.50
5. BurdaURS9.55
6. HellmannGDR9.60
7. KorbutURS9.80
8. SaadiURS9.40

Zuchold on BB:

  • The beginning and ending set this routine apart. She starts by dramatically running in a diagonal across the podium and ends by dismounting diagonally, as well.
  • As we saw with Korbut’s floor routine, Zuchold was not doing the most difficult acrobatics on beam, but she worked the Code of Points. A few of her elements of superior difficulty:
    • A series of large leaps, jumps (different or similar)
    • Her double turn
    • Her layout somersault with ½ twist

Schmeißer on FX 

  • The opening of this routine is fascinating. She starts walking, and then, suddenly, the music begins. (She’s performing to Franz von Suppé’s “Cavalerie légère: Ouverture.”)
  • Her routine shared much of the same DNA as Janz’s — the same opening pass, the same sequence of butterflies…

Janz on UB

  • Everything was big about this routine — right from the mount — jumping over the low bar, doing a half turn into an immediate kip.
  • The pièce de résistance was the cast handstand to half pirouette to Janz salto.
    • Remember: This was before the Jaeger and the Gienger made their debuts in men’s gymnastics.
    • In effect, Janz was a trendsetter; she performed one of the first same-bar releases with a salto in all of gymnastics history.

Lazakovich on BB

  • At the 1971 European Championships, she was the one gymnast whose composition and rhythm on beam were praised by Berthe Villancher, the president of the Women’s Technical Committee.
  • The Women’s Technical Committee was trying to get rid of stops before and after big skills. While Lazakovich does pause before her back handspring, her arms and feet were always moving otherwise.
  • The pace of gymnastics: A full-twisting dismount off the beam was rare in 1968, but four years later, it had become almost compulsory.

Tourischeva on FX:

  • She performed to music from The Woman of My Dreams (Die Frau meiner Träume), one of the last major movies released in Hitler’s Germany. (You can read more about the movie’s history in the Soviet Union here.)
  • Her routine was ensorcelling, and the audience couldn’t help but clap along.
  • Tourischeva was one of the few gymnasts to perform a double full on floor. (She was not the first person in the history of the sport to do so.) 
  • And her final pose has become iconic.

Korbut on BB:

  • After having a rough routine on the uneven bars, Korbut bounced back to hit her beam routine.
  • While she had a small bobble on her standing back tuck into her dismount, she kept the flow of the routine going. There weren’t significant pauses before her back handspring swing down or her standing back tuck, which is what the judges wanted to see.
    • Reminder: Korbut was not the only gymnast to perform a standing back tuck at the 1972 Olympics. Nancy Thies of the U.S. did so, as well.

Here’s how things played out between the top three gymnasts.

Everything became wide open again. This is how the scoreboards announced it after seven exercises. Janz 67.175, Tourischeva 67.125, Lazakovich 67.100 – all three could still win and stepped up to their show apparatus for the eighth event. [Note: It was really the twelvth apparatus — 4 compulsories + 4 optionals + 4 optionals in the all-around final.]

Karin Janz looked for concentration on the uneven bars, a glance at her heavily bandaged left foot. She started swinging, then came the straddle somersault forward between the bars. And as in the 1st optional, Karin got tangled up, almost imperceptibly for the spectators, visibly for the judges and the experts. 9.70. Would that be enough?

Tamara Lazakovich forced herself to rest before she stepped onto the beam, on which she became European champion in Minsk a year ago. Clear, very smooth she set up the handsprings, graceful came the turns – everything was right. 9.75. The highest score on this piece of equipment, but 0.025 points were missing to catch up with the leading Karin Janz (76.875 : 76.85).

Ludmilla Tourischeva strode around the floor mat like a ballerina. The first sounds of the piano, at which the Moscow pianist Svetlana Atanassyeva sat, resounded. Ludmilla performed the first tumbling pass on the carpet – and the first intermediary applause acknowledged the wonderfully executed double-twisting somersault. Everything was perfect, her movements and combination harmonized with the music. 9.90. The highest score of the Olympic gymnastics competitions. Ludmilla was the Olympic champion. She is a great successor to the famous nine-time Olympic champion Larissa Latynina, who is now a federation coach.

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972

Alles wurde wieder offen. So verkündeten es die Anzeigetafeln nach sieben Übungen. Janz 67,175, Turischtschewa 67,125, Lasakowitsch 67,100 — alle drei konnten noch gewinnen und traten zum achten Versuch an ihre Paradegeräte.
Karin Janz suchte die Konzentration am Barren, ein Blick zum dick bandagierten linken Fuß. Schwungvoll begann sie, dann kam der gespreizte Salto vorwärts zwischen den Holmen. Und wie in der 1. Kür verhedderte sich Karin, fast unmerklich für die Zuschauer, sichtbar für die Kampfrichterinnen und die Experten. 9,70. Würden die reichen?
Tamara Lasakowitsch zwang sich zur Ruhe, ehe sie an den Balken trat, auf welchem sie vor einem Jahr in Minsk Europameisterin wurde. Sauber, sehr weich setzte sie die Überschläge auf, graziös kamen die Drehungen — alles stimmte. 9,75. Höchstnote an diesem Gerät, doch 0,025 Punkte fehlten ihr, um die führende Karin Janz einzuholen (76,875 : 76,85).
Ludmilla Turischtschewa schritt einer Primaballerina gleich rund um die Bodenmatte. Die ersten Klänge des Klaviers, an der die Moskauer Pianistin Swetlana Atanassjewa saß, ertönten. Ludmilla setzte die erste Sprungreihe auf den Teppich — und erster Zwischenapplaus würdigte die herrlich ausgedrehte doppelte Mühle. Alles saß bei ihr, die Bewegungen und Kombination harmonierten mit der Musik. 9,90. Höchstnote der olympischen Turnwettbewerbe. Ludmilla war Olympiasiegerin. Sie ist eine großartige Nachfolgerin ihrer berühmten, neunfachen Olympiasiegerin Larissa Latynina, die heute als Verbandstrainerin wirkt.

Some thought that there was some overscoring, especially during the final rotation.

Was the whole thing puppeteered?

One cannot avoid the fact that in the dramatic final competition of this women’s four-event, the judges contributed to it. Karin Janz was clearly overscored in her not entirely clean bar routine. But on the other hand, the judges corrected the standings: Tourischeva also received a score that was two tenths higher than what would have been given under normal circumstances. The drama around Olga Korbut and the Tourischeva-Janz duel made us forget that 33 other gymnasts showed greatness. Hardly anyone watched Erika Zuchold, who showed the best Yamashita jump, high and long, clearly separated in fly phases, or the bronze medalist, the 18-year-old Tamara Lazakovich. In this drama, everything else was just extras.

Neue Zürcher Nachrichten, Volume 67, Number 204, 1 September 1972

Wurde das Ganze gesteuert?

Man kommt nicht darum herum, dass im dramatischen Endkampf dieses Frauenvierkampfs das Kampfgericht das Seine dazu beitrug. Karin Janz wurde bei ihrer nicht in allen Teilen sauberen Barrenübung eindeutig zu hoch bewertet. Aber handkehrum stellte das Kampfgericht die Relationen richtig: Auch die Tourischewa erhielt eine Note, die um zwei Zehntel sicher über dem lag, was unter normalen Umständen gezahlt worden wäre. Das Drama um Olga Korbut und der Zweikampf Tourischewa-Janz liessen vergessen, dass noch andere 33 Turnerinnen Grossartiges zeigten. Selbst für eine Erika Zuchold, die den besten Yamashita-Sprung, hoch und weit, klar in Flugphasen getrennt zeigte, selbst für die Bronzemedaillengewinnerin, die 18jährige Tamara Lazakowitch hatte man kaum Augen mehr. In diesem Drama war alles andere nur noch Statisterie.

The East German newspaper Deutsches Sportecho ran the following headline:

A great successor to the famous Latynina

August 31, 1972

Eine große Nachfolgerin der berühmten Latynina

The Soviet press was thrilled to have a gymnast from the USSR win the all-around again.

Here’s a sample of the comments.

Our wonderful gymnast Ludmilla Tourischeva has experienced her “star” hour at the current games. The situation developed before the floor exercises so that in order to win the all-around, she needed to get a score of at least 9.9 points from strict judges. And Ludmilla not only perfectly fulfilled her program from a technical point of view, but also put her whole soul, all her willpower into the movement. She was awarded the gold medal of the all-around champion of the games.

“Ludmilla Tourischeva is the real queen of gymnastics. She is a world champion, a European champion, and now an Olympic champion,” writes an Agence France-Presse correspondent.

Gudok, Sept. 1, 1972

Пережила свой «звездный» час на нынешних играх наша чудесная гимнастка Людмила Турищева. Ситуация складывалась перед вольными упражнениями так, что для победы в многоборье ей необходимо было получить у строгих судей оценку не ниже 9,9 балла. И Людмила не просто безукоризненно выполнила свою программу с технической точки зрения, но и вложила в движение всю душу, всю силу воли. Наградой ей стала золотая медаль абсолютной чемпионки игр.

«Людмила Турищева — настоящая королева гимнастики. Она — чемпионка мира, чемпионка Европы и теперь — олимпийская чемпионка», — пишет корреспондент агентства Франс Пресс.

Latynina, the head coach, highlighted Tourischeva’s leadership.

“I consider Ludmilla’s win to be natural,” the gymnasts’ coach, Larisa Latynina, told us. “Olya Korbut could also get gold. Could be Karin Janz and Tamara Lazakovich with a gold medal. But Tourischeva’s victory is…” Latynina stumbled, looking for the right word. “This, if you like, is the triumph of justice. Our girls act together, support each other in difficult times. And this is also the merit of Ludmilla. She is the commanding officer of the team. And the commanding officer is what you need!”

Pravda, No. 245, September 01, 1972

— Я считаю выигрыш Людмилы закономерным, — говорила нам тренер гимнасток Лариса Латынина,— Золото могла получить и Оля Корбут. Могли быть с золотой медалью Карин Янц и Тамара Лэзакович. Но победа Турищевой — это… — Латынина запнулась, подыскивая нужное слово,— это, если хотите, торжество справедливости. Наши девушки выступают дружно, ппддерживают друг друга в трудную минуту. И в этом тоже заслуга Людмилы. Она — комсорг команды. И комсорг что надо!

Tourischeva cherished the team victory.

Lyudmila Tourischeva, Olympic all-around champion in gymnastics:

– No less than my own victory, joyful for me is the victory of our squad. When we all got up on the pedestal and our red banner slowly floated in the air – above all, it was the happiest moment … For the sake of such a moment it is worth giving all your strength!

Nedelia, Sept. 11, 1972

Людмила ТУРИ­ЩЕВА, абсолют­ ная олимпийская чемпионка гимнастике:
— Не меньше чем моя собствен­ ная победа, ра­ достна для меня победа нашей
команды. Когда мы все поднялись на пьедестал и на­ ше красное знамя медленно поплы­ ло в воздухе — выше всех, это была самая счаст­ ливая минута… Ра­ ди такой минуты стоит все силы от­ дать!

Video with Karin Janz’s Commentary

Moderator: Now I must ask you to comment, because you were there at the time.

Karin Janz: Of course, there is no need to say the name, Olga Korbut. She presented a very perky exercise, also suitable for her body, her style, and still with a high degree of difficulty.

Moderator: She seemed more like a naughty boy.

Karin: Yes, but beginning to become ladylike, if I may say.

Moderator: Yes, of course.

Karin: Again, you can see the [00:00:30] perfection of the Soviet, then Russian, ballet school. I think that was an essential pledge that these high performances would continue to be presented in floor gymnastics.

Moderator: Very quickly she became the audience’s favorite because she was small, because she was graceful and because here, clearly visible, she did a simple, also nice, and somehow also funny, cheerful floor routine.

Karin: However, in the months leading up to the [00:01:00] Munich Olympics, they didn’t fail to gather a lot of publicity in the U.S. and so on. This was certainly a good pledge to then be able to continue on this wave in Munich. But it was also to her credit, because it was a very nice routine.

Moderator: She was doing well, too. At that moment she took the lead in the all-around. That’s always a bit difficult to show, because all the equipment is used here.

Karin: Full of concentration. See, my left foot, if I may say so. [00:01:30] Because I had a very serious foot injury, just three weeks or so before the Olympics, and I was partially unable to train. I was only able to show some elements again for the first time there in the competition, after a three-week break, and that was very stressful. Nevertheless, the vaults were still tolerable except for the landing.

Moderator: Yes, you can say that. You took the lead at that moment, because at the same time there was the now famous mishap of Olga Korbut, whom we have here in the picture.

Karin: [00:02:00] You can still see the consequences. That is understandable.

Moderator: Here’s where you are, now on the uneven bars.

Karin: Compared to today, not only that the spaces are much further apart, it is of course no longer the same in terms of difficulty, but that is normal, the development has continued. I tried to do everything very cleanly and was, I think, relatively well-talented on the uneven bars.

Here a roll or a somersault named after me, but got stuck with the left [00:02:30] foot. Those were just training deficits. Fortunately, and this must of course be taken into account by the judges, that I could not carry out the element, the difficul one, as completely as one expects.

Moderator: That was still minimal. Here we have Tourischeva.

Karin: Yes, with a beautiful floor routine, I suppose, we’ll see it.

Moderator: Because Olga Korbut was behind and the decision for gold or silver in the all-around [00:03:00] had to be made now, up to this point you were still ahead.

Karin: Yes, but that mistake I made, the foot that got stuck, that probably wasn’t–

Moderator: Even looking a second time, I think only you saw that one and, of course, the strict judges.

Karin: That was maybe even a little bit to hear, the heel also hurt afterwards, to get out of the movement on the bar, a little bit painful. Ludmilla did a very nice routine. By the way, I was able to see her again a few weeks ago when this meeting [00:03:30] was here in Munich, on the occasion of these Olympic Games, 25 years ago. That was especially nice. She was invited with her husband, Valery Borsov.

Moderator: You could kill two birds with one stone.

Karin: Yes, kind of.

Moderator: I noticed a big difference. The rather childish Olga Korbut and then two, you allow me to say this, “real shapes”, you and Ludmilla, who fought there on the top.

Karin: Certainly, Ludmilla even more [00:04:00] than me, also with her great charisma. I would say, high perfection. From the difficulties certainly still a bit more possible. Finally, a twist. Good, but definitely a routine without any faults. The rating at that time, I think a 9 or so, was certainly also very justified, and with it came the Olympic victory. [00:04:30]

Moderator: It was 9.9. You really have a phenomenal memory.

Karin: No, it’s not quite like that. I have a little booklet and I took it out. I made a few notes at the time and looked through them once in preparation for this broadcast, so I was able to read that and especially for the individual competition.

Moderator: There is the first silver medal as well as the two mandatory kisses on the cheek.

Karin: I was very satisfied because I could only train very little for three weeks [00:05:00] and that was actually ideal, a silver medal in the individual all-around.

Moderator: Jetzt muss ich Sie um den Kommentar bitten, denn Sie waren damals dabei.
Karin Janz: Olga Korbut, ist klar, braucht man nicht den Namen zu sagen. Sie hat eine sehr kesse Übung dargeboten, auch zu ihrem Körper, zu ihrer Art passend und noch mit einem hohem Schwierigkeitsgrad.
Moderator: Sie hat ja eher wie ein Lausbub gewirkt.
Karin: Ja, doch beginnend damenhaft werdender, wenn ich mir das erlauben darf.
Moderator: Ja, natürlich.
Karin: Mn sieht ja auch wieder die [00:00:30] Perfektion der sowjetischen, damals russischen, Ballettschule. Das war, glaube ich ein wesentliches Unterpfand, dass halt auch im Bodenturnen weiterhin diese hohen Leistungen geboten wurden.
Moderator: Sie wurde sehr schnell zum Publikumsliebling, weil sie klein war, weil sie graziös war und weil sie hier, deutlich zu erkennen, eine einfach auch hübsche und irgendwie auch lustige, fröhliche Bodenübung geturnt hat.
Karin: Allerdings wurde auch nicht versäumt, in den Monaten vor den Olympischen Spielen von [00:01:00] München viel Publicity zu sammeln in den USA und so weiter. Das war sicher ein gutes Pfand, um dann auch in München auf dieser Welle weitermachen zu können. Es war ihr aber auch zu gönnen, denn sehr schöne Übung.
Moderator: Sie war schon auch gut. Sie hat in diesem Moment die Führung im Achtkampf übernommen. Das ist ja immer ein bisschen schwierig dazustellen, weil hier ja an allen Geräten geturnt wird.
Karin: Voller Konzentration. Siehe, mein linker Fuß, wenn ich mir das erlauben darf zu sagen. [00:01:30] Ich habe nämlich eine sehr schwere Fußverletzung, drei Wochen rund vor den Olympischen Spielen gehabt und war teilweise nicht in der Lage, zu trainieren. Manche Elemente habe ich erst dort im Wettkampf das erste Mal wieder zeigen können, nach drei Wochen Pause und das war sehr belastend. Trotzdem waren die Sprünge bis auf den Stand noch zu tolerieren.
Moderator: Ja, das kann man wohl sagen. Sie haben in diesem Moment die Führung übernommen, denn zugleich gab es den berühmt gewordenen Patzer von Olga Korbut, die wir hier im Bild haben.
Karin: [00:02:00] Man sieht noch die Folgen. Das ist verständlich.
Moderator: Am Stufenbarren, an dem Sie jetzt sind.
Karin: Im Vergleich zu heute, nicht nur, dass die Räume viel weiter auseinander sind, ist es natürlich vom Schwierigkeitsgrad her nicht mehr das, aber das ist ja normal, die Entwicklung ging weiter. Ich habe versucht, sehr sauber alles zu turnen und war, glaube ich, auch für den Stufenbarren oder Stufenreck relativ gut begabt.
Hier eine Rolle oder eine Salto, der nach mir benannt wurde, aber mit dem linken [00:02:30] Fuß hängengeblieben. Waren halt doch Trainingsdefizite da. Zum Glück gestanden, und das muss natürlich von den Kampfrichtern berücksichtigt werden, dass ich da das Element, das schwierige, nicht so vollkommen ausführen konnte, wie man es erwartet.
Moderator: Das war trotzdem nur minimal. Hier haben wir Tourischeva.
Karin: Ja, mit einer wunderschönen Bodenübung, nehme ich an, wir werden es sehen.
Moderator: Denn Olga Korbut war zurückgefallen und die Entscheidung um Gold oder Silber im Achtkampf [00:03:00] musste jetzt fallen, bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt waren Sie ja noch vorne.
Karin: Ja, aber dieser Fehler, den ich da machte, halt hängengebliebenen Fuß, der war dann wahrscheinlich doch nicht–
Moderator: Selbst beim zweiten Mal hinschauen, haben, glaube ich, nur Sie den gesehen und natürlich die strengen Kampfrichterinnen und Kampfrichter.
Karin: Das war vielleicht sogar ein bisschen zu hören, das tat auch hinterher weh mit der Ferse, aus der Bewegung heraus auf den Holm zu kommen, ein bisschen schmerzhaft. Die Ludmilla hat sehr schön geturnt. Ich konnte sie übrigens vor einigen Wochen wiedersehen, als dieses Treffen [00:03:30] hier in München war, anlässlich dieser Olympischen Spiele, vor 25 Jahren. Das war besonders schön. Sie war mit ihrem Mann, Walerij Borsow, eingeladen.
Moderator: Da konnte man ja gleich zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen.
Karin: Ja, so ungefähr.
Moderator: Ich habe einen großen Unterschied festgestellt. Die eher noch kindliche Olga Korbut und dann zwei, Sie erlauben mir das zu sagen, “richtige Form” Sie und die Ludmilla, die da vorne gekämpft haben.
Karin: Sicher die Ludmilla noch mehr [00:04:00] als ich, auch mit ihrer sehr tollen Ausstrahlung. Ich würde sagen, die hohe Perfektion. Von den Schwierigkeiten her sicher noch ein bisschen besser möglich. Zum Schluss eine Mühle. Gut, aber auf jeden Fall gymnastisch ohne jeglich Fehl und Tadel. Die Bewertung damals, ich glaube, eine 9 oder so, die war sicher auch sehr berechtigt, und damit der Olympiasieg. [00:04:30]
Moderator: Es waren 9,9. Sie haben wirklich ein phänomenales Gedächtnis.
Karin: Nein, ganz so ist es nicht. Ich habe da ein kleines Büchlein und dieses habe ich herausgeholt. Ich habe mir damals ein paar Notizen gemacht und die in Vorbereitung auf diese Sendung einmal durchgeschaut, da konnte ich das lesen und gerade zum Einzelwettkampf.
Moderator: Da gibt es das erste Silber und die beiden notwendigen Küsschen auf die Wange.
Karin: Ich war sehr zufrieden, weil ich halt drei Wochen nur ganz wenig trainieren konnte [00:05:00] und das war eigentlich optimal, eine Silbermedaille im Einzelmehrkampf.

An Interview with Tourischeva

After the all-around competition, the East German newspaper Deutsches Sportecho printed an interview with Tourischeva.

​​Ludmilla Tourischeva (USSR)

The women’s all-around competition ended on Wednesday evening with a completely deserved success of 19-year-old student Ludmilla Tourischeva from Grozny; a quarter point separated the 1970 World Champion and 1971 European Champion from Karin Janz. After the awards ceremony, we asked her to give us a statement…

– How did you assess your chances after the team competition? You didn’t get over the four pieces of equipment without “wobbles.”

I haven’t felt particularly well over the past two days. But I kept telling myself: You have to win! And that helped me a lot.

– When was the decision made in the all-around competition?

I had silently hoped that I would be allowed to perform on floor last. And the draw actually turned out that way. Our strength is floor exercise, and I was pretty sure that I would pass my friend Karin. Which is what happened…

– Something about Karin Janz…

She is an excellent gymnast and a great comrade. I am firmly convinced that she will win at least two medals in the apparatus finals; I am thinking of the vault and the uneven bars. And I wish her these medals with all my heart.

– Do you have a “fear equipment,” an exercise that you particularly dread in the all-around competition?

No. Even when I started gymnastics in 1963, I was impressed by the diversity of this sport. Of course, you have certain strengths and weaknesses – but I love all the apparatus.

– What were you thinking about during the competition? Did you do the math and consider your chances?

To be quite honest: I often thought of my parents and my fellow students in Grozny. I didn’t want to disappoint them — because I’m sure they were also thinking about me during those hours.

Deutsches Sportecho, August 31, 1972

Ludmilla Turischtschewa (UdSSR)
Mit einem völlig verdienten Erfolg der 19jährigen Studentin Ludmilla Turischtschewa aus Grosny endete am Mittwochabend der Mehrkampf der Frauen; einen Viertelpunkt trennte die Weltmeisterin 1970 und Europameisterin 1971 von Karin Janz. Nach der Siegerehrung baten wir sie auf ein Wort…
– Wie beurteilten Sie Ihre Chancen nach dem Mannschaftskampf? Sie kamen ja nicht ohne „Wackler“ über die vier Geräte.
Ich habe mich in den zurückliegenden zwei Tagen nicht besonders wohl gefühlt. Aber ich habe mir immer wieder gesagt: Du mußt gewinnen! Und das hat mir viel geholfen.
– Wann fiel die Entscheidung im Mehrkampf?
Ich hatte im Stillen gehofft, am Boden zuletzt turnen zu dürfen. Und die Auslosung hat es ja tatsächlich so ergeben. Unsere Stärke ist nun einmal das Bodenturnen, und ich war mir ziemlich sicher, daß ich meine Freundin Karin noch überholen würde. Was Ja dann auch geschah…
– En Wort zu Karin Janz…
Sie ist eine hervorragende Turnerin und ein prima Kamerad. Ich bin fest davon überzeugt, daß sie im Gerätefinale mindestens zwei Medaillen holt; ich denk dabei an den Sprung und an den Stufenbarren. Und ich wünsche ihr diese Medaillen von ganzem Herzen.
– Haben Sie ein „Angstgerät“, eine Übung, die sie beim Mehrkampf ganz besonders fürchten?
Nein. Schon als ich 1963 mit dem Turnen begann, hat mir die Vielfalt dieser Sportart imponiert, Natürlich hat man gewisse Stärken und Schwächen — aber ich liebe alle Geräte.
– Woran dachten Sie während des Wettkampfs? Haben Sie mitgerechnet und Ihre Chancen erwogen?
Um ganz ehrlich zu sein: Ich dachte oft an meine Eltern und meine Kommilitoninnen in Grosny. Ich wollte sie nicht enttäuschen — denn auch sie waren sicher in diesen Stunden mit ihren Gedanken bei mir.

More on 1972

One reply on “1972: The Women’s All-Around Final at the Munich Olympics”

I love that you put this together! It’s nice to read and see an analysis of the entire competition.

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