At the end of 1972, many of the stars of the Olympics headed to Japan for a series of competitions, including the Chunichi Cup. Not surprisingly, most of the competitors were not as sharp as they were in Munich. This was particularly true of the Soviet women who had to do a tour in West Germany right after the Olympics.
But the Chunichi Cup did give some gymnasts the opportunity to shine. For example, Nina Dronova, an alternate for the Soviet team and the Chunichi Cup champion in 1970 and 1971, took silver.
The competition also gave gymnasts the opportunity to try out new skills. U.S. gymnast Joan Moore added a back tuck to her beam routine, a skill that only Korbut and her teammate Nancy Thies competed at the Olympics.
Here’s a glimpse of what happened in Nagoya, Japan.
Note: The competition was held over two days. On the first day, the gymnasts competed on rings, vault, and parallel bars. On the second day, they competed on floor, pommel horse, and high bar. That is why the results are not in Olympic order above.
Note: The competition was held over two days. On the first day, the gymnasts competed on beam and floor. On the second day, they competed on vault and bars. That is why the results are not in Olympic order above.
Notes on the Women’s Competition
Unfortunately, I have not uncovered a good summary of what happened in the men’s competition. Most newspapers reported the scores without any commentary.
There weren’t too many upgrades. Moore added a back tuck on beam, and Tourischeva botched an aerial cartwheel.
As the first evening’s competition progressed, it was obvious that none of the competitors were in the peak condition they were in at the Olympics. The girls were using basically the same routines as in Munich. Moore (Rice) has added a tuck back salto to her beam routine and Tourischeva was practicing a side aerial on beam, but missed it during competition and did a sloppy dive cartwheel.Gymnast, Feb. 1973
On the subject of Tourischeva…
A little about Tourischeva, she was not showing her World Champion form in this first meet, particularly because of gaining weight and because of very sore ankles. Her beam routine was solid, but not as spectacular as she had been practicing. She made many mistakes in tumbling during her floor exercise routine. She did a 1 ¼ twist, instead of her double and completely missed her arabian combination. She later told me she was about ten pounds heavier than in Munich, but the biggest factor was that none of the Russian girls had spent any time to speak of at home since the Olympics.Gymnast, Feb. 1973
The Soviet delegation felt that Tourischeva was underscored.
Karin placed first in the Chunichi Cup, and I feel rightly so, even though the Russians were a little upset that Tourischeva was not scored higher in several events.Gymnast, Feb. 1973
Dronova had some of the most difficult routines.
The other two Russians were a pleasure to watch. Burda used the same routines as in Munich, but fell on her bar routine and modified it for the remainder of the tour. Her floor and beam are beautiful because of the elegance of the arm and torso movements. Dronova is a very strong, powerful gymnast. She was heavy in this meet, and did not seem to care if she lost the extra pounds. She does beautiful twisting moves including a double in floor exercise and two sole circle one and a half twists on the uneven bars. Her beam routine contains an aerial front and twisting dismount.Gymnast, Feb. 1973
Reminder: The U.S. felt that Nagy, the newly elected president of the Women’s Technical Committee, had unfairly scored the U.S. gymnasts on beam in Munich.
A little about the judging. I [i.e. Karen Patoile] feel it was very fair. I, as well as Latynina was approached by Madame Nagy for not scoring the Hungarian girls as high as she did, but I honestly do not feel my scores were as low as she felt they were. And, during the course of the tour, she did ask me why I scored them as I did and she listened, which I felt was a good sign. She was also very open to why she scored our girls as she did and I passed this information on the Kim and Joan to help them understand their scores.Gymnast, Feb. 1973
The Americans tried to sneak food to the Soviets.
During this evening we spent some time with the Russian girls after attempting to smuggle them some food after they had been forbidden to eat beca use their t rainer felt they were getting too fat. It was a great opportunity to talk with the girls on a casual basis which we rarely could do previously. Their time was always occupied with training or other matters. They were rarely given time to themselves.Gymnast, Feb. 1973
Note: In case you didn’t notice, gymnasts’ weight, though long a topic of conversation, came to the foreground during the 1972 Olympic year. It was mentioned many times in the press coverage. For example, the Hungarian gymnasts were reportedly weighed two times per day.
The Program for the Event
More on 1972