Gymnastics Cup

Moscow News, No. 40, 1983   Yelena Shushunova and Alexander Pogorelov have won the 28th USSR Gymnastics Cup.

Nearly 150 gymnasts -- the pick of the best in Soviet gymnastics (except two of them) -- vied in Rostov-on-Don for this coveted prize.  The two allowed not to compete were Natalya Yurchenko and Dmitry Bilozerchev, the overall champions at the Tournament of Soviet Nations.  They got the right to compete at the world championship in Budapest (the Cup was the last seeding tournament before the championship) due to their excellent performance throughout the season.  Among their other victories is the winning of the main prizes at the traditional international competition sponsored by our paper, at which gymnasts from 31 countries competed.

The competition for being one of the six going to Budapest was really terrific (at the world championships the team has six members and one alternate).  The coaches will have some headaches trying to select the gymnasts for the national team before the championship begins in Budapest at the end of October.  The most probable nominees are Olga Mostepanova, Olga Bicherova, Natalya Ilyenko, Albina Shishova, Tatyana Frolova, Alla Mysnik and Yelena Shushunova; among men -- Yuri Korolyov, Vladimir Artyomov, Artur Akopyan, Bodgan Makuts, Alexander Pogorelov, Vladimir Artemyev and Stepan Martsinkiv.

This year the Soviet gymnasts did well at the more important competitions.  Yuri Korolyov and Natalya Yurchenko won the overall titles at the Universiade.  Dmitry Bilozerchev and Olga Bicherova won the overall European titles.  We, likewise, expect our gymnasts to do well in Budapest.

Moscow News, No. 41, 1983   The photos show Yelena Shushunova and Alexander Pogorelov who have just won the USSR Gymnastics Cup for the first time.

This year, Volgograder Alexander Pogorelov, 21, came third overall at the Universiade, sixth at the European championship, fourth at the national championship, and now this huge jump to victory.  Alexander and Artur Akopyan competed fiercely right up to the last exercise.  In the end Alexander won by just 0.1 of a point.  Vladimir Artyomov came third. 

Leonid Arkaev, senior coach of the men's national team, summing up the results of the Cup, said again that complexity should not damage stability and that everyone must keep their emotion under control.  However, his main comment was that "the team for the world championship looks strong with each gymnast being prepared to compete at the highest level."

The girls' situation is rather interesting.  Leningrader Yelena Shushunova, 14, won the Cup, but won't be able to go to Budapest because she will not be 15 by the time the world championship starts.  Therefore, we look forward to great things from her next year.

Yelena's "speciality" is, of course, the floor exercises.  At the Tournament of Soviet Nations, the content of her performance and the performance itself literally staggered the audience.  She came third overall of both the Tournament and the national championship.  But in the Cup competition she was trailing 0.25 behind Moscow schoolgirl Olga Mostepanova, until the final exercise.  Then came the floor exercises and the situation reversed -- Yelena received 9.8 points and Olga, only 9.3, so she came second overall.  Vera Kolesnikova from Voronezh was third.

The 1983 overall European champion Olga Bicherova's performance was rather surprising.  She did not even come in the top 6.  This can be explained by the fact that this was her first performance after recovering from an injury.  Let's hope that she will reach the required form in the two weeks left before Budapest.

This page was created on April 13, 2002.
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