Pogorelov and Mostepanova Win the USSR Cup

By Anatoly Ivanov

Moscow News, #27, 1984   As before, the main demand on gymnasts is to perform in a clear-cut and clean way.  At the 29th USSR Gymnastics Cup in Moscow the gymnasts treated the audience to triple somersaults, triple pirouettes, the most sophisticated acrobatics in floor exercises, flights over the horizontal bar, power exercises on the rings, hair-raising skills on the 10-cm-wide balance beam, technically complicated vaults and many other interesting components.

The complexity of the exercises increased because progress is impossible without it.  Let's remember, for example, how much talk there was during the early 1970s when Olga Korbut performed the backward somersault in tuck position on the beam.  The skeptics chanted in unison: "It's dangerous! It's extremely dangerous! It's only for individuals!"  And what now?  It is a routine element.  Many girls perform it and nobody condemns it any more, the same as other, even more complicated novelties.  On the other hand today's gymnastics is unthinkable without stable results, i.e., clear-cut and clean performances.

We can see evidence of this in the victory of Alexander Pogorelov (Moscow Region) for the second year running.  His uniform performance in the 12 exercises brought him the Cup.  At the same time Mikhail Kokorin, who led in 10 of the events, made a grave mistake (unfortunately, he wasn't the only one to do so) and fell back to 9th place.  All our best male gymnasts, except Bilozerchev, took part (Artur Akopyan dropped out of competition after the first two exercises).  Stepan Martsinkiv (Lvov) was the runner-up and Alexander Tumilovich (Vitebsk) came third.

Olga Mostepanova, 16 (Moscow), at long last achieved her coveted goal.  She did it at her third attempt.  In 1982 she was third, and in 1983 -- runner-up, and now she carried off the Cup.  Olga is 1983 world champion and performed well at quite a few responsible competitions.  However, this is the first time she has achieved success in such a major national competition.  And she had her work cut out, for competition from her mates from the USSR team was extremely stiff.  Tatyana Frolova (Bryansk) was the runner-up and Yelena Shushunova (Leningrad) the winner of the 1983 Cup, was third.

We must note the comeback of Natalya Yurchenko, the 1983 world champion.  She did not compete for 8 months because of an injury last October at the world championship.  She came back to the platform and was placed fourth.  This is not so bad after such a prolonged interval.

The very interesting friendship tournament is due in Czechoslovakia in August.  USSR gymnasts will be taking part in it together with athletes from many countries.


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