Second International Gymnastics Competition

Moscow News, #15, 1975  Kim or Gorbik?  That was the only question -- 17-year-old Kim or 15-year-old Gorbik (USSR).  They were clear favorites.  N. Kim, 1974 world champion (team scoring), second prize winner of the recent USSR Cup contest, and Gorbik, who won last year's international tournament in Riga.  Both girls are on the USSR team and the main contenders for the Montreal Olympics.

Having taken the lead with the first exercise, they never allowed anybody else to join them at the top.  Kim performed with somewhat greater concentration and precision and won with a very high overall score -- 38.3.  Gorbik followed close on her heels with 38.05, and Olga Koval, also from the USSR, placed third, one point behind at 37.05.  The best visiting girl gymnast was Heike Gehrisch (GDR) who placed sixth in the overall championship with 36.8. 

For individual exercises Gorbik and Kim had equal scores on the floor and asymmetrical bars.  Kim topped the beam and Koval in vault.  Only Ann Szommer from Hungary took home the bronze medal for the asymmetrical bars.

But regardless of results, the girls showed us a host of breathtaking and intriguing exercises.  Larisa Latynina and Lidiya Ivanova, trainers of the Soviet women's and girls' teams, were kept very busy taking notes.  One of the merits of the tournament is that it offers a chance, in the atmosphere of a high-caliber unofficial international competition, to try out ideas and to see how you relate to others.  If it is a fine schooling even for the famous Kim, then how much more so for the 12-year-old Judit Moldvay from Hungary -- though she seemed quite at home with the pomp and excitement of this major international contest, as her results -- 13th out of 49 -- showed.  The performance of Ann Carr (USA), who placed 8th in the overall contest, was noteworthy.  Carr was still in the running for gold medals in three events on the second day.  But on the whole, the girls from the "Gymnastic Pool" -- the USSR, the GDR, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Hungary -- did better this time, too, than any other country.

The competitions were opened by a gala parade and then Yakov Lomko, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the tournament and Editor-in-Chief of Moscow News, welcomed the gymnasts and spectators.  Before the competition started, representatives of Moscow factories and schools who have branches of societies for friendship with foreign countries presented token gifts to the respective teams.

Lesson for the Young.  Specialist forecasts were uniform -- only Japan and the Soviet Union would be in the running for the main prize.  The USSR began doing the floor exercises and took that hurdle successfully.  Their best man was V. Tikhonov (9.4), a last minute substitution for Olympic and world champion N. Andrianov who had injured his knee.  In the first exercise -- long horse -- the Japanese men could have been more accurate in their landings.  World champion S. Kasamatsu scored 9.35.  Two exercises over, V. Dityatin, 17-year-old winner of the USSR Cup, and Kasamatsu took the lead.  Both did remarkably well on the pommel horse and parallel bars and each scored 9.6, the highest of the day.

The young blood in Soviet and international gymnastics made their contribution to the general trend of packing programs with super-complex exercises.  This fresh breeze keeps the veterans on the alert.

A lesson in presence of mind came from 26-year-old Klimenko.  After three events he was fourth behind Dityatin, Kasamatsu and Tikhonov, and W. Thune (GDR) and B. Puskas (Hungary) were close on his heels, trying to cut into the USSR-Japan rivalry.  After the pommel horse, Klimenko vaulted to second place, still behind Kasamatsu by a margin of 0.35.  Unfortunately, Dityatin's and Krysin's nerve gave out.  Tikhonov still clung to the leading group.  Kasamatsu lost the argument he had with the pommel horse (9.15) and Klimenko made an all-out attempt to close the gap.  The cameramen turned to the horizontal bar and rings -- the apparatus where Klimenko and Kasamatsu began their performances concurrently.  So far their scores were the same.

Kasamatsu came up to the platform as Klimenko began his horizontal bar program.  He watched Klimenko jump down and, without waiting for the referees to announce the result, began his own exercise.  However, the world champion was unable to contain his excitement, and an error barred him from confirming his record of the world's best.  He was pushed into second place by a margin of 0.4.

Klimenko won the main Moscow News prize again, with a total score of 56.45.  This time, as Klimenko himself acknowledged, it was hard going.  "I spent as much effort as if it were world championships or the Olympic Games," he said.  Then followed Tikhonov with 55.5, Dityatin 55.45, Kume 55.40 and Kajiyama (both Japan) 55.35.  A similarly keen struggle developed among the reserves of the world's two leading teams.

Visitors and Hosts Share the Medals.  The judges were most demanding in the finals.  Nothing short of extremely difficult exercises in a combination could give a gymnast the full 10 points.  While Tikhonov on the floor performed without the slightest hitch (even his trainer G. Rastorotsky, a man of few words, said "well done") and Dityatin rode the pommel horse in style, and Klimenko won the hearts of the judges by his swings on the rings and a perfect dismount, the visitors were clearly better on the parallel bars, the horizontal bar and long horse.

Kasamatsu was obviously the best man on the parallel bars, which compensated for his mishap at the world championship.  J. Tabak and A. Tannenberger (Czechoslovakia) did excellently in the long horse, though Tannenberger had to share the second-third places with R. Barthel (GDR).  T. Kume (Japan) carried the audience with him in his elegant performance on the horizontal bar (here Japan is traditionally strong) and crowned his combination with a breathtaking dismount that earned him a standing ovation.  The referees were of the same opinion and gave him first place.

The competitions are over and the gymnasts are going home.  We the sponsors hope they will all remember these few days in Moscow.

This page was created on August 3, 2001.
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