Elena Mukhina and Gennady Kryssin
Winners of the Moscow News-78

Moscow News, #14, 1978   The combined women's title was won by 18-year-old Yelena Mukhina, from Moscow, a first-year student at the Institute of Physical Culture, after a gruelling and tense battle against Maria Filatova.  We talked to Yelena right after her appearance on the dais to collect her award, and she was still excited and all caught up in the competition:

Q: Did you think you would win?

A: I really can't give you a definite answer.  I knew that my principal rival would be Masha Filatova, the World Cup holder and USSR overall champion, and that finishing ahead of her would be a really tall order.  I realized I had to concentrate all my strength.  The competition showed that I had to put all I had into it (after two events the two were tied -- Ed.).  These competitions are brief (only a voluntary program -- Ed.), and no mistake, even a tiny one, is pardonable.  I finished with my favorite events: the floor exercises and the beam, which I won at the European championship.  Only when I was standing on the dais did I feel that I had the title wrapped up.

Q: What are your impressions of the competition?

A:  This competition has always been a very exciting one, and the proof is this year's new names and technical innovations. I liked the American girls, who seem to have a "face" of their own in gymnastics.  Their routines were not very complicated but by 1980 they will be.  So the Americans are going to be serious rivals.  I am getting ready for the Moscow Olympics.  I have to iron out all the technical difficulties by 1980, but still keep my program fresh and vibrant.

Twenty-year-old Gennady Kryssin, a Moscow student, has won his first Moscow News international competition title.  Although he is the proud possessor of a silver medal for the team performance at the Montreal Olympics, his only other international win was at a competition in France.  Asked why he chose gymnastics, he said that when he was a fifth-year pupil (in 1969) he went to the Moscow Young Pioneer Palace and signed up for the gymnastics group. 

"I came...and stayed," he said, "because I liked the coach, Vitaly Belyayev.  Even now I'm still being coached by him and his pupil Yevgeny Senev.  Misha Voronin was also there, training under Belyayev.  It was wonderful to watch this famous gymnast, who was strikingly handsome and elegant, on the apparatuses.

Q: What do you think about the results of your performance?

A: I was "up" for the meet, and knew my chances.  This was my third appearance at the Moscow News competitions -- I was here in 1975 and 1977.  As they say, it was about time to win.  I want to point out that the overall level of performance has gone up.  Some of the elements were just a whim of the imagination several years ago.  One gets the decided impression that the basic aim of the participants is the Olympic Games that will be here in Moscow in a couple of years.

Q: What are your plans?

A: Educationally -- to complete my third year at the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture.  In sports -- to be selected for the USSR team for the world championship in October.  I do have one dream though -- a team victory over the Japanese.  The last time we finished ahead of them was 18 years ago.  We'll do our best to capture the top spot at the coming meet.

This page was created on September 26, 2001.
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