6th International Gymnastics Competition
for the 'Moscow News' Prize

Moscow News, #14, 1979   Makuts Leaves Everyone Behind:  Soviet gymnast Bogdan Makuts, 18, overall winner of the 1st European junior championship (1978), took the lead confidently right from the outset and made it clear to all the rest that he wasn't going to let it go.  His performances were a bit more accurate, more elegant and more complex than anyone else's.  This youngster looks like he's going to be one of the good ones, and if he keeps coming along the way he has until now, he is a sure-fire Olympic team nominee.  His routines are adequately complex and up to the standard of what modern gymnastics demands.  His total in the combined exercises of the voluntary program was 57.55 points, while teammates Valentin Turbanov and Albert Anisimov, with 56.25 points, shared second and third place.  This all looks good for these two.

Gymnasts from abroad weren't really in the running for the top prize, although Delesalle (Canada), Japan's Kajitani (fourth overall), Han Gwan Son (DPRK), Roche (Cuba), Kovacs (Hungary), and Brylock (GDR) performed well in separate events.

Cuba's Roche did a "two and a half handspring," the first time ever this vault has been done at an official competition.  He received a tremendous ovation and was obviously pleased as punch.  He won the silver medal on the long horse and a special prize for an original vault.

Todorov (Bulgaria), Turner (Romania), Delesalle, Kiss (Romania, in three events), Han Gwan Son, Brylock, Kajitani and Roche were the visitors who were able to capture silver and bronze medals.

Clash of Two Temperments:  It was nip and tuck between Natalya Shaposhnikova and Stella Zakharova (both USSR) right down to the final moment.  Zakharova, who recently won the American Cup in the combined exercises, was a last-minute replacement for the well-known Maria Filatova.  Both Shaposhnikova and Zakharova were making repeat appearances in the competition, although neither of them had won it previously.  Yet this time they had it all to their own, as there wasn't very much competition from anyone else.

In the long run it was Shaposhnikova who caved into the pressure especially after seeing Zakharova's perfect 10 in the floor exercises.  Zakharova did everything flawlessly -- double somersault, and the complex link-ups -- synchronizing it perfectly with the music.  Then came the vault, in which this young lady excels (she is the national champion in the event).  Here Zakharova convincingly showed that she wasn't to be beaten, with 9.9 points to Shaposhnikova's 9.65.  Zakharova's total of 39 points (a very high score in the voluntary program) edged out Shaposhnikova (38.9), with the bronze going to the USSR's Yelena Davydova (38.55).

These were the top three in the overall.  As far as a general impression of the women's performance goes, it has to be first said that as with the men, the other countries didn't bring along their top people, i.e., gymnasts on the first national teams.  It could be that because there are so many big competitions this season, coaches are reluctant to show their hand.  Even so, we still saw a lot of promising young girls who could be seen at the 1984 Olympic Games.  And equally, it was obvious how overall standards differ from country to country.  The Romanians (A. Kiss was fifth overall) were the most successful, followed by the GDR, the USA and Poland.  The women from Vietnam, Mongolia, Portugal and Cuba have all noticeably improved.

Prizes awarded by several public organizations and gymnastics schools were presented at the closing ceremony to gymnasts from Morocco, Greece, Vietnam, Cuba, Romania, the DPRK, the USA, Japan, Canada, Poland and the USSR.

M. Ota, head of the Japanese delegation, presented a special prize awarded by the newspaper The Chunichi Shimbun to Stella Zakharova.

Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR Yevgeny Khrunov, Hero of the Soviet Union, the new Chairman of the USSR Gymnastics Federation, closed the event with best wishes of success to all the entrants in their sports, school and personal lives and invited them all back for next year's Moscow News Competition.

A Word from the Two Top Prizewinners

Bogdan Makuts:  These competitions were really important for me since they showed that I seem to be ready for the USSR Cup, the European championships, the Tournament of Soviet Nations and other competitions coming up this pre-Olympic year.  Of course, winning so representative a tournament gives an athlete confidence and lets him believe in what he can do -- things he really needs badly.

I am in my second year at the Physical Culture Institute, where my favorite subjects are physiology and languages.  After taking part in a competition like this one I really enjoy reading Moscow News.

  Stella Zakharova:  Two years ago I managed to win the vault at this same competition and at that time I decided that I would win the event the next year as well.  This year I was pretty sure I would do well as soon as I made my first appearance on the platform.  Before this competition I won the American Cup, but it was a lot harder to win here in Moscow because my toughest competition came from my teammates, who were in excellent shape, like world champions Natalya Shaposhnikova and Svetlana Agapova.  The Romanian and American gymnasts did very well.  I always keep a close eye on the Americans because their programs always have something entirely new.

This page was created on October 18, 2001.
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