Before the Montreal Championships

Moscow News, #41, 1985    The USSR Cup and the national gymnastics championships in separate events were the final rehearsal for all the candidates to the USSR team which will go to the world championships in Montreal (Canada) on November 4-10.  Yelena Shushunova, winner of the 1985 USSR Cup, overall European champion, and Mikhail Voronin, 1966 overall world champion, comment here on the results of the competitions held in the Izmailovo Palace of Sport in Moscow.

"At the women's world gymnastics championships we'll be defending our world titles in both the individual and team scoring," Yelena Shushunova said.  "In Montreal, we'll face stiff competition, so we are not testing how well prepared we are for it.  I'm, of course, glad that I won the USSR Cup and three gold medals in separate exercises, but there's no way I'm going to take it easy now.  You see, I made mistakes.  For example, I fell off the beam.  Of course, that could be regarded as a chance occurrence, but as I see it, there is a certain measure of regularity in every accident.  It means I haven't trained well enough in some aspects.  There is still time to get rid of the shortcomings.  Only then will we be able to compete confidently in Montreal.

"At the recent competitions I performed a complex program.  On the whole, I'm satisfied with my performance, especially in the vault.  At the world championships I intend to do Yurchenko's vault with single and double pirouettes.  As for the other exercises, Viktor Gavrichenkov, my coach, and I expect to add some complex innovations to them.

"I'm glad for my teammates Anzhela Shchennikova and Irina Baraksanova.  They're progressing by leaps and bounds.  I think that performing together with such experienced gymnasts as the overall world champion Natalya Yurchenko and Olga Mostepanova, who won the 1984 Friendship contest, they will be quite up to competing for medals against the strong gymnasts from Romania, the GDR, the USA and the PRC.  In the individual scoring I expect stiff competition for the medals at the world championships from such well-known gymnasts as Ecaterina Szabo and Daniela Silivas from Romania, Hana Ricna from Czechoslovakia and the American Mary Lou Retton.

"The success of a team depends to a large extent on how confident its leader feels," Mikhail Voronin said.  "Dmitry Bilozerchev, overall world champion and USSR Cup winner, is a good leader in this sense.  He is calm and self confident.

"For example, before his performance on the pommel horse the judges spent a lot of time discussing the marks to be given to the gymnast who performed before him.  Usually this irritates a gymnast, causing nerves which might produce a mistake.  But Dmitry behaved as a real master and didn't fuss.

"His cool reserve and constantly progressing skill give us grounds to think that he is prepared and quite capable of defending his title as the world's best gymnast in the face of the stiffest possible competition.

"Valentin Mogilny also did very well at the tournament.  His gymnastics contain pure lines, so to speak, of a calligraphic nature.  He is elegant and original.  On top of that, he has a real fighter's disposition, a thing that many gymnasts often lack in spite of their high skill.

"Our other leading gymnasts, namely Vladimir Gogoladze, Alexander Tumilovich, Yuri Korolyov and Alexander Pogorelov, will have to train a lot in the remaining month to get rid of errors made at the latest competitions.

This page was created on October 19, 2001.
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