Gymnastics: Youngsters Take Over

Sport in the USSR, October 1970   This year's national gymnastics championships caused a number of sensations in three events of the four contested.  Schoolgirls Lyudmila Turishcheva, Tamara Lazakovich and Olga Korbut beat the headline favorites to win first place.

Here is the comment of Galina Shamrai, an official of the USSR Gymnastics Federation and herself a gymnast of note in the past.

"A distinguishing feature of the national championship in recent years is the take-over of the veterans' positions by the younger generation.  The youngsters made a particularly good showing this time.  The girls achieved a high technical standard.  They were physically strong and were experts in the acrobatic fundamentals.  Finally, they were not afraid to tackle the most complicated exercises.

"In addition to this general comment, a few words about each of the three new champions.

"Lyudmila Turishcheva is older than the other two and has more tournament experience.  She was with the team that won the gold medal at the Mexico Olympics in 1968.  Lyudmila is a master gymnast, equally proficient in all exercises, but her forte is the parallel bars and free exercises.  At the national championships she won the highest rating -- 9.9 points -- for her combination to music by Dunayevsky.

"Tamara Lazakovich is making her debut with the national team this year.  I remember her performance on the beam 3 years ago.  Then 13, she was shy and her movements seemed restricted.  Now she is cool and confident.  She does not treat us to the 'spins' customary with our girl champions in the past, and she did not try to astound us with anything extraordinary.  Her strong point is the peerlessness and wide amplitude of her movements.

"Olga Korbut is also making her debut with the national team.  She is a tiny girl, and they have nicknamed her Tiny Korbut.  She is extremely persevering and works hard.  And she is not afraid of her rivals.  Her routine on the parallel bars includes combinations that are unique.  Olga also feels confident on the beam.  She does a somersault on the beam that other gymnasts cannot perform on the floor.

"I have mentioned only three of our young luminaries.  There are many more hopefuls, but these are the three who have won the gold medals of champion for the first time.

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This page was created on May 21, 2001.
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