Bright Colors on the Podium
April 2, 1978 In the second day of the international gymnastics tournament for the prize of the 1978 Moscow News newspaper in the all-around competition for women, the sportsmen were divided into two groups. In the first round our young gymnasts (who distinguished themselves in last year's youth championships) competed out of competition -- Larissa Milovanova from Voronezh, Natasha Karamushka from Kharkov, Galina Ionas from Tallin, and Tatiana Arzhannikova, the country's youth champion. Of course, these girls demonstrated original exercises and showed that in the future they will continue to win victories for the Soviet "school" of gymnastics. Especially prepared were Arzhannikova and Karamushka: their cleanliness of execution was a little higher than the others, and their complexity was on the same level as our acknowledged leaders. But, unfortunately, none of them were able to avoid falls.
Among the foreign gymnasts, Zsuzsa Kalmar of Hungary was pleasing. This is a new name. Zsuzsa performs in nearly the same manner as our girls, with clean lines and a pleasing style. She led for three rotations but fell from beam. We also observed the Romanian gymnasts. Only one, Nicoleta Prisecaru, was impressive. Her floor exercise was pretty (9.2), but in this event our T. Arzhannikova was best (9.7).
For many years the Japanese women have attempted to reach the success of their men. But so far they have not been successful. Finally, here in Moscow arrived Nabuko Kasai. This girl stood out from her teammates. Here is a gymnast who is able to reach a degree of eminence. Kasai's routines approached world levels. But she still does not perform with stability.
The first group had many falls and mistakes. This explains why after the first group the leader was the Bulgarian Diliana Glucheva (36.45), and Korean gymnasts Kim Chun Sen (36.4) and Den Han Suk (36.25).
In the second group the fight was between two leaders -- Maria Filatova and Elena Mukhina. And here began high-class gymnastics! Vault: Filatova 9.7, Mukhina 9.75. On uneven bars Masha received the highest score of the day and performed her new combination perfectly (giant swing to salto) 9.85. And after two events Lena and Masha led -- 19.55.
Svetlana Agapova from Yaroslavl hasn't spoken her final word -- she won the last Chunichi Cup in Japan. Neither has Rhonda Schwandt from the USA or Silvia Hindorff from the GDR. The programs of these gymnasts were strong and colorful.
It's necessary to say that the American gymnasts were simply amazing. Linda Kardos and Merilyn Chapman were reminiscent of our best girls. This is good: stronger competition will lead to quicker progress on the world stage. Schwandt scored 9.7 on vault. Mukhina and Filatova on floor exercise received, respectivaly, 9.8 and 9.55.
It was a beautiful end to a beautiful evening.
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