It Turned Out to be a Difficult Finish

Tblisi, March 5, 1976. The 42nd USSR Championships in gymnastics has named its first winners. In the women's competition, Dinamo-1 won the team title. Medals went to E. Saadi, L. Builova, M. Lev, S. Kudinova, L. Yudina and N. Shaposhnikova. Gymnasts from Burevestnik took the silver, and Spartak took the bronze.

E. Saadi is leading going into the all-around final.

Dinamo broke away from its rivals in the compulsory round by almost two points, so they entered the team finals with an easy margin. But the team competition is always full of surprises. Although all teams performed well in the optional phase, the gymnasts from Burevestnik reduced the gap bit by bit. After the second rotation, they were behind by 0.65 points, and after the third rotation by only 0.25 points. Dinamo team captain Elvira Saadi made a significant contribution in the form of high scores in each rotation.

A lot depended on the performances of the 8th grader from Rostov-on-Don, N. Shaposhnikova. One of the shortest gymnasts in the competition, Natasha, a student of Vladislav Rastorotsky, made a good impression in her senior debut. Her program wasn't the most difficult, nor was her performance quality the best, but Shaposhnikova has talent and character. No doubt that in Tblisi we are witnessing the birth of another very promising gymnast.

Svetlana Grozdova (Rostov) scored a 10.8 for her beam routine. No, this is not an annoying typo. We have already mentioned an experiment with the women to encourage the execution of very complex and original elements. A special table of allowances was introduced that allows the judges to add extra tenths to a gymnast's score. Since Grozdova's routine contains so many difficult and unusual elements, this is why she got such an amazing score. Her routine was magical. We can safely assure you that nothing like this has ever been seen before in the world of gymnastics. Coach R. Lavrov has created a unique composition where each movement of his pupil sparkled. No words can convey the feelings that were experienced during her short performance. Yes, it had to be seen!

Here's the reason the gymnasts of Burevestnik nearly caught up with Dinamo. They had Maria Filatova of Leninsk-Kuznetsk, whose program had a record number of complex tricks. On floor exercise, she scored 10.05 points. It is clear that only her complexity of moves allowed M. Filatova to move up from 11th after compulsories to fifth after optionals. In the all-around finals, she may even finish higher if she has no major errors.

About this new experiment, it should be mentioned that it was not carefully prepared and some of its provisions are vulnerable. Is it necessary or worth it in the Olympic year to encourage our female gymnasts to approach the new frontier of complexity? It is making the already uneasy and nervous process of selecting candidates for Montreal even more full of anxiety. The results of this experiment should be applied mainly to those who are preparing for the next Olympics.

Technical Results
Women, sum of compulsory and optional programs

1. E. Saadi (Dinamo) - 76.25 (9.5, 9.65, 9.4, 9.7)
2. O. Koval (Zenit) - 75.95 (9.4, 9.8, 9.65, 9.8)
3. S. Grozdova (Armed Forces) - 75.8 (9.1, 9.7, 10.8, 9.5)
3. N. Kim (Spartak) - 75.8 (9.45, 9.8, 9.8, 9.45)
5. M. Filatova (Burevestnik) - 75.65
6. E. Primak (Burevestnik) - 74.6

1. Dinamo - 372.9
2. Burevestnik - 372.2
3. Spartak - 367.85
4. Armed Forces - 367.75
5. Zenit - 363.75
6. Trud - 362.45