Turnen, 7/83

The 1982 GDR Championships have proven once again that the 18-year-old Berliner Maxi Gnauck is by far the best female gymnast in our country. But behind her, a whole series of young hopeful gymnasts are in the spotlight. Among them is Diana Morawe from Dresden. She finished sixth overall and qualified for three event finals, but came away empty handed. Thus, she remained well below her potential and clearly behind her expectations. It was less about the difficulty in her routines and more about the required stability and security. The good assets were clearly visible: "The Championships should characterize our starting position for 1983. Many new elements were tested, and therefore the lack of consistency, expecially by the younger gymnasts, is quite normal to see. For example, Diana Morawe," said national trainer Hannelore Sauer.

New gymnastics fans should know that Diana Morawe is not only a household name since the Championships. Last year she already competed with success at the Chunichi Cup tournament in Japan. There, she finished second in the all-around and took third place on uneven bars. In a subsequent finals competition in Tokyo, she won her "speciality" floor exercise. This is her biggest victory to date.

The 14-year-old began gymnastics in Gorlitz. "I was unruly at home and my mother simply took me for gymnastics. She was a practice manager at the gymnastics center, so from her I learned the ABCs of gymnastics," said Diana

Today, Diana is a gymnast who's very spirited, loves to take risks, has lots of courage for new things, and big ambitions. She knows exactly what she wants and trains accordingly. This is reflected in her routines. For example, her floor has nice choreography to lively music, a difficult whip to double back somersault and a 1.5 front flip to prone position. And she has just as much difficulty on the other apparatus. As an example, she vaults a Horide and performs a Jager salto from a front giant on uneven bars.

"A world-class routine must be peppered with high difficulty, or else you can't have much success internationally. And I think in terms of difficulty, the limit is far from being achieved. The women can borrow many elements from men's gymnastics on uneven bars, for example, like flight elements or maybe even one-arm giants," says Diana

The problem remains for her in the optional exercises: a lack of stability and balanced synthesis betewwn difficulty, virtuosity and expressiveness. Many young gymnasts have this problem. "Of course, a 14 or 15 year old can show excellence. But I think it's reached at 17 or 18. Maxi Gnauck is the best example. Her gymnastics used to be just difficulties, but now she is much more expressive."

Diana Morawe's sports heroes are Maxi Gnauck and Natalia Shaposhnikova. "The two combine what I think makes a world-class gymnnast. Difficulty yet technically perfect, clean gymnastics, expressive, speed, jumping power and originality."

She wants to do gymnastics together with Maxi on the 1984 Olympic team. That's her big objective. "This appointment [to the Olympic training squad] is a great honor. I want to justify it with good performances in the pre-Olympic year,"says Diana. She is quite capable of it. And it would be desirable, as well, because in order to compete internationally in the future, the team needs another gymnast in the same class as Maxi Gnauck.