Turnen, 10/84

The Olomouc gymnastics competition, one of the international competitions of the Czechoslovak Spartakiade, needs to be given a special place in history even if its future results are not immediately at hand, as are the other high points of world gymnastics. But Olomouc was a high point for the enthusiastic international audience present in the stadium. In this regard, our friends in the CSSR hosted a successful event, which it organized wonderfully with only 2 months of preparation.

The gymnasts of the USSR were the most outstanding among squads from 11 countries. For the last time they competed the compulsories, and their performance in the optional exercises exceeded all expectations. They won both the team and AA titles (Bilozerchev and Mostepanova). Dmitri and Olga performed the unique feat of performing 18 or 12 exercises without a single blunder. This is unparalled in the history of great world gymmnastics.

The teams of the GDR returned from Olomouc's Winter Stadium with respectable results. DTV Secretary General Klaus Heller praised the high morale and cooperation with situations where everything did not go according to plan. There was, for example, a situation in the team competition when Silvio Kroll had errors on pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar. Or because Maxi Gnauck crashed in the all-around finals on a Tkachev, hurting her leg and challenging the 3-time world champion to find all her courage to continue.

With 4 gold medals in the apparatus finals, things turned out well. Maxi brilliantly and with a sophisticated bars "lecture" performed a Tkachev and her Gnauck release: 10! Maxi's high point ("and for me, the highlight of the entire Spartakiade," said Vera Caslavska, former world and Olympic overall champion from the CSSR) was her floor exercise with never-before-seen choreography, performed with femininity and height in her three tumbling runs. It is second to none in the world.

And Roland Bruckner: for his courage to perform a piked Tsukahara for his third and final tumbling pass on floor was awarded a 9.9. And Silvio Kroll: finally, finally, he came through - 10 on vault during the team competition, 10 for the first vault in event finals (front pike with half turn) and 9.9 for the second (full-twisting layout Tsukahara). Both had perfect landings, just the wayKlaus Koste performed his vaults 12 years ago in the Olympic finals. Klaus was an eyewitness in Olomouc and helped Kroll mentally, the same as Angelika Hellmann helped with Maxi's "Porgy and Bess" floor routine.

Olomouc Notes

Flowers: A special attraction in the Winter Stadium were the vases and bouquets of beautiful flowers, designed by Stefka from the Sempra Gardening Combine. Primarily, the gladioli with palm leaves won the unqualified applause from all the guests and spectators.

GDR Sign: The GDR sign was carried by 9-year-old Barbara Cermakova, an avid gymnast at the Lokomotiv training center in Olomouc. Sign carriers (she was the youngest) had been chosen from training centers all over the CSSR.

Helpers: The hard-working organizers at Olomouc had the help of a girls' gymnastics team who had represented the CSSR at the Junior Friendship Tournament a few weeks earlier in Trnava. Between competitions, they cleaned mats with vacuums and other appliances. Among them was Martina Polcrova, third on uneven bars.

World championship podium: Under the direction of former CSR rings champion, 50-year-old Oskar Vrbensky, the podium that was installed in Olomouc three days before the official start of training had arrived from Budapest, where it had been used at the 1983 World Championships. It took 10 men to install it properly and accurately.

Computer: The agricultural cooperative JZD Slusovice received wide recognition for the computer they presented to the organizers. FIG president Yuri Titov said that full and precise results were available in 4 minutes after the completion of each rotation. "In Los Angeles, it wasn't as fast," he said laconically. And this, too: "The competition in Olomouc is the event of the people; it's beautiful and successful without being a business. It was done for beauty and not for money."

Trip: A trip for the 146 accredited journalists and photographers and members of the FIG Technical Committee led to the agricultural cooperative JZD Stepanov, where they were welcomed by the sports-loving manager, Chairman Frantisek Axmann. He told us later that his cooperative maintains very close relations with the LPG Steinhausen cooperative in Wismar, particularly vacation and sports delegation exchanges. Among the guests were Olympic champions Ludmila Turischeva, Vera Caslavska, Boris Shakhlin and Yuri Titov.


Our overview (below) of those rare and unique elements, which were presented on the Olomouc stage in comparison to the 1983 world championships in Budapest. It is a first, still incomplete, list.


Floor Exercise: Tsukahara piked in the third pass (Roland Bruckner/GDR); break-dance combination (Jesus Rivera/CUB)

Rings: Double front somersault tucked with half twist (Yuri Balabanov/USSR); double front somersault with 1.5 twists (Jens Fischer/GDR)

Vault: Cartwheel, side salto to sideways landing (Israel Sanchez/CUB)

Parallel Bars: 1.5 straddled salto forwards to support and sink to L-hand (Li Chol Hon/PRK); giant to Diomidov (Balabanov/USSR)

High Bar: Tkachev, Tkachev, Deltchev (Li/PRK); counter pike with full turn to hang (Casimiro Suarez/CUB); Layout Jager salto (Ulf Hoffmann/GDR, Holger Behrendt/GDR, and Balabanov/USSR)


Vault: Layout Yurchenio with 1.5 twists (Elena Shushunova/USSR); Cartwheel, quarter turn to piked front salto (Franka Voigt/GDR)

Uneven Bars: Roundoff, back salto over the lower bar to kip (Birgit Senff/GDR)

Beam: Scissors (Voigt/GDR, previously performed by Tracee Talavera/USA)

Floor Exercise: Double layout (Jana Labakova/CSSR and Astrid Heese/GDR, previously performed by Mary Lou Retton/USA)

Winning Votes

Leonid Arkaev (USSR): "In view of the 1985 world championships in Montreal, this time we have given younger gymnasts their first big chance. Unfortunately, we could not use Yuri Korolev in Olomouc, because he suffered from the news of the death of his father. Our team took some time to get over this phychological shock. But the satisfactory performance of my six gymnasts gave us a lot of courage for the 1985 worlds."

Andrei Rodionenko (USSR): "We have prepared for the CSSR Spartakiade just like any other high-level competition. My gymnasts had little mistakes at first, but they got better as the competition went on. Elena Shushunova is a great talent who is ready for the 1985 world championships, as is Mostepanova. Olga has one excellent competition after another."

Dmitri Bilozerchev (USSR): "For my part, I can say that I have done all I could despite problems with both knees. In spite of this, my training has not been stopped, only reduced. But I hope for the audience that they were not disappointed with my performance. Of course, comparisons are lagging, but I preformed in Olomouc like I did in Budapest. Only this time, I didn't make an error during compulsory parallel bars. So there was some improvement from me."

Olga Mostepanova (USSR): "I think that I have never performed so well in the all-around ever before. There's a moment when one feels himself to be the happiest person alive. But shortly, hard training begins again. I fought a great battle with Natalia Yurchenko. She wasn't angry at me for beating her. She didn't cry. She never cries. She came to me and said only one word: 'molodets.'"

Maxi Gnauck (GDR): "The audience was very loud. During compulsories, I could barely hear my floor music, but as an athlete this is something you have to get through. As for my 3rd place all-around despite a fall from the bars, I have just one comment: a medal is a medal. About the fall on the Tkachev, I made a technical error. I pulled my arms in, instead of extending them. After winning 2 events here, I can only say that I can participate in my fourth world championships in 1985. I still have enough power and tempo and high somersaults."

Roland Bruckner (GDR): "The first 10 of my life led to my final victory on floor. Under the circumstances, this is the best result. I had to fight a long time to work up the courage to do a piked Tsukahara as my final tumbling pass. Now I consider myself lucky, because I'm 28 and the oldest gymnast here."

Silvio Kroll (GDR): "Expectations were very high, and I tried to have very good results. Unfortunately, some things went wrong and I could not reach such optimal results as I had done in Budapest. But my vaults were perfect and showed that I can be ready with the appropriate concentration and exceptional results. In this hour of success, I also think back to my first gymnastics coach, Guido Janz, in Lubben. He awakened in me a passion for gymnastics, which is still very big and will probably always be that way."