Meet the Inventors

1975 USSR Sport Calendar

Korbut Loop. After the Munich Olympics, all gymnastics fans remember the name of a new element on uneven bars which was performed for the first time by Olga Korbut. The little girl with bows in her hair "suddenly" jumped from the top bar, made a great revolution in the air and at the last minute grabbed hold of the top bar again. The audience sat in a daze for a few seconds, and then burst into a storm of applause.

Who came up with this spectacular item? Renald Ivanovich Knysh, Olga's coach. It would seem that in gymnastics the athletes demonstrated a lot of original elements. Is it possible to invent something new? Knysh says it is. And he has proved it. He thought about this puzzling trick for a long time, and Olga rehearsed it for four years before showing it in a competition. And when Korbut debuted it at the national championships before the Olympics, experts wondered: what should this wonderful element be called? "Flack?" "Salto?" "Big Turnover?" Then they decided: "Korbut's flight" on behalf of its first performer.

In gymnastics, new elements are generally named after the first performer. There is an international classification of gymnastics elements on each apparatus, with each element having its own description and terminology. They are such: Tsukahara vault, Yamashita vault, Burda pinwheel, Diomidov pinwheel, Voronin flight. Now, the Korbut Loop and Korbut Salto have been added.

Korbut Salto. The narrow strip of the beam is 10 cm wide. Naturally, any person with athletic training will be able to walk on such a beam. But performing pirouettes and high leaps requires complex equilibrium, and these 10 cm. seem to be thinner than a knife blade. Performing a cartwheel, a turning leap, or a split leap is not easy and requires years of training.

A few years ago, when gymnasts began to perform a flick-flack on the beam and forward somersaults without using their hands, it seemed that the limits of difficulty had been reached. But at the Olympic Games in Munich, Olga Korbut did something fantastic - a back salto! This element is hard for gymnasts to do on the floor mat...and here it was performed on the beam. However, few people know that Larissa Pirogova performed this trick for the first time in 1968, at a youth competition in Donetsk. Olga Korbut used this trick at a senior competition in 1969, at the USSR Championships in Rostov-on-Don. By the way, the gymnastics world became acquainted with the element for the first time at the 1970 world championships. But Korbut was the reserve on our team then.

Burda Turn. At the 1967 People's Spartakiade of the USSR merited coach Yuri Eduardovich Shtukman, trainer of well-known gymnasts Tamara Lyukhina and Irina Pervushina, walked into the Luzhniki Palace of Sport with a mysterious and sly smile. Some people know that Shtukman's student, 14-year-old school girl Lyuba Burda, was taking part in her first Spartakiade. Shtukman promised to surprise the spectators with the unusual program from a young school girl.

Lyuba Burda's presentation was sensational. Her "scary" element on the uneven bars made the same long-lasting impression as the Korbut Salto did in Munich. Now imagine a gymnast on the top pole followed by a swing down and a "shoot" with a rotation of 540 degrees!

So yet another new element was entered into the international gymnastics classification under the name of its first artist - "Burda Turn."

Diomidov Turn. At the 1966 world championship in the West German city of Dortmund, Soviet gymnast Sergei Diomidov performed a new element on parallel bars. Initially, even the judges did not understand the intricate element that he performed. After the competition, they scrolled the video. And they understood: the element was unusually precise, and any deviation from the body's "course" of movement would result in frustration.

While in a handstand, the gymnast makes a strong swing forward. Everything thinks that a back salto [back toss] will follow. But, no. The gymnast releases one hand at the high point, makes a nearly 180-degree turn, and returns to his original position once again. It's a very showy element!

Experts called it the "Diomidov Spin." And Sergei Diomodiv was awarded a gold medal for his parallel bars routine. Later, this move was used by Vladimir Klimenko and the Japanese Sawao Kato. But Diomidov still performs it the best.

This page was created on April 6, 2012.
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