The No. 1 Gymnastics Podcast in the Galaxy

225: 1992 Olympics Recap with Wendy Bruce (Commissioned)





This week’s episode is brought to you by Club Gym Nerd members: Nicole Langevin of Precision Choreography, Rebecca W., Alison S. Allison B., Mary Anne M., and Suzanne M. 

 Uncle Tim, Spencer,  Jessica and very special guest, 1992 U.S. Olympic medalist, Wendy Bruce Martin chat about the 1992 Olympics Games in Barcelona:

  • The pre-Olympic Climate:
    • How the end of the Cold War shaped the Games
    • The media pressure on Kim Zmeskal and the heartbreaking life of Svetlana Boginkaya after the 1988 Olympics.
    • Kim Kelly and the shadiest U.S. Olympic Team selection of all time. (6:00)
    • Wedgie-gate, was it fair to punish three athletes for ill-fitting leotards? (16:00)
    • Uncle Tim’s 1992 Code of Points and Competition Rules Quiz-Mageddon! (23:00)
    • The magic of the 1992 broadcast that included interviews with every controversial figure.
  • The Competition (42:00):
    • Compulsories that took our breath away and should we still have them? Exhibit A: Vanda Hădărean (ROM) or Gruneneva (Unified Team). Eastern Bloc beauty. 
    • The judging crack epidemic of 1992. Exhibit B: Christina Bontas’s 9.9 beam routine.
    • Kim Zmeskal fell on beam and the world didn’t actually end. 
    • The glory of North Korea, Kim Gwang Suk on bars. All praise the dear leader. 
  • Team Finals (1:02:00)
    • Kerri Strug’s family fashion. 
    • The Karolyi double back set on beam, AKA freeze in mid-air before flip. 
    • U.S. and Australian leotards. 
    • Why Wendy felt embarrassed of her bronze medal for too long. 
  • The All-Around Final (1:16:00)
    • Galieva-Gate
    • The most common skills of the quad and the routines that were way ahead of their time, like Tatiana Lysenko (Unified). 
    • Luisa Portocarrera (CAN/GTM), beam goddess. Watch it here.
    • Shannon Miller vs. Tatiana Gutsu showdown. Was the judging fair? We decide. (1:26:00)
  • Event Finals (1:29:19)
    • Tatiana Lysenko’s double twisting yurchenko vs. the world; the 1992 vault final
    • The Beam FinalLi Lu – press handstand to HEALY to arch pose! Pour out some Yang Bo. Lysenko’s backspin, Shannon Miller. One of the greatest beam finals of all time. 
    • The Bars Final: The bars medalists got air on the bars that were super close together. Lu Li got mega air and Kim Gwang Suk – TKATCHEV TO COUNTER KIM! WHAT?!
    • The Floor Final: Lavinia Milosovici’s Romanian tumbling greatness, Henrietta Onodi’s triple full, Gutsu’s split leg double layout, so much genius!
  • Shenanigans and the Legacy of the 1992 Olympics (1:43:05)
    • Steve Nunno’s motivational poster quotes
    • Bela Karolyi or Donald Trump quotes quiz. 
    • The training schedule for the U.S. Team. Yes, two-a-day practices. 
    • The new breed of positive coaches. (1:51:53)


  • Check out Wendy Bruce Martin’s company Get Psyched for mental catching or her blog that we love here.
  • Claudia Miller (Shannon Miller’s mom), wrote a book called, “My Child My Hero.” A gym nerd must-read.
  • Here is that Australian team 1992 compulsories leotard

    Australia aboriginal (?) inspired 1992 compulsory leotard


  • Join Club Gym Nerd here or commission your own episode. 
  • Buy one of our awesome shirts here.



GymCastic Itunes Icon stitcher-icon

Creative Commons License


Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 years ago

Kim Gwang Suk ran with the Olympic torch in North Korea for 2008. Picture of her here (complete with teeth!):

I miss the USSR
I miss the USSR
7 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

She\’s still at the forefront of fashion too I see. Great find!

Jenny Zaidi
Jenny Zaidi
7 years ago

She\’s grown!

7 years ago

I am going to listen to this tomorrow. Can’ t wait. I am in nostalgic gymnerd heaven. The 1992 olympics were my catapult into gymnerddom.

7 years ago

Can you please post a picture of those \’92 Australian leotards?

7 years ago
Reply to  Andrea

I think this is the one they’re talking about:
It’s seen pretty well around 1:10, at least given the quality of the older footage.

7 years ago

The Portocarrera beam routine was awesome. It\’s a shame the commentators didn\’t even notice while they were broing it up.

7 years ago

I am so flipping excited to listen to this!

Jack Matheson
Jack Matheson
7 years ago

Such a great podcast! Fell in love with Wendy Bruce. <3

Alison S.
7 years ago

Thank you so much for the episode! The lack of anything even close to resembling 180 on those splits causes me pain!

7 years ago

Re DTY in 1992: the soviets had been chucking these since the mid 80s. Shushunova had a beautiful one (YouTube has 1988 olympics podium training) that she rarely bothered competing. Supposedly, at least 3 soviets did them at some point during 1987 worlds! My YouTube research also found a gorgeous one done by Golea of Romania at 87 worlds. Granted, that was at a time when most of the yurchenko vaults done by anyone but the soviets were utterly terrifying, and the soviets routinely did insane difficulty for no reason (google Tuzhikova FX ??!). To me, the difference in 92 was that everyone else had clearly mastered the FTY and it had become about as exciting as NCAA vault of recent memory. Still, the open ended COP was still a ways away. The Amanar was still mostly pointless in 2000!

I miss the USSR
I miss the USSR
7 years ago

Sigh. This made me so nostalgic. I was a diehard fan in those days, traveling to Worlds and international meets. I got to see em all live…Milosivici, Miller, Lisenko, Yang Bo etc etc.

But you guys really did Kim Zmeskal a disservice in discussing Shannon Miller \”winning\” the trials. Technically she didn\’t and it was a big deal at the time. Kim had the highest (she won obviously) scores at US Nationals in 92 AND she had the highest scores at the trials event…BUT because Shannon was injured at US Nationals and only used her trial scores as 100% of her total she came in above Kim who had a combined total from Nationals and trials (40% and 60%). Scores at trials were inflated compared to Nationals so Kim got shafted. Bela tried to explain this to the media at the time but Nunno took it as a \”win\” and ran with it as a way of promoting his athlete as the best American…albeit based on a false technicality.

I had really hoped you guys would have discussed that. Please investigate (if you don\’t believe me) and do a correction. Nunno\’s nonsense still bothers me…even 24 years later!

I miss the USSR
I miss the USSR
7 years ago

This article mentions the kerfuffle over who scored highest and how Shannon technically came out ahead only because she didn\’t compete at Nationals.

Had Zmeskal not competed at Nationals (even though she was the winner) and counted 100% of her trials scores like Shannon, she would have officially won trials instead. It was highly unfair to Kim…but given what happened weeks later to Kim Kelly it seems to have been forgotten about.

Oh I\’m laughing because you probably think I\’m a fan of US gymnastics. I\’m not. I\’m not even American. I just hated hearing you guys gloss over the event without giving Zmeskal her dues.

7 years ago

I\’m approximately ten thousand years too late BUT, in rhythmic gymnastics they call clever little \”grace note\” or \”curliques\” done with the apparatus a mastery (and in fact these are required in the CoP) so maybe that could be borrowed and applied to fancy little embellishments that artistic gymnasts put on their moves?

7 years ago

It MUST be stated Kim Zmeskal won the team optionals…and in doing so….qualified to the AA Final. Too bad she couldn’t repeat that performance…

Jenny Zaidi
Jenny Zaidi
7 years ago

I\’ve been living in 1992 Olympics land since this podcasat. Enjoyed it so much. I\’ve just now finished watching the team competition, compulsories all the way through to the optionals. I\’ve always looked back on these games with nostalgia like everyone else for the high level of difficulty and execution, the total mastery by some gymnasts but now some different observations –
1. I had forgotten how steep the drop was from the top 4 teams to just about everyone else. The top 4 teams plus Onodi, Mitova, Umeh, Kim Gwang Suk and Luisa Portacarrero were the only ones who had a chance eve at any final
2. The advent of specialists has made things a lot more interesting
3. It so strange to watch through 2016 eyes and see routines with multiple mistakes score over 9.85
4. The judging is soooo much fairer now. So many great gymnasts were screwed. So many on up and coming teams deserved to be scored much more highly. So many gymnasts form \”big\” teams were overscored just because of what team they were from. Nowadays, Umeh would\’ve made the vault final, Portacerrero would\’ve made the beam final, one of the Aussies would\’ve made the bars final
5. All those nostalgic for the 10 should really watch the team competition all the way through and just see all the terrible scoring. It didn\’t differentiate properly, all the scores were bunched, compulsory deductions weren\’t taken just because the judges had painted themselves into a corner, having to give higher than the previous but too scared to give a ten. Henrietta Onodi did a great vault, handspring front half for a 9.950. Her second vault was higher, longer, had better form and a better landing and got 9.962. Made no sense.
6. Interesting skills: Ildiko Balogh from Hungary on beam did a round off layout immediate double back dismount!!

I loved hearing Wendy Bruce. I was a fan at the time but even moreso after hearing her.

Also, I\’d been trying to think of the name of a tinisica for months and hadn\’t been able to so thanks for that! (Couldn\’t even figure out what to google: \”cartwheel that turns into front walkover?\”!)

Other episodes

Join the club!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x