Best of GymCastic: 80’s Fight!

Aug 11, 2021 | Commissions, Podcast

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The greatest rivalries of the 1980s! This week, we have a commissioned episode from Club Gym Nerd member Kimo, who asked for an episode all about the 1980s rivalries between the Romanians and the Soviets, both team and individually. We are oh so happy to oblige!

Setting the scene

  • A history of Soviet dominance
  • Romania’s 1976 emergence
  • The 1977 Europeans Romanian WALKOUT!
  • The first great Romanian/Soviet rivalry—Nadia vs. Nellie and how it may or may not have influenced the future of gymnastics
  • Romania wins in 1979, the “Nadia Infected Wrist” worlds
    • The true story of Nadia’s fake injury and government control

The Rivalry

  • The 1980 Olympics of crazy judging
    • Nadia vs. Davydova and the case of the 30-minute delay
    • Nadia vs. Nellie and the case of the “computer malfunction”
    • Mukhina’s paralysis and the race for innovative difficulty
  • 1981 Worlds
  • 1983 Worlds
    • Innovation from an all-star Soviet team—YURCHENKO vaults, the SHISHOVA
    • Just fangirling about Mostepanova for a while
    • More fun with bonkers scoring
  • 1984 boycott gives us an opportunity to talk about China
  • 1985 Worlds
    • Soviet Union casually adds Omelianchik and Shushunova to its already stellar 1983 team
    • The Soviets were so deep that Shushunova placed FIFTH on her own team in qualification
    • The evolution of Romanian floor to be less “chicken dance” and whether it contributed to what happened next
  • 1987 and THE TIDE TURNS
    • Silivas wins the European AA title in Moscow, and the Soviets (gasp) fall
    • Romania gets its first world team title in 8 years
    • How the addition of Aurelia Dobre changed the game for Romania
    • Pro-Soviet bias in skill naming
    • Dobre vs. Shushunova vs. Silivas vs. Baitova vs. Omelianchik. This was no two-way rivalry
    • The 1988 Olympics and how timing is everything

FURTHER READING

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