• Short Summary

    Gymnastics--and at the world championships in Fort Worth, Texas, gymnasts from the Soviet Union have swept the board.

  • Description

    GV Dimitria Turner of Romania performing on vault

    GV Yanong May of China on uneven bars

    GV Maxi Gnauk of East Germany on uneven bars

    GV Verna Cerna of Czechoslovakia on the beam

    GV Emilia Eberle of Romania doing floor exercises

    Initials IW/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Gymnastics--and at the world championships in Fort Worth, Texas, gymnasts from the Soviet Union have swept the board. By the final day of the event on Sunday (9 December) Soviet competitors had won twice as many medals as their closest rivals--the United States. The Japanese were also toppled from their position of supremacy in the men's team championships, a position they have held for the last 20 years.

    SYNOPSIS: This gold medal-winning performance on the vault was given by Romania's Dimitria Turner. In this unusual event, the gymnast does not perform a routine--instead she runs to the horse and vaults over it in various body positions.

    China has a rising gymnastics star in Yanhong May. Despite her youth and lack of experience in world-class competitions, she shared a gold medal in the finals. Here she performs on the uneven bars. Overall, the Chinese women finished fourth in the championships, and their men fifth.

    Sharing the gold medal with yanhong May was East Germany's Maxi Gnauk. In this event--the uneven bars--the female gymnast must move swiftly and powerfully, using a predominance of swinging moves from the hands. As the gymnast moves around, between, over and under from bar to bar, relatively few contacts with the bars can be made with parts of the body other than the hands.

    The only woman gymnast from Czechoslovakia to win a medal was Verna Cerna. And for her performance on the beam it was a gold. Margins for error in this event are slim as the working surface is only a few inches (centimetres) wide. It takes an exceptional athlete with great concentration and control to perform a complex exercise of dance, balance, flexibility, leaps, acrobatics and tumbling. All this has to be completed within a time of 75 to 90 seconds--and without faults.

    The World Championships in Fort Worth was the biggest event in the history of gymnastics. Men and women representing 33 countries competed for world championship titles and the honour of performing in the 1980 Olympics. This was the first time the world championships had been held in the Western Hemisphere.

    Romania's Emilia Eberle won a gold medal for this performance in the floor exercise event. In this event, grace and beauty are combined with the aggressive power of complicated athletic tumbling.

    The Romanian team were badly hit by the loss of Nadia Comaneci--the star of the Montreal Olympic Games. She was taken to hospital for an operation on an abscess on her hand earlier on in the championships. But Emilia Eberle's graceful performance went a long way to make up for the absence of Miss Comaneci.

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