Erika Zuchold

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Erika Zuchold
— Gymnast —
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L0422-0012, Erika Zuchold.jpg
Erika Zuchold in 1972
Personal information
Country represented  East Germany
Born (1947-03-19) March 19, 1947 (age 67)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Retired 1972

Erica Zuchold (née Barth; born 19 March 1947 in Lucka) is a former East German gymnast who competed at the European, World, and Olympic level from the mid-1960s to early 1970s.

She, along with Karin Janz, was one of the two most significant (in terms of medals won at major championships) female German gymnasts of her era, co-leading, with Janz, the East German team to both the Team Bronze at the 1968 Olympics and improving upon that, again with Janz, to win the Team Silver at the 1972 Olympics.

The highlight of her career came at the 1970 World Championships where she placed 2nd in the Individual All-Around behind the Soviet Ludmilla Tourischeva and returned to win Gold on both Vault and Balance Beam in event finals, the latter of which was a fairly controversial win over second-place American Cathy Rigby. Also, the period in-between the 1968 and 1972 Olympics saw Zuchold and Tourischeva being the only two gymnasts to win spots on the Individual All-Around podium at every European and World Championships during that time period (1969 Europeans, 1970 Worlds, 1971 Europeans).

Quite notably, Zuchold is credited as being the first woman to compete the flick-flack element on balance beam at a Worlds or Olympics, at the 1966 World Championships, as well as being one of the first two women, along with Věra Čáslavská at the 1968 Olympics, to compete a front handspring on balance beam.[1]

In her post-gymnastics career, she explored a number of diverse activities and careers, including being a trapeze artist, a curator, an educator, and an abstract painter.

In 2005, Zuchold was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

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