Natalia Yurchenko

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Natalia Yurchenko
— Gymnast —
Full name Russian: Наталья Владимировна Юрченко
Country represented  Soviet Union
Former countries represented Russia
Born (1965-01-26) January 26, 1965 (age 50)
Norilsk, Soviet Union
Hometown Russia
Height 155 cm (5 ft 1 in) (5'1")
Discipline Artistic gymnastics
Level Senior Elite Gymnast
Eponymous skills Yurchenko, Yurchenko loop

Natalia Vladamirovna Yurchenko (Russian: Наталья Владимировна Юрченко) (born January 26, 1965 in Norilsk, Russian SFSR) is a retired Soviet artistic gymnast, who was the women's all-around gold medalist at the 1983 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Renowned for her innovative and daring gymnastics, she is best known as the originator of the Yurchenko vault family, which is a round-off back handspring entry onto the vault, and then performing a series of twists and flips off.

Career[edit]

Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR, she was coached by Vladislav Rastorotsky at the Dinamo sports society in Rostov on Don. Her first international competition was the 1978 Junior Friendship Tournament, where she placed 5th all-around and won gold medals in the team competition and on bars. In the same year she debuted in the senior Riga International meet, earning the bronze on the floor.

The great series of successes began four years later, when she won the all-around title at the USSR Championships, USSR Cup, at the prestigious Moscow News tournament and the World Cup. Perhaps even more successful was the year 1983. She won almost complete gold medal complects (except the floor exercise) at the University Games and the USSR Championships. She also became the all-around World Champion, achieving two perfect 10s in the process.

At the Friendship Games in Olomouc, Yurchenko battled with Olga Mostepanova and managed to win the gold medal on the vault and in the team competition. In 1985 she once again won almost all events at the University Games (except vault and the balance beam) and contributed to the team's gold medal at the World Championships.

Eponymous Skills[edit]

Apart from being one of the strongest gymnasts of the 1980s, she originated such popular gymnastics elements as Yurchenko vault and Yurchenko loop. The Yurchenko family is now a group of vaults based on the entry she used in her original Yurchenko vault (a round-off onto the table, followed by a back tuck, which is currently worth 3.80 points in the 2013-2016 Code of Points).

Retirement[edit]

She retired from gymnastics in 1986, but made a surprise appearance at the World Professional Championships (Fairfax, VA) in 1991. In 1999 Yurchenko emigrated to the USA and coached there since that time. She coached at LVSA, a gymnastics club in Pennsylvania, for almost 9 years, at Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania and at Lakeshore Academy of Artistic Gymnastics in Chicago Illinios.

In June 2015, Natalia opened her own gymnastics academy in Chicago's South Loop. C.I.T.Y. Club Gymnastics Academy is the premier Chicago-based elite athletic training facility whose mission is to improve the lives of children and adults of all abilities from recreational to Olympic caliber through the sport of gymnastics.

Natalia currently lives in Chicago with her husband Igor Sklyarov. See Natalia's Official Site for photos and news.

Achievements[edit]

Year Event AA Team VT UB BB FX
1982 World Cup 1st 1st 2nd 1st
USSR Cup 1st 1st
USSR Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st
1983 World Championships 1st 1st
USSR Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd
1984 Friendship Games 1st 1st 2nd
1985 World Championships 1st
USSR Championships 3rd

External links and sources[edit]

This article contains information from the website http://www.gymnast.ru/, incorporated into the Wikipedia with permission from its author E.V.Avsenev.