Tatiana Gutsu

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Tatiana Gutsu
Тетяна Ґуцу
Full name Tatiana Gutsu
Country represented  Ukraine
Former countries represented Olympic flag.svg Unified Team
 Soviet Union
Born (1976-09-05) September 5, 1976 (age 40)
Odessa, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Residence United States
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics

Tatiana Gutsu (Ukrainian: Тетяна Костянтинівна Ґуцу, Romanian: Тatiana Guţu; born September 5, 1976, in Odessa, Ukrainian SSR) is a former artistic gymnast from the Soviet Union and the winner of the all-around title at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Renowned as a trickster, she performed some of the most difficult routines in the sport.[1]

Career[edit]

Born into a Ukrainian family of Moldovan descent, Gutsu started in gymnastics at age 6. She became a member of the national team of the Soviet Union in 1988. Her first major international competition was the 1991 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, where she won the team title with the Soviet Union[2] and finished fifth in the individual all-around,[3] while winning silver medals in two individual apparatus finals: the uneven bars and balance beam. Her silver on beam was highly controversial because the winner, Soviet teammate Svetlana Boginskaya, performed a simpler routine.

Gutsu was quickly noticed for the difficulty of her routines. She was one of the first gymnasts in the world to perform a double-twisting Yurchenko vault. She also debuted a double layout somersault on floor with split legs in the first salto, a skill that few others have been able to perform. Perhaps most impressively, she ended her floor routine in the team competition with a double layout somersault.

The following year, she had a disastrous showing at the 1992 World Championships. She had been expected to contend for gold on three events—uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise—but failed to reach the finals on any of them, suffering falls on both the bars and floor. However, at the European Gymnastics Championships that year, she won the all-around, vault, and uneven bars titles, as well as a silver on the balance beam. She was the most successful gymnast of the championship and established herself as one of the favorites for the Olympic all-around title.

1992 Olympics[edit]

In the preliminary round of competition at the Olympics, Gutsu, then 15, fell from the balance beam and was ranked 9th in the all-around. She had been on course to win the optional portion of the team competition and was one of the favourites for the beam gold medal, but the fall meant she did not qualify for the beam final.

Although 36 gymnasts qualified for the all-around, only three competitors from each country were allowed in the final, and because of Gutsu's fall, three other competitors from the Unified Team placed higher in the preliminaries. However, the team coaches felt that Gutsu had a better chance of bringing home all-around gold than her teammates Boginskaya and Rozalia Galiyeva. They considered scratching Boginskaya, but felt that she was too famous and there would be a scandal. As a result, they forced Gutsu's younger teammate Galiyeva to forfeit her place in the final so that Gutsu could compete.[4] Galiyeva was forced to claim a severe knee injury, which was "verified" by the team physician.[5][6]

In one of the deepest fields ever for the all-around, Gutsu was in a close race for the gold medal. She had a few balance checks in her difficult beam routine and made an error on her double layout on floor, allowing her rivals to stay in contention with her. With one apparatus to go, Gutsu was tied for first place with Shannon Miller of the United States. Her final performance on vault (a full-twisting layout Yurchenko) was just enough to hold off Miller's challenge.[4] Gutsu won the title by .012,[7] which remains the closest margin of victory ever in an Olympic all-around. She also took home medals in the team competition (gold), uneven bars (silver) and floor exercise (bronze).[1]

What set Gutsu apart from Miller was her difficulty.[1] She was competing during the height of the "pixie" era, when the favoured type of gymnast was a small athlete capable of extreme difficulty, and Gutsu exemplified this. She performed the same vault as most other leading gymnasts (except Tatiana Lysenko), but her difficulty on the other three events was high. Her beam routine was especially notable: She competed probably the most difficult dismount sequence of all time, three back handsprings into a tucked full-in, and also performed a standing back somersault with a full twist. On floor, Gutsu opened with a split-leg double layout and closed with a piked full-in. On bars, she dismounted with a double layout. Miller showed less difficulty, particularly on the floor exercise (where she performed a whip to tucked full-in for her mount, a whip to double pike for her middle pass, and a tucked full-in for her dismount), but was impressive on beam with her back handspring to three layouts sequence, her superior form, and a stuck full-in dismount.

Galiyeva was always angry and bitter about having given up her place in the all-around to Gutsu, feeling that she had had no option but to agree. The two split the prize money between them, but they stopped speaking after the Olympics. The substitution was against the rules (as Galiyeva's injury was not genuine), but such switches were and are common in gymnastics, usually when a gymnast considered to be the best on the team makes a mistake in qualifications and thus finishes behind a teammate who is considered weaker. Other notable examples include the replacement of Alexandra Marinescu with Simona Amânar in the 1996 Olympics,[8] and the Soviet coaches' removal of Olga Mostepanova and Irina Baraksanova for Elena Shushunova and Oksana Omelianchik in the 1985 World Championships. On both occasions, the gymnasts substituted in took a medal. Coaches now have the right to make such substitutions without having to falsify injuries.

After retiring from competitive gymnastics, Gutsu moved to the United States, where she is a gymnastics coach in Michigan.[9] She tried for a comeback to compete at the 2003 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships as a three-event specialist (vault, beam, and floor), but was unsuccessful.

Competitive history[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
1991 World Championships 1st 5th 2nd 2nd
1992 European Championships 1st 1st 1st 2nd 3rd
World Championships
Olympic Games 1st 1st 2nd 3rd
  • Competitor for CIS
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona Team 1 395.666
All-Around 1 39.737 9 78.848
Vault 9 19.787
Uneven Bars 2 9.975 1 19.899
Balance Beam 37 19.312
Floor Exercise 3 9.912 5 19.850
World Championships Paris Balance Beam WD
Balance Beam (Semi−Final) 3 9.875
Balance Beam (Qualification) 1 9.937
  • Competitor for Ukraine
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1992 European Championships Nantes All-Around 1 39.725
Vault 1 9.950 4 9.900
Uneven Bars 1 9.937 1 9.950
Balance Beam 2 9.900 2 9.925
Floor Exercise 3 9.887 1 9.950
  • Competitor for Soviet Union
Year Competition Description Location Apparatus Rank-Final Score-Final Rank-Qualifying Score-Qualifying
1991 World Championships Indianapolis Team 1 396.055
All-Around 5 39.636 3 79.298
Vault 7 19.750
Uneven Bars 2 9.950 3 19.875
Balance Beam 2 9.950 5 19.849
Floor Exercise 6 19.824

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Gutsy Gutsu dazzles to win all-round gymnastics gold". International Olympic Committee. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  2. ^ Janofsky, Michael (1991-09-12). "Soviet and U.S. Teams Go 1-2 in World Meet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  3. ^ Janofsky, Michael (1991-09-15). "Zmeskal Driven to Overall Success". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  4. ^ a b Janofsky, Michael (1992-07-31). "Gutsu Beats Miller and Stashes Gold in the Vault". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  5. ^ Smolowe, Jill (1992-08-10). "Gymnastics Ode to Joylessness". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  6. ^ Clarey, Christopher (1996-07-25). "Some Gymnastics Trickery?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  7. ^ Glauber, Bill (1992-07-31). "Zmeskal steps out, then down: World champion is tearful 10th as Gutsu, Miller reign". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  8. ^ Clarey, Christopher (1996-07-26). "U.S. Gymnasts Take Back Seat in All-Around". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  9. ^ "Controversial Soviet Gold Medalist Tatiana Gutsu Reflects from West Bloomfield". www.deadlinedetroit.com. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 

External links[edit]