By Jamal Laoudi
By Jamal Laoudi
Washington D.C, – What would it take to ban a move from any sport, and is that even conceivable? The answer is it would have to be insanely dangerous, and yes it has happened in gymnastics.
Gymnasts and their trainers attempt to be original in creating moves for their athletes’ routines in the quest of gold or a championship. Sometimes, this creativity leads to unacceptable and dangerous degrees of difficulty. Case and point, an uneven bars routine that includes a move where the gymnast executes a backflip standing on the upper bar and ends up catching it from underneath. This move is called Korbut Flip. It is named after gymnast Olga Korbut of the former Soviet Union. She first performed at age 17 at the 1972 Summer Olympics that were held in Munich, West Germany then. Korbut’s full name is Olga Valentinovna Korbut and carries the nickname the Sparrow from Minsk. She was born in May 16, 1955 in Hrodna, Belarus.
In gymnastics, judges are instructed to give lower scores for dangerous or very risky moves in order to deter athletes from keeping them in their routines. Olga’s move was deemed so dangerous that it is illegal under the Olympic gymnast Code of Points according to a piece by Callum Tennent for CNN. When asked about it recently, Olga said that “After me, no one else did it. It had a risky element — I had brought to gymnastics new gymnastics, new elements, not acrobatics. It is a mistake when it is said I brought acrobatics to the event.”
So how did she come up with this move? “I was inspired by no one. I’m serious. It was the 1960s, we didn’t have TV — I was just born into gymnastics.” Explained Kolbut.
While Kolbut’s achievements include 4 gold and two silver Olympic medals, her impact on the sport goes far beyond that. “Prior to 1972, athletes were generally older and the focus was on elegance rather than acrobatics. In the decade after Korbut’s Olympic debut, the emphasis was reversed.”
She has been recognized by Sports Illustrated in 1994 as one of the 40 greatest athletes alongside names like Pele, Secretariat, Michael Jordan, and Mohamed Ali. In 1988 Korbut was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Luckily for those of us who never saw that move, cameras and TV were around and that performance was captured on tape.
Video of Olga Korbit historic Routine in 1972 Olympics: