Olga Korbut Performs ‘The Flip’ On Uneven Bars

1972 Munich Olympic Games

Olga Korbut
Olga Korbut

Seventeen years old gymnast Olga Korbut from U.S.S.R was competing in her first Olympic Games. She made several mistakes in her first attempt at the uneven bars and she publicly wept after her performance. This show of emotions by a girl from Soviet Unions won many hearts.

The next day during her routine in the same event, Korbut stood on the high bar performed a back flip and defying gravity, she grasped the bar again. One commentator said – “Has that ever been done by a girl before?” The reply by his awestruck partner was – “Never! Never! Not by any human that I know of! This gives me the chills!” Olga was given 9.8 for her performance by the judges but the audience thought she deserved a 10. They jeered, stamped their feet and shouted vulgar remarks at the judges but the decision was not changed. Olga won three gold medals in that Olympics but her incredible feat on uneven bars could only earn her a silver medal.

The move performed by Olga Korbut is known over the world as ‘Korbut Flip’. She also performed some dazzling moves in other routines, specifically the balance beam. Her display changed gymnastics with more emphasis on acrobatics rather than elegance. It also caused a surge of young girls to join their local gymnastic clubs. Olga Korbut’s magical performance in Munich transformed gymnastics and was the reason behind it becoming a popular sport.

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