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    Korbut, Olga

    Olga Korbut is a Belarusian, Soviet-born gymnast who won four gold medals and two silver medals at the Summer Olympics. At the 1972 Olympics, her acrobatics and open display of emotion—notably, she wiped tears from her face after a disastrous uneven bars routine—in contrast to the stereotypically cold eastern bloc athlete, captivated the Munich audiences. There she became one of the first persons ever to do a backward somersault on the balance beam in competition. She was also the first to do a standing backward somersault on bars, and a back somersault to swingdown (Korbut Flip) on beam. Her bars move is no longer seen in high level gymnastics, but the tuck back and Korbut Flip are still very popular (2003 world beam champion Fan Ye performed both in her routine). This excellence in technical skills overthrew the sport’s traditional emphasis on artistry.

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