Zuchold at the 1972 Olympic Games
August 29, 2015 (age 68)
Erika Zuchold (née Barth; born 19 March 1947 in Lucka, died 29 August in Asuncion), is a former East German gymnast who competed at the European, World, and Olympic level from the mid 1960s to early 1970s.
She, along with Karin Janz, was one of the two most significant (in terms of medals won at major championships) female German gymnasts of her era, co-leading, with Janz, the East German team to both the Team Bronze at the 1968 Olympics and improving upon that, again with Janz, to win the Team Silver at the 1972 Olympics.
Among her many successes, her highlight came at the 1970 World Championships where she placed 2nd in the Individual All-Around behind the Soviet Ludmilla Tourischeva and returned to win Gold on both Vault and Balance Beam in event finals, the latter of which being a fairly controversial win over second-place American Cathy Rigby. Also, the period in-between the 1968 and 1972 Olympics saw Zuchold and Tourischeva being the only two gymnasts to win spots on the Individual All-Around podium at every European and World Championships during that time period (1969 Europeans - 1970 Worlds - 1971 Europeans).
Quite notably, Zuchold is credited as being the first woman to compete the flick-flack element on balance beam at a Worlds or Olympics, at the 1966 World Championships, as well as being one of the first two women, along with Věra Čáslavská at the 1968 Olympics, to compete a front handspring on balance beam.
In her post-gymnastics career, she explored a number of diverse activities and careers, including being a trapeze artist, a curator, an educator, and an abstract painter.
In 2005, Zuchold was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. She passed away on August 29, 2015 in Paraguay.
|1964||East German Championships||1st||4||2nd||1st||1st|
|1965||East German Championships||2nd||1st||3rd|
|1966||East German Championships||1st||1st||6||1st||2nd|
|Dortmund World Championships||2nd|
|1967||East German Championships||2nd||1st||2nd||1st||1st|
|Amsterdam European Championships||2nd|
|1968||East German Championships||1st||2nd||2nd||1st||1st|
|Mexico City Olympic Games||3rd||2nd|
|1969||East German Nationals||2nd||2nd||2nd||2nd|
|Landskrona European Championships||2nd|
|1970||Ljubljana World Championships||2nd||2nd||1st||1st|
|1971||Minsk European Championships||3rd||3rd||3rd||3rd|
|1972||Munich Olympic Games||2nd||2nd||3rd|
|World Vault Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Anna Petersen • Larisa Latynina • Věra Čáslavská • Erika Zuchold • Olga Korbut • Nellie Kim • Dumitriţa Turner • Maxi Gnauck • Boriana Stoyanova • Elena Shushunova • Olesya Dudnik • Lavinia Miloşovici • Henrietta Ónodi • Elena Piskun • Gina Gogean • Simona Amânar | Lilia Podkopayeva • Gina Gogean • Simona Amânar • Elena Zamolodchikova • Svetlana Khorkina • Elena Zamolodchikova • Oksana Chusovitina • Cheng Fei • Kayla Williams • Alicia Sacramone • McKayla Maroney • Hong Un-Jong • Maria Paseka|
|World Balance Beam Champions|
|Vlasta Děkanová • Helena Rakoczy • Keiko Tanaka • Larisa Latynina • Eva Bosáková • Natalia Kuchinskaya • Erika Zuchold • Nellie Kim • Ludmilla Tourischeva • Nadia Comăneci • Vera Cerna • Maxi Gnauck • Olga Mostepanova • Daniela Silivaş • Aurelia Dobre • Daniela Silivaş • Svetlana Boginskaya • Kim Zmeskal • Lavinia Miloşovici • Shannon Miller • Mo Huilan • Dina Kochetkova • Gina Gogean • Ling Jie • Andreea Răducan • Ashley Postell • Fan Ye • Nastia Liukin • Iryna Krasnianska • Nastia Liukin • Deng Linlin • Ana Porgras • Sui Lu • Aliya Mustafina • Simone Biles • Pauline Schaefer|