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Natalia Yurchenko
Yurchenko 03WC85
Yurchenko at the 1985 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Full name

Natalia Vladamirovna Yurchenko

Country represented

Flag of the Soviet Union USSR

Born

January 26 1965 (1965-01-26) (age 52)
Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian SFSR, USSR

Height

5 ft. 4 in.

Club

Dinamo

Coach(es)

Vladislav Rastorotsky

Current status

Retired

Natalia Vladamirovna Yurchenko (Russian: Наталья Владимировна Юрченко) (born January 26, 1965 in Norilsk, Russian SFSR) is a retired Soviet artistic gymnast, who was the women's all-around gold medalist at the 1983 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Natalia is best known for creating the Yurchenko vault, which is like a round-off and a back handspring up onto the vault, and then performing the series of twists and flips.

Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR, she was coached by Vladislav Rastorotsky at the Dinamo sports society in Rostov on Don. Her first international competition was the 1978 Junior Friendship Tournament, where she placed 5th all-around and won gold medals in the team competition and on bars. In the same year she debuted in the senior Riga International meet, earning the bronze on the floor.

The great series of successes began four years later, when she won the all-around title at the USSR Championships, USSR Cup, at the prestigious Moscow News tournament and the World Cup. Perhaps even more successful was the year 1983. She won almost complete gold medal complects (except the floor exercise) at the University Games and the USSR Championships. She also became the all-around World Champion, achieving two perfect 10s in the process.

At the Friendship Games in Olomouc, Yurchenko battled with Olga Mostepanova and managed to win the gold medal on the vault and in the team competition. In 1985 she once again won almost all events at the University Games (except vault and the balance beam) and contributed to the team's gold medal at the World Championships.

Apart from being one of the strongest gymnasts of the 1980s, she originated such popular gymnastics elements as Yurchenko vault and Yurchenko loop. She retired from gymnastics in 1986, but made a surprise appearance at the World Professional Championships (Fairfax, VA) in 1991. In 1999 Yurchenko emigrated to the USA and coached there since that time. She coached at LVSA, a gymnastics club in Pennsylvania, for almost 9 years and at Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She lives with her family consisting of her husband Igor Sklyarov and daughter Olga.

She is now the head womens' coach at Lakeshore Academy in Chicago, IL.

Medal Count

Year Event TF AA VT UB BB FX
1978Junior Friendship Tournament1st51st
Riga International3rd
1979USSR Cup4
1981USSR Cup42nd
1982USSR Championships 1st1st1st1st
USSR Cup 1st1st
Moscow News1st1st1st1st
Zagreb World Cup Final1st1st2nd1st
1983Edmonton Summer Universiade1st1st1st1st1st
USSR Championships 1st
Moscow News1st2nd1st
International Mixed Pairs1st
Budapest World Championships1st1st
1984Olomouc Friendship Games1st1st2nd
1985Kobe Summer Universiade1st1st1st1st
Montreal World Championships1st
USSR Championships3rd
1986Chunichi Cup6
Tokyo Cup2nd1st

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