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.
|1978||Junior Friendship Tournament||1st||5||1st|
|Zagreb World Cup Final||1st||1st||2nd||1st|
|1983||Edmonton Summer Universiade||1st||1st||1st||1st||1st|
|International Mixed Pairs||1st|
|Budapest World Championships||1st||1st|
|1984||Olomouc Friendship Games||1st||1st||2nd|
|1985||Kobe Summer Universiade||1st||1st||1st||1st|
|Montreal World Championships||1st|