Due to the tragedy of her life, I almost feel guilty saying it. Then I think, she might as well be appreciated. I have a confession. I'm obsessed with Elena Mukhina. Obsessed. I love her. I love the difficulty, the dance, the toe point, the badass Sovietness and the jutzpah to dethrone Queen Nadia. Elena in '78 was the epitome of a World All-Around Champion.
'78 Worlds Nadia was fat, crash-dieted, suicidal, disinterested, forced-back-into-competition Nadia. Did she drink the detergent or didn't she? Was it shampoo? The stories of Nadia's rush back to form have differed as much as her suicidal tales. Was it 20 pounds? 40? 160? I can't even imagine what she looked like at the meet in East Germany where she sported the double chin.
Emilia Eberle was beaten into being the new starlet of the Romanian Team. Fantastic on some events but a ghastly dancer, one feels the wrath of Bela with every mistake she makes.
Natalia Shaposhnikova was the innovative new girl who displayed dramatic poses and ghastly acrobatic form. Her beam layouts are on par with the legendary Chelle Stack.
Rhonda Schwandt, Kathy Johnson and Marcia Frederick were the American hopes, but they still couldn't mange to make it through four events.
Nelli Kim is the dark, mysterious contender. In a Disney film, she would surely be the villain. While they may not be physical evidence of it, you can bet your ass that she broke Mukhina's leg and infected Nadia's wrist to keep them out of Fort Worth.