Sunday, September 4, 2011
Favorite Things: Obscure Soviet Edition
With a hurricane, power outage, funeral to attend to and a badly sprained ankle, it has been a tough week. If I've ever needed that endorphin release over some obscure Soviet goddesses, now is the time.
We really need to appreciate that the USSR displayed some of their brightest stars annually in a country with a senile president who wouldn't even acknowledge the AIDS virus in a time when Geza Poszar's choreography reigned supreme. Talk about an annual juxtaposition!
Not all of these gymnasts are truly 'obscure' to long-time fans, but the routines and gymnasts are a breath of fresh air to the numerous younger readers whose reference points are Jordyn Wieber and Shawn Johnson.
It is as though the spirit of Valorie Kondos invaded Round Lake...
We've all seen her performance at the Kraft Invitational, but US soil was truly unworthy of this choreography. They let Kristie Phillips win the meet the next year.
Having competed during the span of two boycotted Olympics, Natalia Ilienko is somewhat forgotten and overshadowed by the bigger all-around stars of the '70s, '80s and '90s. Her rendition of this compulsory floor routine is unmatched. This is what Natalya Marakova is capable of producing when she isn't forced to work with Rebecca Bross and Allison Taylor all day.
The ethereal Svetlana Grozdova.
One of the American Cup's greatest victims.
A one-hit-wonder like no other.
One of the greatest alternates on the Soviet National Team.
Serious tumbling for 1988.