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Larissa Petrik is not a widely known figure in WAG history, but she did as much to change the sport as Nadia Comaneci, Olga Korbut, and Natalia Yurchenko. Larissa Petrik famously defeated Larissa Latynina at the 1964 USSR Championships when she was only 15 years old. The result sent shockwaves throughout the sport and was even covered by the New York Times. Nadia is widely credited for being the spark that caused WAG to pivot towards younger gymnasts, but it was actually Larissa Petrik. In the immediate aftermath of Petrik’s famed 1964 victory, WAG witnessed what was by a significant margin, its most extreme drop in the average age of a female gymnast. The defeat would also signal the beginning of the end for Latynina’s athletic career.
Larissa Petrik was also a successful beam worker having won a medal in every World Championships and Olympic level competition she entered. Petrik is also the earliest known example of a gymnast performing a wolf turn on beam. Her career came to an end after she failed to make the 1972 Soviet Olympic team. The coach who had the greatest influence in selecting that team was Larissa Latynina.
Olympics & World Championships:
USSR Championships: 1st-AA
European Championships: 4th-AA, 6th-UB, 3rd-BB, 5th-FX
World Championships: 2nd-Team, 3rd-BB
USSR Cup: 2nd-AA, 1st-UB, 2nd-BB, 3rd-BB
USSR Championships: 1st-Team, 2nd-AA
USSR Championships: 6th-Team, 2nd-AA, 3rd-VT, 4th-UB, 2nd-BB, 6th-FX
Olympic Games: 1st-Team, 4th-AA, 3rd-BB, 1st-FX
USSR Cup: 4th-AA
USSR Championships: 1st-Team, 3rd-AA
USSR Championships: 2nd-AA
World Championships: 1st-Team, 6th-AA, 3rd-BB
USSR Cup: 4th-AA
Results are taken from Score for Score, The Gymternet, GymnasticGreats, My Meet Scores, Gymn-Forum, the official websites of various national gymnastics federations, newspaper clippings, classic gymnastics magazines, and in some cases, were provided by the gymnasts themselves. An explanation for the meaning of these symbols can be found here.