Lyubov Burda

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Lyubov Burda was a member of the Soviet Olympic team in 1968 and 1972. Whereas Olga Korbut is often credited for single handedly ushering in a new era of women’s gymnastics where difficulty acrobatic elements are emphasized, much of that credit actually belongs to Lyubov Burda.

Burda got her start at the 1967 USSR Championships where she finished 3rd in the AA when she was 14 years old. During this competition Burda debuted two moves on the uneven bars, the Burda Pinwheel and the Burda Twirl. The routine was considered groundbreaking at the time and gymnasts quickly adopted Burda’s style of acrobatic display. The Burda Twirl would go on to be one of the defining moves of the era and would even outlive the Korbut Flip. Ecaternina Szabo (1984) and Svetlana Baitova (1988) performed the move at the Olympics. Tatiana Groshkova and Elena Zamolodchikova did Burda Twirls in the 1990s. It was performed as recently as 2003.

Burda’s accomplishments are not as widely known as they should be, but that didn’t stop Lyubov from receiving recognition for her contributions to the sport. Burda was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2001. After her athletic career ended Burda remained highly involved in the sport becoming both a judge and a member of FIG’s Women’s Technical Committee.

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