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Not as well known because her career was cut short by injury, in her heyday Tamara Lazakovich was winning medals at a rate comparable to Olga Korbut. In 1971 Lazakovich tied Ludmilla Turischeva for the AA title at the European Championships. At the 1972 Olympics Lazakovich had the highest score in AA finals and would have taken the Olympic AA title under new-life scoring.
Lazakovich joined the Soviet team at a very young age which meant she was exposed to alcohol at a very young age as well. She developed a reputation for heavy alcohol consumption well before her 18th birthday. It was something that was only possible when the environment she was subjected to was fundamentally flawed, and the adults in charge had failed in their duties to safeguard the young athletes in their care.
The Soviet response was that as long as Lazakovich was putting up strong results, they weren’t going to do anything to sideline her. And they certainly weren’t going to put her career on hiatus so she could seek proper treatment. To say the Soviets turned a blind eye to the problem would be an understatement. In one instance, after Lazakovich had been caught with alcohol, she went unpunished because a Soviet coach created a cover story on her behalf.
Lazakovich sustained seven concussions in her career and by her early 30s had resorted to writing things down to supplement her failing ability to memorize things. Even though it would be decades before there would be widespread public awareness on the issue of CTE, Tamara seemed to understand the link between her multiple head injuries and the cognitive decline she was experiencing. She passed away at the age of 38.
World Championships & Olympic Competition:
Jr. USSR Cup: 3rd-AA
USSR Championships: 6th-BB
USSR Cup: 2nd-VT
Druzhba: 1st-Team, 2nd-AA, 2nd-UB, 1st-BB, 2nd-FX
Druzhba: 1st-Team, 1st-AA, 4th-VT, 1st-UB, 1st-BB
Chunichi Cup: 1st-AA
Druzhba: 1st-Team, 1st-AA, 1st-VT, 2nd-UB, 1st-BB, 2nd-FX
USSR Championships: 3rd-AA, 4th-VT, 1st-BB, 4th-FX
USSR Cup: 6th-AA
World Championships: 1st-Team, 21st-AA
European Championships: 1st-AA, 2nd-VT, 1st-UB, 1st-BB, 2nd-FX
USSR Championships: 1st-AA, 4th-VT, 1st-UB, 3rd-BB, 3rd-FX
USSR Cup: 5th-AA
USSR Spartakiade: 1st-AA
Olympics: 1st-Team, 3rd-AA, 6th-VT, 2nd-BB, 3rd-FX
USSR Championships: 2nd-AA, 3rd-VT, 3rd-UB, 3rd-BB, 8th-FX
USSR Cup: 3rd-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.