I was lucky enough to see Natalia Yurchenko compete in person. She instantly became one of my favourite gymnasts.
Natalia was the first woman to compete her eponymous vault, at 1982 Moscow News.
The element was controversial at first, Yurchenko explained. Another parallel to Biles’ daring innovations.
“There were a lot of debates to allow it or not to allow it,” Yurchenko recalls. “I performed it in America, and the American judges, some of them, were really against it because it seemed way too dangerous …
A boycott of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles meant Yurchenko never got the chance to compete her element at the Olympics.Natalia Yurchenko on Simone Biles’ feat: “I was dreaming about seeing it”