As the broadcast hours expanded, ABC expanded its coverage of gymnastics since it ran over many consecutive days and there could be a story line. The Soviet women's team was strong, especially with the general favorite, the beautiful Ludmilla Tourischeva. "But out of nowhere came this athletic sprite, Olga Korbut," said Dave Kindred, the former Washington Post columnist who covered Olympics from 1972 to 1996. "She became the star of the Games, doing things no gymnast had done before, and immediately attracting women to the Olympic telecasts." Korbut won three gold medals, but most spectacular may have been her silver-medal performance on the uneven parallel bars, when she did the first standing backward flip in competition. For TV, the best part of Korbut's performance was that she cried and laughed throughout the competition and became the first of a long line of gymnastics TV starlets.
Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World