Yelena Davydova


Yelena Davydova : biography

7 August 1961 –

The Team finals were seen as a battle between the Americans, Russians and the Chinese, although the Romanians couldn’t be counted out either. The other countries competing were Japan, Italy and Great Britain. The Canadians came out and gave it all they had. Each member of the team, Kristina Vaculik, Dominique Pegg, Ellie Black, Brittany Rogers and Victoria Moors, competed in at least two events. When the scores were tallied, Canada astonished the crowd by coming in fifth, just behind the Chinese, who had won the team event at the 2008 Olympics – a spectacular score for a team which had not been expected to be a contender.

In commenting about the teams, accomplishment, Davydova compared it to winning the all-around gold medal at the 1980 Olympics.

"It was like I just won the Olympics one more time," she said. "For Canada, it was equal to being an Olympic champion. You’ve seen history two times at the same Olympics. We’ve never made finals as a team at Olympics, that was one, and then another one, fifth, the best result ever. That’s amazing."

Acknowledgements in the recent times

In its 1991 publication, Objectif an 2000,the FIG have a section entitled "Some of the Gymnasts who contributed to the Major Developments". 18 female Artistic gymnasts are named of whom Davydova is one. On the IG website they feature "Legends of Gymnastics". 15 female Artistic gymnasts are profiled, one of whom is Davydova. In 1994 to commemorate the World Championships in Brisbane Australia the Australian government produced first day covers of several famous gymnasts including Davydova In 1996 she was invited by the Atlanta organising committee to the Olympic Games where she met US President Bill Clinton. In 2000 Elena was one of the gymnasts pictured in the International Gymnast’s (IG) Millennium calendar. On 11 May 2007 Elena was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame ( IGHOF) – regarded as the Nobel Prize for gymnastics – where special mention was made of her as a gymnastics innovator. IGHOF website “Yelena Davydova cast a charm on audiences by weaving her flowing routines with cutting-edge difficulty..Davydova’s capacity to dare some of the riskiest elements was matched by her exquisite presentation”. IGHOF video “One of the most original precise and elegant of all the legendary Soviet stars was Yelena Davydova.When she first entered the international scene it was clear she would make an impact with her clean execution and exquisite form…In the 1978 Chunichi Cup in Japan her fluid style on balance beam was becoming a trademark…In the 1980 Olympics Davydova scored no less than 9.8 on every event over the 3 days of competition to win the allaround gold medal”.


Year Event AA Team VT UB BB FX
1976 USSR Championships 2nd 3rd
1977 USSR Championships 1st
1978 USSR Championships 3rd
USSR Cup 3rd
1980 USSR Championships 1st
USSR Cup 1st
Moscow Olympics 1st 1st 2nd
1981 World Championships 3rd 1st 3rd 2nd
USSR Championships 1st 1st 3rd 1st

All-Around Olympic Champion

Thursday 24 July began the All-Around final. Davydova began in 5th place. In first place was Gnauck, East Germany, then Shaposhnikova USSR, 3rd Eberle Romania, 4th Comaneci Romania. Davydova began on beam, Gnauck on bars, Comaneci on floor – a disadvantage for Davydova because there is such a premium of accuracy in the beam exercise that the gymnast prefers to be fully attuned to the rigours of that days competition before attempting it.On a later occasion Bela Karolyi said “To start with the balance beam,that is like a ditch,a hell”. Early jitters can be magnified into disasters.