1982 World Cup AA Champion / 1983 World AA Champion

“I will always remember Natalia Yurchenko’s face. Those brooding, dark eyes somehow expressed a whole rainbow of feeling that I could never put into words. Yurchenko began her floor exercise that way; eyes cast down, head to one side. The music animated her gymnastics, at one time emotional but never over-gestured. Facially impassive and inscrutable, you could read the world in her gymnastics.

World All Around Champion in 1983, Yurchenko combined the lyricism of the 1970s with the adventure of the 1980s. She personified the values of Risk, Originality, Virtuosity that were embraced by the Code of Points at the peak of her competitive career, but her ultra-difficult routines were performed in an almost painterly fashion. 1968 Olympian Larissa Petrik said it most concisely,

‘Yurchenko is the synthesis between risk and beauty of composition, between
tricks on the apparatus and expressive artistry’ (1984)”

– Elizabeth Booth, Rewriting Russian Gymnastics