A Yurchenko loop is a skill performed on the balance beam in women’s artistic gymnastics. In a standard Yurchenko loop, the gymnast stands sideways on the beam, dives backwards into a back handspring (the “loop”), grasps the beam, performs a back hip circle and ends up in a front support position, resting on their hands.
The Yurchenko Loop – in her own words:
“It’s a really interesting story how this skill was created. I was practicing a back handspring to handstand to lower body to front support on the beam. But, it was very difficult to stay on the beam and almost every time I’d just bounce back on the floor unable to stop the energy from the handstand. At one point, I was working with beam instructor with a ballet background. Upon seeing me unable to stop my momentum, that instructor suggested looping under the beam. Only someone who was not a gymnast would even suggest such a seemingly crazy idea. But, I tried it and it worked! And, that is how the Yurchenko Loop was created.”
Natalia Yurchenko (Beam) – 1985 Worlds All-Around
(Loop performed at 0:47)
Natalia Yurchenko (Beam) – 1985 Worlds Team Finals
(Loop performed at 0:42)