Natalia as a Gymnast

A great series of successes began four years later, in 1982, when she won the all-around title at the USSR Championships, USSR Cup, at the prestigious Moscow News tournament and the World Cup. In 1983, she won gold medals in every event (except the floor exercise) at the University Games and the USSR Championships. She also became the all-around World Champion, achieving two perfect 10s in the process.

At the Friendship Games in Olomouc, Yurchenko battled with Olga Mostepanova to win the gold medal on the vault and in the team competition. In 1985 she once again won almost all events at the University Games (except vault and the balance beam) and contributed to the team’s gold medal at the World Championships. Natalia is considered one of the strongest gymnasts of the 1980s.

Natalia was the first to perform a Korbut loop on beam and the first to do a layout mount on beam. She is best known for creating the Yurchenko vault, which is a round-off back handspring entry onto the vault.

In 1999 Natalia immigrated to the United States with her husband, Soviet soccer gold medalist Igor Sklyarov, and has coached here since that time. She first coached at Lehigh Valley Sports Academy in Pennsylvania for almost 9 years and then at Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania for 4 years. She is currently the head coach of the woman’s gymnastic team at Lakeshore Gymnastics Academy in Chicago Illinois.

Natalia Yurchenko (Uneven Bars) – 1982 World Cup EF

Natalia Yurchenko (Balance Beam) – 1983 Worlds AA

Natalia Yurchenko (Vault) – 1985 Montreal