Natalia Shaposhnikova (URS)

Photo used with the expression 
permission of Oleg Katchinski

1976 Druzhba: 3rd AA
1976 Moscow News: 3rd AA
1976 USSR Cup: 2nd FX
1976 USSR Championships: 3rd AA
1977 Chunichi Cup: 3rd AA
1977 Moscow News: 1st UB, 2nd AA, 2nd V, 2nd FX
1977 USSR Cup: 1st AA, 1st V, 2nd UB, 2nd B, 2nd FX
1977 USSR Championships: 3rd AA
1977 World Cup: 3rd AA, 1st V, 5th UB, 4th FX 
1978 World Championships: 1st Team, 3rd AA, 6th V, 8th BB
1978 World Cup: 3rd AA, 1st V, 2nd BB, 3rd FX 
1979 European Championships: 1st B, 2nd FX, 3rd AA, 3rd V, 6th UB
1979 Moscow News: 2nd AA, 1st UB, 1st B, 2nd FX
1979 USSR Spartakiade: 1st AA, 1st B, 2nd UB, 2nd FX
1979 USSR Cup: 1st AA
1979 USSR Championships: 1st AA
1980 Olympic Games: 1st Team, 1st V, 3rd B, 4th AA
1980 USSR Cup: 2nd AA

The majority of these results were compiled from information found at Gymn Forum, in particular Gymn Forum's tribute to Shaposhnikova

Shaposhnikova performed some of the most daring skills of her day, but unfortunately lacked the consistency to win a major AA title. Indeed, Tourischeva, who once coached Shaposhnikova, said of Shaposhnikova, "She's prickly like a hedgehog. You never know what to expect from her." As an example, in the 1980 Moscow Olympics she was tied for first place with Comaneci after the compulsories, but sank to fourth place after the optionals. According to Yuri Brokhin though, author of The Big Red Machine, the real competition between Comaneci and Shaposhnikova probably would have occurred at the 1976 Olympics, not the 1980 Olympics.

Brokhin notes that Larissa Latynina, legendary three-time Olympic gymnast, was the senior coach for the Soviet women at the 1976 Olympics. In this role, she had been influential in selecting the team, demanding that several girls be included in the team at the expense of others more worthy. Left behind were Shaposhnikova and the future 1980 Olympic champion, Yelena Davydova. Shaposhnikova and Davydova were described as equally competent as Comaneci, but like Comaneci, Shaposhnikova and Davydova were representatives of the new "atheletic" school of gymnastics and Latynina demanded to uphold the "classical" gymnastics tradition. Later, Latynina was informed that she had brought the wrong team to Montreal. My guess is that Latynina was probably NOT the senior coach for the Soviet women at the 1980 Olympics...!

Although coached at times by Tourischeva, Shaposhnikova's primary coach (as of 1972) was Vladislav Rastorestkiy (sometimes spelled Rostorotsky or Rastorotskii), who also coached Tourischeva and Natalia Yurchenko. Rastorestkiy was the one who perfected the vaulting technique of setting the springboard at the correct distance, i.e., Gymnasts head resting on the "legs" of the horse, then stretch out straight-going toward where you run from and set the board under her heals and this is the correct distance.

After retiring from competitive gymnastics, Shaposhnikova married (fellow gymnast and former 1981 World team member Pavel Sut) and moved to Minsk, where she worked as a choreographer at the Olympic Reserves training center. The two eventually moved to Germany for awhile, before settling in New Jersey, USA. For awhile the couple coached at the US Gymnastics Development Center in Englewood, NJ. Now they coach at a gym called Gymnastika, which is situated in Little Falls, NJ, about 20 minutes from New York City.

A friend of mine visited Shaposhnikova at her gym. At the time, she had two children and was expecting a baby. My friend brought along a ton of gymnastic books and magazines. Shaposhnikova hadn't seen any of the photos of herself from the books or magazines. Upon finding one of herself from the 1978 Worlds she called Pavel over and said, "look at me, how cute!" She found every photo of herself in each book and magazine, signing next to each in Russian and English. What a wonderful lady!

Shaposhnikova was born on June 24th, 1961.

. This page was created on March 24, 1999 and last updated on December 22, 1999.


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