NORMAN — Four international gymnastics legends will be formally inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame as more than 400 fans, friends, members and a special honoree gather on May 18 at the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City.
Albert Azaryan, a four time Olympic medalist — three gold — in 1956 and 1960, and winner of five World Championship medals, comes from Armenia to be honored.
Lyubov Burda, 1968 and 1972 Olympic gold medalist and 1970 Team World Champion from Russia competed for the USSR.
Gina Gogean, combined five time Olympic medalist at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and winner of 15 World Championship medals for Romania.
Yuri Korolev, the most decorated non-Olympic gymnast, including 13 medals — nine gold — across four World Championships (1981, ‘83, ‘85 and ‘87) from Russia.
“We’re thrilled to honor these four gymnastics icons who have won a total of 11 Olympic and 35 World Championship medals together,” said Bart Conner, IGHOF board chair. “Both Burda (2001) and Korolev (2010) were inducted previously but haven’t been able to attend until this year.”
Another champion gymnast will attend the induction ceremony to receive the first Nadia Comaneci Sportsmanship Award. Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber will be honored as a currently competitive or recently retired gymnast from around the world who has demonstrated great sportsmanship or fair play.
“I’m happy to present the award to Jordyn Wieber,” said Comaneci, 1993 IGHOF inductee. “Jordyn was the reigning World All-Around Champion but failed to qualify for the (Olympic all-around) finals in London, and yet she showed great sportsmanship by overcoming her personal disappointment to help lead the U.S. women to the gold medal.”
Wieber, who had only lost one competition in the three years before becoming the 2011 World All-Around Champion, was the most experienced American on the “Fierce Five.” The team came to be known by that nickname when they won the team gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.