Olga Korbut captured the public imagination with her charismatic and daring performances in the team competition at the 1972 Munich Games, aged just 17 year old. After her spectacular routine on the uneven parallel bars, Korbut later recalled, "It was amazing. One day, I was a nobody, and the next day, I was a star."
Unfortunately in the individual final two days later, disaster struck. Korbut made three errors on the uneven bars, the judges gave her a score of 7.5 and she wept with disappointment as she dropped to seventh place. Yet she recovered to claim gold in the floor exercise and beam to add to her victory in the team competition.
The 17-year-old became the first gymnast to perform a back flip to catch on the uneven bars. In her honour the move has since become known as the Korbut Flip. Confirming her daring nature, she was also the first to do a backward somersault on the beam.
At the 1976 Montreal Games, Korbut was overshadowed by Romanian Nadia Comâneci’s astonishing “perfect 10” score. Nonetheless, Korbut still won the gold medal in the team event and a silver on the beam.