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Hall of Fame to Honor Six Gymnastics Champions
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The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame will induct four gymnastics champions and honor two others on Saturday at its annual induction dinner in Oklahoma City.

The Hall of Fame will induct Albert Azaryan (Armenia), Lyubov Burda (Russia), Gina Gogean (Romania) and Yuri Korolyov (Russia).

"We're thrilled to honor these gymnastics icons who have won a total of 11 Olympic and 35 World Championship medals together," said Bart Conner, Chairman of the Board of the IGHOF and master of ceremonies for the event. "Both Burda (2001) and Korolyov (2010) were inducted previously but haven't been able to attend until this year."

Armenian sporting legend Albert Azaryan

Azaryan, 84, is the elder statesmen of the class and a national icon in Armenia. He won four Olympic medals in 1956 and 1960 for the Soviet Union, including back-to-back titles on the still rings. His son, Eduard, was also an Olympic champion in 1980 with the Soviet team. Azaryan has been honored with his own postage stamp in Armenia and was the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremonies for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.

Burda was a two-time Olympic gold medalist (1968 and 1972) and world champion with the Soviet team in 1970, when she also won the bronze on vault. She pioneered the "Burda twirl" on uneven bars. Burda has been a prominent judge for decades and was re-elected to the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Women's Technical Committee last October.

Gogean won five Olympic medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and 15 world championship medals. She is also an international judge and coaches at the famed Deva club, working with some of Romania's top hopes for the 2016 Olympics.

Korolyov is the most decorated gymnast to never compete in the Olympics. He won 13 world championship medals (nine gold) and became the first man in modern times to win two world all-around titles (1981 and 1985). He is also a top coach and FIG judge in Russia.

In addition to the inductees, the Hall of Fame will recognize two others for their impact on gymnastics. Hidenori Futagi, president of the Japan Gymnastic Association, will receive this year's International Order of Merit Award. The award honors those who have made a significant contribution to the development, the maintaining of harmony, and the advancement of participation and appreciation for the sport of gymnastics in their home country and around the world.

The new Nadia Comaneci Sportsmanship Award honors a currently competitive or recently retired gymnast who has demonstrated great sportsmanship or fair play. 2011 world champion Jordyn Wieber, a member of USA's "Fierce Five" gymnastics team at the 2012 London Olympics, will be the first recipient of the award.

"Our entire board of directors has worked hard to make the IGHOF awards one of our sport's highest honors, and we are confident that this year's dinner celebration will be one of our finest ever," Conner said.

External Link: International Gymnastics Hall of Fame

For tickets to the IGHOF ceremony, call 405-364-5344.

Comments (1)add comment

N Garner said:

I have already honored Albert Azaryan. I have cat named after him. He is 1 year old, black and white and has a temper like a thunderstorm. He stayes together with (Andreea) Raducan who is 11½ and his girlfriend (Laura) Cutina who is nearly 3. He comes from a famous Cat-home here in Denmark and haved tried to apply for being the Azaryan Gym Club's mascot. But never heard a word.
May 17, 2013
Votes: +0

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