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Olga Korbut

Olga Valentinovna Korbut, also known as the "Sparrow from Minsk", is a Belarusian former gymnast who won four gold medals and two silver medals at the Summer Olympic Games, in which she competed in 1972 and 1976 for the Soviet team.

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 Olga Korbut Biography

Belarusian-born Korbut, who started training at age 8, entered a Belarusian sports school headed by coach Renald Knysh at age 9.

There, Korbut's first trainer was Elena Volchetskaya, an Olympic gold medalist (1964),but she was moved to Knysh's group a year later. Initially he found her "lazy and capricious" but he also saw potential in her great talent, unusually supple spine, and charisma.

With him, she learned a difficult backward somersault on the balance beam. She debuted this at a competition in the USSR in 1969. In the same year, Olga completed a backflip-to-catch on the uneven bars; this was the first backward release move ever performed by a woman on bars.

She finished fifth at her first competition in the 1969 USSR championships, where she was allowed to compete as an underage 15 year old.

The next year, she won a gold medal in the vault. Due to illness and injury, she was unable to compete in many of the competitions before the 1972 Olympics.

At the 1972 Olympics, Korbut's acrobatics and open high-level gymnastics brought her much fame. To this day, the tuck back and Korbut Flip are still very popular (2003 world beam champion Fan Ye performed both in her routine). This excellence in technical skills overthrew the sport's traditional emphasis on artistry.

During the Olympics, Korbut was one of the favourites for the all-around after her dynamic performance in the team competition; however, she missed her mount on bars three times and the title went to her teammate Ludmilla Tourischeva.

Notwithstanding, Korbut won three gold medals for the balance beam, floor exercise and team. In one of the most controversial finishes of all time, she took a silver medal in the uneven bars.

Korbut's first attempt at her uneven bars routine was marred by several mistakes which all but ended her chances of winning a gold medal in the all-around. The next day, Korbut repeated the same routine in the event finals, although this time successfully.

After the boards displayed a score of 9.8, the audience began to whistle, jeer, stamp their feet, and shout vulgar remarks at the judges in disapproval, believing her score to be too low.

This carried on for several minutes; however, the judges refused to change her score.

Korbut is most famous for her uneven bars and balance beam routines. Her Olympic achievement earned her ABC's Wide World of Sports title of Athlete of the Year.

In 1973, she won the Russian and World Student (i.e., University) Games, and a silver medal in the all-around at the European Championships.

Soviet coaches and officials had designated Korbut as the woman who could beat the Romanian prodigy, Nadia Comăneci, in the 1976 Summer Olympics at Montreal, but Olga was injured and her performances in the games were sub-par.

She was overshadowed not only by Comăneci, but also by her own teammate Nellie Kim.

She did collect a team gold medal, and an individual silver medal for the balance beam.

Korbut graduated from the Grodno Pedagogical Institute in 1977, became a teacher,and retired from gymnastic competition thereafter. She married Leonid Bortkevich, who was a member of Belarusian folk band Pesniary.

The couple had a son, Richard, in 1979. In 1988 Korbut was the first gymnast to be inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

In 1991, worried about the effects of fallout from the Chernobyl disaster on Byelorussia, she and her family emigrated to the United States.

They settled in New Jersey where she taught gymnastics.They moved to Georgia two years later where she also taught gymnastics. Korbut and Bortkevich divorced in 2000.

In 2002 Korbut moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to become head coach at Scottsdale Gymnastics and Cheerleading,and coached there until 2004.

She now works with private gymnastics pupils and does motivational speaking.

Korbut traveled to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. She watched the gymnastics competitions in the North Greenwich Arena, providing commentary by way of Twitter and Facebook.

During the Olympics the Royal Opera House hosted an exhibit it created with the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland titled The Olympic Journey, The Story of the Games.

As well as historical artifacts, the exhibit featured the personal stories of 16 Olympic medalists, including Olga Korbut. Korbut celebrated the 40th anniversary of her Olympic victories with an appearance at the exhibition on August 3.

She said "I didn't even expect this. I am so honored to be here."

Korbut is a highly decorated athlete with four Olympic gold medals to her credit, but it is not this feat for which she is most remembered.

The media whirl which surrounded her 1972 Olympic debut caused a surge of young girls to join their local gymnastic clubs, and a sport which had seldom been noticed previously now made headlines.

After the 1972 Olympic competition, she also met United States President Richard Nixon at the White House.

About the meeting, Korbut said: "He told me that my performance in Munich did more for reducing the political tension during the Cold War between our two countries than the embassies were able to do in five years."

In addition to greatly publicizing gymnastics worldwide, she also contributed to a marked change in the tenor of the sport itself. Prior to 1972, the athletes were generally older and the focus was on elegance rather than acrobatics.

In the decade after Korbut's Olympic debut, the emphasis was reversed.

Korbut, in her 1972, gold-medal Olympics, at 4'11' and 82 pounds, exemplified the deliberate and purposeful trend toward smaller women in sport.

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  • HOW TO BOOK Olga Korbut?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Olga Korbut for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Olga Korbut, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Olga Korbut or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Olga Korbut?

    Booking fees for Olga Korbut, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Olga Korbut, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Olga Korbut?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Olga Korbut for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Olga Korbut for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Olga Korbut or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Olga Korbut or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

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Olga Korbut

Olga Valentinovna Korbut, also known as the "Sparrow from Minsk", is a Belarusian former gymnast who won four gold medals and two silver medals at the Summer Olympic Games, in which she competed in 1972 and 1976 for the Soviet team.

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Olga Korbut Biography

Belarusian-born Korbut, who started training at age 8, entered a Belarusian sports school headed by coach Renald Knysh at age 9.

There, Korbut's first trainer was Elena Volchetskaya, an Olympic gold medalist (1964),but she was moved to Knysh's group a year later. Initially he found her "lazy and capricious" but he also saw potential in her great talent, unusually supple spine, and charisma.

With him, she learned a difficult backward somersault on the balance beam. She debuted this at a competition in the USSR in 1969. In the same year, Olga completed a backflip-to-catch on the uneven bars; this was the first backward release move ever performed by a woman on bars.

She finished fifth at her first competition in the 1969 USSR championships, where she was allowed to compete as an underage 15 year old.

The next year, she won a gold medal in the vault. Due to illness and injury, she was unable to compete in many of the competitions before the 1972 Olympics.

At the 1972 Olympics, Korbut's acrobatics and open high-level gymnastics brought her much fame. To this day, the tuck back and Korbut Flip are still very popular (2003 world beam champion Fan Ye performed both in her routine). This excellence in technical skills overthrew the sport's traditional emphasis on artistry.

During the Olympics, Korbut was one of the favourites for the all-around after her dynamic performance in the team competition; however, she missed her mount on bars three times and the title went to her teammate Ludmilla Tourischeva.

Notwithstanding, Korbut won three gold medals for the balance beam, floor exercise and team. In one of the most controversial finishes of all time, she took a silver medal in the uneven bars.

Korbut's first attempt at her uneven bars routine was marred by several mistakes which all but ended her chances of winning a gold medal in the all-around. The next day, Korbut repeated the same routine in the event finals, although this time successfully.

After the boards displayed a score of 9.8, the audience began to whistle, jeer, stamp their feet, and shout vulgar remarks at the judges in disapproval, believing her score to be too low.

This carried on for several minutes; however, the judges refused to change her score.

Korbut is most famous for her uneven bars and balance beam routines. Her Olympic achievement earned her ABC's Wide World of Sports title of Athlete of the Year.

In 1973, she won the Russian and World Student (i.e., University) Games, and a silver medal in the all-around at the European Championships.

Soviet coaches and officials had designated Korbut as the woman who could beat the Romanian prodigy, Nadia Comăneci, in the 1976 Summer Olympics at Montreal, but Olga was injured and her performances in the games were sub-par.

She was overshadowed not only by Comăneci, but also by her own teammate Nellie Kim.

She did collect a team gold medal, and an individual silver medal for the balance beam.

Korbut graduated from the Grodno Pedagogical Institute in 1977, became a teacher,and retired from gymnastic competition thereafter. She married Leonid Bortkevich, who was a member of Belarusian folk band Pesniary.

The couple had a son, Richard, in 1979. In 1988 Korbut was the first gymnast to be inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

In 1991, worried about the effects of fallout from the Chernobyl disaster on Byelorussia, she and her family emigrated to the United States.

They settled in New Jersey where she taught gymnastics.They moved to Georgia two years later where she also taught gymnastics. Korbut and Bortkevich divorced in 2000.

In 2002 Korbut moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to become head coach at Scottsdale Gymnastics and Cheerleading,and coached there until 2004.

She now works with private gymnastics pupils and does motivational speaking.

Korbut traveled to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. She watched the gymnastics competitions in the North Greenwich Arena, providing commentary by way of Twitter and Facebook.

During the Olympics the Royal Opera House hosted an exhibit it created with the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland titled The Olympic Journey, The Story of the Games.

As well as historical artifacts, the exhibit featured the personal stories of 16 Olympic medalists, including Olga Korbut. Korbut celebrated the 40th anniversary of her Olympic victories with an appearance at the exhibition on August 3.

She said "I didn't even expect this. I am so honored to be here."

Korbut is a highly decorated athlete with four Olympic gold medals to her credit, but it is not this feat for which she is most remembered.

The media whirl which surrounded her 1972 Olympic debut caused a surge of young girls to join their local gymnastic clubs, and a sport which had seldom been noticed previously now made headlines.

After the 1972 Olympic competition, she also met United States President Richard Nixon at the White House.

About the meeting, Korbut said: "He told me that my performance in Munich did more for reducing the political tension during the Cold War between our two countries than the embassies were able to do in five years."

In addition to greatly publicizing gymnastics worldwide, she also contributed to a marked change in the tenor of the sport itself. Prior to 1972, the athletes were generally older and the focus was on elegance rather than acrobatics.

In the decade after Korbut's Olympic debut, the emphasis was reversed.

Korbut, in her 1972, gold-medal Olympics, at 4'11' and 82 pounds, exemplified the deliberate and purposeful trend toward smaller women in sport.

Olga Korbut Videos

  • Olga Korbut 1972 Olympics Floor - YouTube
  • Olga Korbut - 1976 Olympic Uneven Bar Routine - YouTube
  • Gymnast Olga Korbut charms the World - Faster, Higher, Stronger ...

FAQs on booking Olga Korbut

  • How to book Olga Korbut?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Olga Korbut for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Olga Korbut, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Olga Korbut or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Olga Korbut?

    Booking fees for Olga Korbut, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Olga Korbut, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Olga Korbut?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Olga Korbut for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Olga Korbut for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Olga Korbut or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Olga Korbut or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Olga Korbut is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Olga Korbut for your event is available upon request. Olga Korbut generally travels from Phoenix, AZ, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Heath Calhoun, Mariel Zagunis, Katherine Reutter, Amy Purdy and Shannon Miller. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Olga Korbut for an upcoming event.

Olga Korbut Speaker Videos

  • Olga Korbut 1972 Olympics Floor - YouTube
    Olga Korbut - 1976 Olympic Uneven Bar Routine - YouTube
  • Gymnast Olga Korbut charms the World - Faster, Higher, Stronger ...

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Speakers Similar to Olga Korbut

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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