- In 1980, were you inside the team or were you neutral as a representative of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)?

- Was involved at all seams, as they say. She worked at the headquarters of the Gymnastics Directorate - that was the name of a structure similar to a sports federation - and was preparing to work as a judge, and this entailed a colossal responsibility, since our country was allocated only one place at the Games. Plus she took an active part in preparing the team, spent a lot of time at the training camp. For the country, the home Olympics have become a unique phenomenon. After all, we were trendsetters, we sounded like that at the world level. In terms of organizing the competition - including. I know this for sure, since I have served all the big starts for many years. Everything is clear, everything is in notes, everything to the comma, and our competition was just like a concert program. Although everyone was very worried on the eve of the Olympics.

- When did the 1980 Games begin for you personally?

- In 1979, at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR. It was a dress rehearsal, an absolutely grand tournament. First of all - in terms of organization, checking the work of all services. And sports results, of course. "Oh sport, you are the world!" - this is definitely not about sports. The team at the 1980 Games was faced with the task of only first place, only victory. Then no second places were taken into account at all. Only gold.

- Did you tell the coaches any plan for the number of awards?

- Maximum. In our sport at the Olympics, fourteen sets are played out, and we were told: the goal is the maximum, to take everything that is possible. We took nine.

- And this - with Nadia Comaneci alive in women's gymnastics!

- Nadya was definitely considered the favorite at those Games. On the day when the fate of the absolute champion of the Olympic Games was being decided, I, by the will of the referee's lot, ended up in the brigade on a log. With my already considerable judicial experience and some, probably, dexterity, so to speak, I always managed to clearly concentrate on what was happening on “my” apparatus and at the same time cover the entire platform with peripheral vision, monitor the performance of my team in other forms ...

And I see that Lena Davydova successfully completes her combination on the uneven bars, receives a serious assessment in the final form of the program, and the sum brings her forward. In our country - and also the final form - should go to the log Comaneci, who won the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the all-around, on the uneven bars, on the balance beam, and certainly did not become weaker in four years. In addition, Nadia worked with a log like no one else in the world worked. Aerobatics of gymnastics: everything is licked, cleaned, as if they took an iron, and walked it over the girl from all sides, before releasing it onto the platform.

- As far as I remember, Comaneci was never seriously mistaken on a log.

- On the one hand, yes. But what is a log? You go out to these ten centimeters, and high-frequency currents begin to beat you up. You can't run away, you can't feel your legs, they just don't obey you. It is necessary not only to make a combination, but also to receive for it not twenty rubles, but a serious assessment. Moreover, Davydova's scores Nadya also probably managed to fix in her head. I saw that she was shaking, that she, with all her experience, was trying to extinguish all these shocks, but nevertheless allowed one mistake, which I immediately noted in the protocol. Then the second mistake happens, I also note it, trying to be noticed by those who are sitting next to me. On landing, Nadia made a tiny step, could not hold the boards and not move, and this was the third mistake.

- How did those who were with you in the same brigade react?

- They constantly glanced at me, which I have long been accustomed to - after all, I worked in international refereeing for many years. Over the course of my life, many referees have been disqualified for various reasons, but I have completed my eight Olympics with the FIG gold badge, as the best referee in the world. But that's not the point. A Polish judge was sitting next to me, after each of the mistakes I noticed, I exchanged a glance with her, and I saw that she also noticed these blots.

When the assessments were opened, and they turned out to be insufficient for Comaneci to bypass Davydova, I immediately realized that they would begin to put pressure on the brigade. And almost immediately I noticed that the president of the FIG, Helen Berger from the GDR and the vice-president, Romanian Maria Simonescu, were slowly walking in our direction from their table. I almost covered this Polish girl with my body. "Hold on," I say, "don't correct anything." And in German, addressing not so much to Simonescu as to Berger, she began to chatter without respite. Sprinkle with arguments: like - with the refereeing in the brigade, complete order, alles in Ordnung.

- Convinced?

- Berger agreed with me almost immediately, and Maria continued to stand, gazing at the brigade. I understood her perfectly: in Romania, after all, everything was arranged the way we do: a socialist country, try to return without a gold medal! Moreover, the functions of Simonescu, as vice-president of the FIG, included the appointment of judges, and all of them, especially those that represented not very gymnastic countries such as Venezuela or Ecuador, were obliged to her and were afraid of her to death. But somehow I took over that situation, and all playfully, with a smile. The competition was stopped then, and for a long time - I even have a tape with a video of this moment somewhere. But when they gave the command to reopen the assessments, everything was the same. And Lena Davydova becomes the absolute champion of the Olympic Games!

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- Weren't you afraid that excesses may begin in relation to you?

- At that moment I was in some abnormal state after all that I had experienced, I did not understand much, but they explained to me that if I left the stadium immediately, the fans of the Romanian team would simply tear me to pieces. As a result, I was taken out of the Luzhniki stadium at about two or three in the morning, through the director's entrance, with machine gunners. They escorted me to the car and brought me home under guard. And the next morning, the central Romanian newspaper, where only Nicolae Ceausescu (General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. - RT ) was always on the front page , comes out with photographs: Ceausescu, Nadia Comaneci, and below - the face of Lydia Gavrilovna Ivanova. The enemy of the Romanian people, not otherwise.

- Few people bet on Davydova at those Games. I think that Nelly Kim, who was second in the all-around at the 1976 Games and won, in addition to the team tournament, two gold medals on separate shells, had no less reason than Comaneci to consider herself offended.

- Any strong leader is always offended when he does not win. This is the norm. I remember many years ago Larisa Latynina and I (nine-time Olympic champion. - RT ) were invited to a television program hosted by Irina Rodnina, and Ira asked: "Larisa Semyonovna, have you ever taken offense at the judges?" I intercepted the microphone and said: “Ira, what are you talking about? What claims can there be against the judges when a person has won everything for so many years? " The audience laughed for a long time then. But defeat for a leader is always a tragedy for which everyone is to blame.

- Alexander Dityatin became the record holder for the number of medals won at the Moscow Olympics in gymnastics, and Nikolai Andrianov, who had four gold in 1976, lost the all-around. Do you get the feeling that Andrianov was a little crushed, because he was going to end his career anyway, and the gold went to Dityatin, who was on the rise?

- Everyone loved Kolya very much, including the judges. And it's not even a matter of his authority; He was amazing, incredibly charming and stable. But according to sports understanding, Andrianov by that time was still in some decline. Allowed some inaccuracies in performance, the lightness, perhaps, was not the same as before. In addition, Anatoly Yarmovsky, who trained Dityatin, understood perfectly well that it was impossible to beat Andrianov, if he was like him. It is necessary to surpass it not only in quality, but also in complexity. So Yarmovsky came up with elements for the student that greatly adorned the program and brought Dityatin a technical advantage. And it turned out that these tenths, hundredths of a point, in total, were not in favor of Andrianov, although he took two gold medals at those Games.

- The general race for maximum difficulty, combined with insane internal competition, led shortly before the Games in Moscow to the tragedy of Elena Mukhina.

- This can be blamed not on the system, but rather on Lena's personal trainer - Mikhail Yakovlevich Klimenko. He was insatiable at work all the time. I really hoped that Mukhina would go to the Olympic Games and win the floor exercise, because Lena had a super program at that time. None of our entire team could repeat what she did on the uneven bars and on floor exercises. But she had a leg injury, and with a sore leg, especially when the athlete is already completely tired, it is very difficult to get ready for a difficult element. So that terrible injury happened.

This became a huge disaster for all of us, especially since Mukhina was not just one of the gymnasts, but the absolute champion of Europe, where she shocked everyone with her program. I judged those competitions and saw how I trembled and left the start even Comaneci when I saw Lena's performances. But, I repeat, the system is not to blame. A system is when something is repeated over and over again. Fortunately, we have never had such injuries again, despite the fact that the sport is considered very traumatic.

- What do you remember most from the Moscow Olympics? Well, except for empty and clean Moscow.

- And besides the flying away bear, right? Probably victoriousness. No matter how much you want to laugh at me now, all of us, both coaches and athletes, were brought up in such a way that we did not even understand to what extent the whole world sport was robbed then, having gained such an insane number of medals. We liked that we were the strongest, we liked these letters "USSR" on training suits, even if foreigners called them "si-si-si-pi", and made fun of us. And the exclamation mark at the closing of the Olympics, when Mishka flew away, knocked out a tear from both fans and enemies, even if they don't admit it now. And that was our exclamation point!