Here is a little history:
Competitive rhythmic gymnastics began in the 1940s in the Soviet Union. The FIG ( Federation of International Gymnastics) formally recognized this discipline in 1961, first as modern gymnastics, then as rhythmic sportive gymnastics, and finally as rhythmic gymnastics. The first World Championships for individual rhythmic gymnasts was held in 1963 in Budapest. Groups were introduced at the same level in 1967 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Rhythmic gymnastics was added to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, with an Individual All-Around competition. However, many federations from the Eastern European countries were forced to boycott by the Soviet Union. Canadian Lori Fung was the first rhythmic gymnast to earn an Olympic gold medal.
In 1984 we just moved from a small 3,000 square foot facility in the Industrial Court in Orange Park, Florida to a large (our own!!!) 10,000 sq. ft facility. We had 2 gymnastics floors and one of the gymnastics floors was dedicated to Rhythmic Gymnastics. I already had a very strong team: Kerrie Jackson, 13 year old was a member of the Junior National Team.
Around May of 1984 I received a phone call from Michelle Berube, actually her Mother Kathy. Michelle was one of my students that I coached while we lived and worked in Detroit. She was one of my most talented girls: strong, flexible, expressive, aggressive, determined and very beautiful.
During the 1984 National Championships Michelle was one of the two girls who qualified for 1984 Olympic Games. She asked if she could come to Jacksonville and train with me in order to prepare for the competition. It was a very important decision. By agreeing, I assumed a role of an Olympic Coach. It's a lot of responsibilities. My baby Joanna was only 8 months old, our business was fast growing and my presence was necessary. But who can say "No" to the Olympic Games??? Not me!
So Michelle moved to Jacksonville. She lived with us and we trained every day 4-5 hours a day. Everything was going very well. Routines were challenging, difficult and original. Michelle was getting strong, consistent and confident! We were planning to travel to Los Angeles together.
But right before we were ready to leave, I received a phone call from the US Gymnastics Federation informing me that there is going to be only one coach representing the US on the Olympic Games and it's going to be Alla Svirsky, coach from Los Angeles.
So, I could not go...I was heartbroken, Michelle was very upset, but I told her that Alla is a very good and experienced coach and she will be in good hands. And all Michelle needs is confidence and positive attitude! I did my job. Michelle was ready!
So in July 1984, Michelle left for Los Angeles. My heart, my thoughts and my spirit was with her. I was so proud of her!!!
|One of many newspaper articles: "The Florida Times-Union/Jacksonville Journal" July 7, 1984|
|Michelle Berube ~ 1984 Olympic Games ~ 14th AA|