Maria Filatova is a retired Soviet gymnast who competed at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games and 1980 Lake Placid Olympics…..after beginning to compete for the USSR junior team in 1974…..when in 1976, she placed fourth at the USSR National Championships…..while competing well in various international events.
Filatova was originally named as an alternate to the Soviet team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. However, during podium training, she received such a positive reaction from the crowd that she was added to the team roster. She shared in the team gold medal and was ranked ninth overall after the team competition. Because four of her teammates scored higher than she did and only three gymnasts per team were allowed to compete in the all-around, she did not advance to the AA finals in spite of her high placement.
Following the Olympics and the retirements of several high-profile gymnasts, including Ludmilla Tourischeva and Olga Korbut……that is when Filatova emerged as one of the leaders of the Soviet team. She won the World Cup in 1977….as seen in this video herewith…..and again in 1978…..the USSR Nationals in 1977…..and the Riga International meet in 1977 and 1979. At the 1980 Olympics, Filatova served as the lead-off gymnast on several events….and contributed to the team’s gold medal. She continued to the 1981 World Championships,….where she was the silver medalist in the all-around.
British journalist David Hunn referred to Filatova as a “fifteen-year-old in the Korbut tradition”….and as Korbut, Filatova was known for her enthusiastic, expressive floor exercise routines and her difficult acrobatic skills. She was one of the first female gymnasts to successfully complete a double back somersault on floor in 1975.