1980sABCGymnasticsHighlightsJim McKayWide World of Sports

Gymnastics – 1980 – Exhibition In NYC – Womens Floor Exercise – ROM Emilia Eberle – With Jim McKay

Emilia Eberle is a retired Romanian gymnast of German-Hungarian descent…..who took up gymnastics at the age of 7….while following her mother into the sport…..when at the time she was coached by Judita Varkony and Pavel Rosenfeld….and later like Nadia Comaneci, Daniela Silva and other great Romanian gymnasts, was trained by Béla Károlyi and Márta Károlyi….before they defected from Romania to the United States in 1981…..when she was included to the national team in 1976…..and later became the first female Romanian gymnastics star to succeed Nadia Comăneci. She was often in Comăneci’s shadow because, for the greater part of Eberle’s career, they competed together.  Despite this, she made a name for herself….while garnering 13 individual medals at the European, world and Olympic level…..with the most notable among her accomplishments being winning the floor exercise at the 1979 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships ahead of USSR Nelli Kim and DDR Maxi Gnauck….as well as earning a silver medal on uneven bars at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics….where she was narrowly edged out by Gnauck.

Eberle was also on the gold-medal-winning team at the 1979 World Championships….when despite a fall on the balance beam in the team optional segment of the competition….as her other scores were strong enough to keep the Romanian team in contention for the gold with the Soviet team. Ultimately, her compatriot Comăneci came back from an injury, taking only the compulsory segment of the team competition….and competed on the beam….where she earned a high score of 9.95, allowing the Romanians to drop Eberle’s lower score and win the gold medal…..which was a rare victory for the Romanians over the Soviet team….and one of the Soviets’ only three World Championship or Olympic title losses between 1952…..when a full women’s gymnastics program was first held at the Olympic Games…. and 1992, which was the last appearance of the unified Soviet team (under the guise of the Commmonwealth of Independent States. 

Although a strong gymnast all-around….Emilia Eberle won all-around silver medals at the 1979 World Cup and European Championships…..and was especially noted for her work on the uneven bars….where her routines varied greatly from year to year and even from competition to competition…..when she often included very quick and unusual transitions from one bar to the other.


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