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Erika Zuchold
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L0817-0321, Erika Zuchold.jpg
Zuchold at the 1972 Olympic Games

Country represented

Flag of East Germany.png East Germany


Erika Barth
March 19, 1947
Lucka, East Germany


August 29, 2015 (age 68)
Asunción, Paraguay

Current status


Erika Zuchold (née Barth; born 19 March 1947 in Lucka, died 29 August in Asuncion), is a former East German gymnast who competed at the European, World, and Olympic level from the mid 1960s to early 1970s.

She, along with Karin Janz, was one of the two most significant (in terms of medals won at major championships) female German gymnasts of her era, co-leading, with Janz, the East German team to both the Team Bronze at the 1968 Olympics and improving upon that, again with Janz, to win the Team Silver at the 1972 Olympics.

Among her many successes, her highlight came at the 1970 World Championships where she placed 2nd in the Individual All-Around behind the Soviet Ludmilla Tourischeva and returned to win Gold on both Vault and Balance Beam in event finals, the latter of which being a fairly controversial win over second-place American Cathy Rigby. Also, the period in-between the 1968 and 1972 Olympics saw Zuchold and Tourischeva being the only two gymnasts to win spots on the Individual All-Around podium at every European and World Championships during that time period (1969 Europeans - 1970 Worlds - 1971 Europeans).

Quite notably, Zuchold is credited as being the first woman to compete the flick-flack element on balance beam at a Worlds or Olympics, at the 1966 World Championships, as well as being one of the first two women, along with Věra Čáslavská at the 1968 Olympics, to compete a front handspring on balance beam.

In her post-gymnastics career, she explored a number of diverse activities and careers, including being a trapeze artist, a curator, an educator, and an abstract painter.

In 2005, Zuchold was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. She passed away on August 29, 2015 in Paraguay.[1]

Medal Count

Year Event TF AA VT UB BB FX
1964 East German Championships 1st 4 2nd 1st 1st
1965 East German Championships 2nd 1st 3rd
1966 East German Championships 1st 1st 6 1st 2nd
Dortmund World Championships 2nd
1967 East German Championships 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 1st
Amsterdam European Championships 2nd
1968 East German Championships 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 1st
Mexico City Olympic Games 3rd 2nd
1969 East German Nationals 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
Landskrona European Championships 2nd
1970 Ljubljana World Championships 2nd 2nd 1st 1st
1971 Minsk European Championships 3rd 3rd 3rd 3rd
1972 Munich Olympic Games 2nd 2nd 3rd


World Vault Champions
Vlasta DěkanováHelena Rakoczy • Anna Petersen • Larisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáErika ZucholdOlga KorbutNellie KimDumitriţa TurnerMaxi GnauckBoriana StoyanovaElena ShushunovaOlesya DudnikLavinia MiloşoviciHenrietta ÓnodiElena PiskunGina GogeanSimona Amânar | Lilia PodkopayevaGina GogeanSimona AmânarElena ZamolodchikovaSvetlana KhorkinaElena ZamolodchikovaOksana ChusovitinaCheng FeiKayla WilliamsAlicia SacramoneMcKayla MaroneyHong Un-JongMaria PasekaSimone Biles

World Balance Beam Champions
Vlasta DěkanováHelena RakoczyTanaka KeikoLarisa LatyninaEva BosákováNatalia KuchinskayaErika ZucholdNellie KimLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciVera CernaMaxi GnauckOlga MostepanovaDaniela SilivaşAurelia DobreDaniela SilivaşSvetlana BoginskayaKim ZmeskalLavinia MiloşoviciShannon MillerMo HuilanDina KochetkovaGina GogeanLing JieAndreea RăducanAshley PostellFan YeNastia LiukinIryna KrasnianskaNastia LiukinDeng LinlinAna PorgrasSui LuAliya MustafinaSimone BilesPauline SchaeferLiu TingtingSimone Biles