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

Country represented

Flag of East Germany 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
1964East German Championships1st42nd1st1st
1965East German Championships2nd1st3rd
1966East German Championships1st1st61st2nd
Dortmund World Championships2nd
1967East German Championships2nd1st2nd1st1st
Amsterdam European Championships2nd
1968East German Championships1st2nd2nd1st1st
Mexico City Olympic Games3rd2nd
1969East German Nationals2nd2nd2nd2nd
Landskrona European Championships2nd
1970Ljubljana World Championships2nd2nd1st1st
1971Minsk European Championships3rd3rd3rd3rd
1972Munich Olympic Games2nd2nd3rd


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 RakoczyKeiko TanakaLarisa 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 Tingting

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