from the IG photo files…
EILEEN LANGSLEY/IG ( 3); JEFF SIPSEY (PORTRAIT)
THE balance beam mount of sideways press to handstand and lower to straddled planche helped Armine
Barutyan tie for third all-around at the inaugural Belgian
Gym Masters in 1985. The Armenian gymnast, who represented the USSR national team from 1978-87, also won
vault at that meet, despite a certain lack of preparation.
“I was in bed sick for two weeks before that competition,” recalls Barutyan-Fong, who now coaches with husband Al Fong at Great American Gymnastics Express in
Missouri (top inset). “We didn’t want to turn [the invita-tion] down, because once you’re on the national team, especially back in that era with the Soviet Union, you’re always
fighting for a position.”
Looks like Barutyan had little trouble fighting to hold
her excellent planche position, which is something rarely
seen today. “I used to be very strong,” she says.