Nellie Kim

By Hanna Collins Grade 8 Ligon Middle School

Nellie Kim has been thought to be one of the greatest gymnasts in the world. Nellie was born in Chimkent, South Central Asia, in 1957. Nellie's father was Korean. Her mother was a Tartar, a member of the Mongolian race.

Nellie was the oldest of three children, two girls and a boy. She was fun loving girl , she loved sweets and played lots of sports. Her favorite sports were swimming and ice skating. She also liked gymnastics which was offered in all Russian schools.

Nellie was a chubby 9 year old child when a gymnastics instructor (Vladimir Baiden) first saw her He was very impressed with Nellie grace and natural abilities. So he invited her to join his classes at the gymnastics school in Chimkent. She began a strict training routine.She worked about four hours a day, six hours a week.

In the beginning, she showed to be truly gifted in floor exercise. She was very good with routines of leaps ,spins, and tumbles. She was also good with dance steps. She also showed a lot of talent on the vault.

During a gymnastics meet the girls would compete for a score, 1 being the lowest 10 being the highest. She scored above the typical score to a high 9.90. During her training her coach noticed she was not easy to train. She always had to make the practice routine her own by adding a twist or a flip to it.

She also did not apply herself as much as she could so he brought in a better gymnast to compete with her. Nellie loved a challenge, but she also hated to lose. Her coach started to enter her in contest. She took first place in every one of them! Soon her fame spread and she was asked to join the Soviet Union's Youth Team. She and the champion of the team, Raisia Bichukina, became good friends.

In 1974 Nellie was asked to join the Soviet's national adult team. Raisia was asked to join, too. They joined the team with Ogla Korbut and Ludmila Tourischeva. Being on a team with them made her perform better. Nellie even outscored Ludmilla at the European Gymnastics Championship.

A year later Nellie tied Ogla at the Soviet Union 's People's Games. The Western world first heard about Nellie in the late 1970's when the Soviet Union's Team came and toured the United States. That is when Nellie and her friends had their fun shopping. When they returned to the Soviet Union they began to get ready for the Olympics.

At the Olympic games, Nadia Comaneci was Nellie's main competitor. She and Nellie both won 3 Gold medals. But only Nellie wore a smile on her face. Nellie and Nadia both won 3 perfect scores(10).

When Nellie returned from the Olympic's. She studied at the Institute of Physical Educations in Moscow . When she grows up she wants to be a sports instructor. Even though she now longer competes in Gymnastics she claims, "I could never live without Gymnastics."

By Hanna Collins
Grade 8 Ligon Middle School


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