Elvira Saadi - Uzbekistan
Elvira Saadi may not have gained the fame of Soviet teammates such as Lyudmila Turischeva, Olga Korbut and Nellie Kim, but her sublime artistic contributions to the sport in its glory years are memorable.
Saadi's intensely feminine, dramatic style made her floor exercise routines appear more like theatrical performances. Along with requisite difficulty elements, Saadi entranced audiences with her sensual choreography and exotic dance style. She was no less charismatic than the stately Turischeva, pixyish Korbut and energetic Kim. Saadi became one with her selections; at the peak of her career, she performed to Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" and Bizet's "Carmen" in peerless blends of musical and character interpretation.
Although Saadi was a stunner on floor, she was also a proficient all-arounder. She finished eighth at the 1972 Munich Olympics, fourth at the 1974 World Championships in Varna, and seventh in prelims at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Saadi tied for the all-around bronze (behind Turischeva and Korbut) at the 1975 World Cup in London, where she won a medal in each of the four event finals.
Born Jan. 2, 1952, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Saadi continues to impact the sport as a coach. Her most famous protégée, Tatiana Groshkova, was a Soviet team sensation in the late 1980s/early '90s. In 1991 Saadi and her family relocated to Canada, where she has been coaching — and producing Olympians for her adopted homeland.
2009 INTERNATIONAL GYMNASTICS HALL OF FAME
Inducted as a member of the Class of 2009
1974 World Championships
Bronze: Floor Exercise