National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus
Vitaly Scherbo

Sport: Artistic Gymnastics

Born: 13 January 1972

Birthplace: Minsk

Honors:

Honored Master of Sport of the USSR

Honored Master of Sport of the Republic of Belarus

Holder of the Jesse Owens Award as the greatest athlete of 1992

Career highlights:

Six-time Olympic champion

Gold (team, all-around, rings, pommel horse, parallel bars, vault), Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, 1992

Bronze (all-around, horizontal bar, parallel bars, vault), Olympic Games in Atlanta, the United States, 1996

Gold (team), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, the United States, 1991

Silver (all-around, floor exercise, vault), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, the United States, 1991

Bronze (horizontal bar), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, the United States, 1991

Gold (pommel horse, rings), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Paris, France, 1992

Silver (floor exercise), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Paris, France, 1992

Gold (all-around, vault, parallel bars), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham, the UK, 1993

Silver (floor exercise), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Birmingham, the UK, 1993

Gold (floor exercise, vault, horizontal bar), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Brisbane, Australia, 1994

Bronze (all-around), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Brisbane, Australia, 1994

Gold (floor exercise, parallel bars), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Sabae, Japan, 1995

Silver (all-around), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Sabae, Japan, 1995

Bronze (vault), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Sabae, Japan, 1995

Gold (floor exercise), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1996

Silver (parallel bars), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1996

Bronze (horizontal bar), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1996

Two-time World Cup winner

Ten-time European champion, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996

Five-time silver medalist of the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships, 1992, 1994, 1996

Three-time bronze medalist of the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships, 1992, 1996

Five-time champion of the USSR Artistic Gymnastics Championships, 1990-1991

Two-time silver medalist of the USSR Artistic Gymnastics Championships, 1990-1991

Two-time champion of the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR, 1991

Three-time silver medalist of the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR, 1991

Three-time winner of the Goodwill Games, 1990

Biography:

Vitaly was brought to the gym by his mother who sought to channel her young son’s hyperactivity somewhere. She was a gymnast herself and took her son to her good friend Leonid Vydritsky. The coach could not say no to her although he was sure that Vitaly would not succeed because of his build. Scherbo however convinced the coach otherwise by making 10 pulls up on the bar and showing his leaping ability.

In the fourth grade, he was already performing the first-rank athletic program, with the pommel horse being the toughest apparatus for him to tame.

Until the fifth grade, Vitaly trained with Leonid Vydritsky in the Trudovye Rezervy sport center.

In the seventh grade, Vitaly was admitted at a sport residential school where he continued to hone his skills under the tutelage of Leonid Filipenko and Sergei Shinkar. By that time, the gymnast dreamed of getting into the junior national team.

In 1986, Vitaly did well at the USSR youth championships impressing everyone by his acrobatics. No other member of the national team had the jumps so high. However, in terms of routine complexity and physical strength, he was still lagging behind  many of his peers.

In 1989, he put up a good competition to high-profile members of the Soviet Union national team. Before the world championships, the team had many strong athletes and the head coach, Leonid Arkaev, had difficulty putting together the roster as the choice was really great.

The first big success came a year later. He was the first Belarusian to win three gold medals at the European championships. Moreover, he was awarded the highest score of 10.0 in the vault. Later on, at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, he won the all-around, the horizontal bar and the vault, and seemed to have booked a place to go to Barcelona. However, he remained on the sidelines of the national team for the next two years. Hardly could anyone, experts or fans, predict such an amazing success of the Belarusian gymnast. At least three more athletes could claim the gold medals in the all-round and apparatus events. In fact, the main medal hopefuls on the USSR team were Igor Korobchinsky, Valery Belenky and Grigory Misyutin.

No one doubted that the CIS Unified Team would snatch the team gold at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Vitaly was sure he would win gold in the floor exercise and in the vault. In Barcelona Vitaly got off to a golden start in the prestigious all-around. However, the gold eluded him in the floor exercise as he stepped beyond the carpet. But then he earned a string of gold medals: in the vault, the pommel horse, the rings and the parallel bars. Thus, on 2 August 1992, Vitaly set a unique achievement in the history of sport by winning four! Olympic gold medals on one day.

In 1993, Vitaly Scherbo bought a house in  Pennsylvania, United States, in the small town of State College. As a child, Vitaly went to a school with the advanced English language program. So moving to the United States was smooth language-wise. After the move Vitaly relaxed his training regimen, competed in commercial tournaments winning referee points and fans’ love.

In 1996, a few months before the Games in Atlanta, his wife, Irina, was involved in a serious car accident which left her in a coma. Vitaly then gave up gymnastics completely, to spend his days at his wife’s bedside. Several months before the Games, when his wife got better, he resumed training. Despite the difficult situation, the lack of proper amount of training, the new rules of gymnastics, Vitaly finished on the podium four times, this time in third place.

Even during the sport career, he dreamed of starting his own business, carefully hiding his plans from journalists. After the 1996 Olympics Vitaly Scherbo and his family moved to Las Vegas where he set up his own gymnastics school.

Now Vitaly lives in Las Vegas and trains young gymnasts in the Vitaly Scherbo School of Gymnastics. 



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