Lee Bjella 2015

Chapter 35


Laurel Tindall - insight from early 1970's -"final olympic selection trials -In those days they started with about 80 kids and had the first meet and cut the number to 40 and then had another elite national and cut the number to 20 and the final olympic trials was the top 20 and Debbie, Cleo, Janette and I competed in that. Then they took the top 10 to the training camp from there."


Jen Huffman - (WA coach) her grandfather was Joe Rantz- who was the number 7 man on the UW Rowing Team that won the 1936 Oympics. The book The Boys In The Boat, was written about the team.




Joyce Tanac 1968 Team. (Mexico City, Mexico.)




Al Fong, Gymnast at Renton HS; 2004 Coached Terin Humphrey/Courtney McCool, Athens
Coached Ivana Hong 2008 Olympics alternate

Brett McClure, member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team that won a silver medal in Athens.

Frank Lee, Olympic coach for Ghardi Gelenhuys in 2000 in Australia. Ghardi was representing her home nation of Namibia


Melanie Roach former Washington high school gymnast and owner of Roach Gymnastics, was in the 2008 Olympics and won 6th place in weight lifting. She was an alternate on the 2000 Olympic team.



Zdravko Stoianov
5-time Bulgarian National Champion and was on the Bulgarian 1984 Olympic Team. However, since Bulgaria boycotted the Olympics that year when they were held in the U.S., Bulgaria joined other Eastern bloc countires at The Freedom Games where Zdavko won a Bronze Medal. After an illustrious competitive career, he served two seasons as an assistant Head Coach of the Bulgarian National Woman's Gymnastics Team.

Erika Bakacs: born in Romania, she started Gymnastics at age 3 and became an International Elite/Olympics gymnast. Romanian National Team member: Career Highlights: Romanian National Champion, Coached by Bela & Marta Karolyi. Coaching Highlights: International Elite Coach, Elite on National Jr. Team: Highest Level Coached: International Elite, Olympic Figure Skating Coach - Tanya Hardings choreographer 1992. Education: BSN Education, Romania, Elite Level Judge: 2005 USAG's Washington State Optional Coach of the Year. Naydenov Gymnastics coach of 2014 Jr. Elite National Team Member Jordan Chiles.



Dimitri Taskov Born in Varna, Bulgaria, was an International Elite/Olympics and a Bulgarian National Team member.
Career Highlights: 20th All-around 1988 Olympics, Went to Worlds in 1987,1989 & 1991: Coaching Highlights: Coached Level 10 to Nationals; Education: Sports College, Bulgaria. Naydenov Gymnastics coach of 2014 Jr. Elite National Team Member Jordan Chiles.





Lu, Li
Chinese Olympian - 1992 Gold on Bars and Silver on Beam. Coach and judge in Washington State.






Yumi Mordre, Alternate on the 1984 Olympic Team.

Bob Levesque
Several Levesque-trained athletes have competed on the national and international level. Six of those were Olympians, including Tracee Talavera and Julianne McNamara from the United States. The others were Karen Kelsall (Canada, 1976 & 1980); Nancy Goldsmith (Israel, 1984); Tarella Javen (Finland, 1980) and Tatiana Fegieredo (Brazil, 1984). Tanya Chaplin Service, currently the head coach at Oregon State, and Leslie Pyfer, both competed in the world championships for the U.S. Five other gymnasts were members of national teams, including former UW national champion Yumi Mordre.

Jim Holt coached Iranian gymnast Nashwan al-Harazi, 2008 Beijing.

Dale McClements Kephart 1964 Olympic Asst. Coach, Tokyo. Top USA scorer; Judged 1968 Olympics; 1972 Manager/ Assistant Coach for Women's USA Olympic Team, Munich, Germany; 1976 Head Women's Coach USA Olympic Team, Montreal; Choreographed the 1984 Olympic Floor Exercise Compulsory Routine. 1988 Choregraphed the 1988 Olympic Balance Beam Compulsory Routine.

Carolyn "Ping" Pingatore Holmes Jr. AA Champ 1967. Was a George Lewis and Dale Shirley gymnast. 1968 Olympic Team alternate

Dale Shirley

George Lewis, coached Joyce, Dale, Doris Fuchs, Laurel Tindal.
Some top name girls came to Seattle in order to train with George, including Avis Tieber Jamieson and Doris Fuchs Brause.

Eric Hughes (founder of U.W. men's gymnastics program in 1950) was the Men' Asst. Coach, 1972, Munich, Germany Olympics. On his UW Men's team, he coached some international gymnasts - Mauno Nissinen, Sho Fukushima


Karen Wisen judged the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984

Dubi Lufi




Dubi Lufi   Exceptional WSU gymnast. Israeli Olympic Team Member 1976 and 1980.





Sergio Luna Sr.  Olympian for Ecuador in 1968. Coached at Jerry Penney's Christmas Camps in the 1970's. Franklin High School coach. His sons Sergio Jr.and Daniel became outstanding gymnasts.

Edwin Gross

In 2003 A little local controversy came up concerning Edwin Gross, who was the silver medallist in tumbling at the 1932 Olympics. The picture below, of his gravestone, (reprinted with permission from The Herald, Everett, Wash. Photo by Justin Best, Herald photographer) He is buried in a Lynnwood, WA. Cemetery. He was a gymnast in CA. Eric Hughes (U. of WA. men's coach) thought he remembered calling Edwin up in Edmonds, WA. in the early years of the U.W. team, and asked him to come and judge the U.W. men. He doesn't remember if he came or not.


(Edwins grave stone in Lynnwood, WA. Edwin T. Gross from 1932 Olympic Team picture.)


Eberhard Gienger coached at UW and Gymnastics Inc at SPU.




For our local gymnasts in the 1970's, Laurel Anderson Tindal writes: "Final Olympic Selection Trials. In those days they started with about 80 kids and had the first meet and cut the number to 40 and then had another Elite National and cut the number to 20 and the final Olympic Trials had the top 20. Debbie Hale, Cleo Carver Schreifels, Jeannette Boyd Anderson and I competed in that. From that meet, they took the top 10 to the training camp.


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