Inducted: 2007
Born: Los Angeles, California-USA


Prelude to Rhythmic Gymnastics

The history of Rhythmic Gymnastics can be traced as far back as 1814 by Per Henrik Ling. Ling promoted aesthetic gymnastics in which students expressed their feelings and emotions through bodily movement but it was still calisthenics without apparatus. Then it 1864 proponents of the activity began utilizing wooden hoops, light dumbbells, and Indian clubs. Indian clubs became a favorite exercise tool with entire books being written for club exercises. A rope was first used by a Swedish group around the 1930’s. The Hoop became more popular after a demonstration at the 1936 Olympic Games.

Ellen Nyemcsik was kind enough to also furnish the following: “The Floor event was called Exercise without Implement. It was a Rhythmic Gymnastics dance routine performed to music without using the apparatus. Exercise without Implement was part of FIG All Around competition years ago. But as the sport developed, the FIG eventually changed the program to 4 events using all 4 of the apparatus. All of our current USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic program competitors (in Levels 3-8) have this floor event as part of the regular All-Around competition today. Our USA gymnasts compete in the Floor event until they reach the FIG level (Levels 9-10). Then they compete only with the apparatus at these high levels.” (Elite

Valerie Zimring is another example of bad luck leading to great luck. She suffered a stress fracture in her back just as her talent was being recognized. She could no longer have the aspirations of being a great artistic gymnast, but she found that she could still perform on the other side of the gym with the rhythmic gymnasts; in fact, she could out perform them. So began the fruitful competitive life for Valerie in competitive rhythmic gymnastics.

Alarming Beginning: Valerie Zimring was fast becoming a talented Artistic gymnast even though she had been learning and training for only three years; however, at about 11 years of age, she found that she had a stress fracture in her back. She had just made the Class I level in Artistic gymnastics. Not to be diverted from a world she had come to love, she turned to Rhythmic gymnastics and became a shining star. In a 1985 “IG Interview” article, Valerie agreed that the change to rhythmic gymnastics was a blessing since she thought, that while her FX & BB were coming along, she never really had the aggressiveness that is required of tumbling and performing tricks. She said, “ . . . I think I’ve done a lot better in Rhythmic than I would have done in Artistic.” You can’t keep a good woman down is a phrase that isn’t used enough. USAG Junior Rhythmic Championships: Gold-AA, Rope, Ball and Clubs, (1978).  Olympic Games: Team member-rhythmic gymnast, Los Angeles, California-USA, (1984). World Championship: Team member-rhythmic gymnastics, Munich, Germany, (1981); Strasbourg, France, (1983). Valerie was a member of the U.S. Rhythmic National Team from 1979-85. USAG National Rhythmic Championships: Gold-AA & Hoops, (1984). Education: B.A at UCLA, (1989); M.A. in program-dance, UCLA, (1991). Keeping Perspective: In response to a question from the aforementioned “IG” interviewer about what she enjoyed best about her Rhythmic travels. Valerie told of a competition in Rio (de Janeiro), Brazil in 1980. “ . . . I loved it there because I love the beach. After the competition, the team was scheduled to tour the country. The tour was cancelled, and we had to stay on the beach.” She related this story suggesting that the beach was just fine with her. She also told of her love for travel but she likes the U.S. best. An admirable trait that Valerie exhibits is that she is extremely complimentary about her coach, Valla Svirsky, 1997 USGHOF Inductee. “Alla helped me not only physically doing the exercises and in choreographing the routines, but mentally she’s always been there for me to prepare myself before competition. She was always very positive, telling me to prepare myself before competition.” She attributes her success to Svirsky’s ability to overcome the mental barrier that sometimes kept her from doing her best.  General: Zimring-Schneiderman has worked for NBC Sports as a technical advisor during two Olympic Games (1988, 1996) and has done television commentary work. Family: (m) Ross Schneiderman. Children: Zach and Will, both of whom have begun their teen-age lives.

Sources: International Gymnast’s “IG Interview”, (1985) that was shared by Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005 and USAG Press Release dated May 9, 2007. Introduction and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.

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