Black Gymnasts in History: Betty Okino


Read our profile of Betty from 2016: 

Betty Okino – what a wonderful and elegant gymnast!

Long limbs can often be a challenge in artistic gymnastics- but when that challenge is overcome it makes for long lines, extension for days and very pretty routines.

Betty’s gymnastics was a delight to watch. On top of that she had some serious tricks up her leotard sleeve. The Okino is a triple turn on the balance beam. To the envy of most female artistic gymnasts who are always relieved to get that dreaded single turn on beam over with – Betty was spinning away.

It was not just the beam; Betty was incredibly successful on all of the events. Please take the time to read this interview from 2014, it is very informative:

At the 1992 Olympics, I was the rhythmic analyst for NBC and the sideline artistic gymnastics reporter (anyone remember the Triple cast?). Compulsories were still in the competition, which made for some pretty long days. The gymnasts would pass by me many times and I remember Betty and Kim asking (whispering) me if I had any candy stashed away that I could give them :).

No candy but Betty got her hardware winning a Team Bronze Medal – starting quite a trend, with the USA Women’s Gymnastics Team winning Team Olympic Medals in every Olympic Games from then on.

Betty Okino, we are delighted to feature you in our Black Gymnasts in History Project.

Watch Betty in action performing on the balance beam routine at the 1991 American Cup



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