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NAWGJ Hall of Fame



Margit "Grete" Treiber


NAWGJ Hall of Fame Inductee in 1980.
Coach and Judge. Born in Hodmezovasarhely, Hungary. Began teaching PE and coaching at Indiana State University in 1960, (started the gymnastics team in 1965 and retired 43 years later. Twice named the winner of the women's "National Coach of the Year" Grete led the Sycamore Women's Gymnastic team to the AIAW Nationals on several occasions.

She worked with United States' teams as a coach, judge and manager for Olympic, Pan-American Games and World University game competitions. Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame 1984. Treiber was also named the Head Coach for the women’s team at the World University Games, Torino, Italy, (1972).

Inducted into the USAG Hall of Fame in 1988

Janet Bachna

Inducted into the greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1984. Manager for the US Olympic Team in 1960.

From the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame
A prominent figure in women’s modern gymnastics on the local, state and national levels for 30 years, she was manager for the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team, and served as an official, judge and chair woman or meet director at every AAU national championship, Olympic Trials and World Games Trials for women’s gymnastics form 1954 through 1970. Started the Cleveland-area AAU Junior Olympics gymnastics into the educational system at an AAHPER national convention that year. Awarded a Lifetime Membership in the Ohio Gymnastics Association in 1982 for service to the sport in Ohio.

Further reading:
Janet Bachna Kent State Gymnastics
Kent State Bachna Retirement Newspaper Announcement
Service Excellence Award from Ohio USA Gymnastics - 2012

Delene J. Darst

Inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1985
Born: February 19, 1940, Atlanta, Georgia. 


Delene is also a Lifetime Member of NAWGJ.

Read more about her extensive list of judging accomplishments at the following link:

Inducted into the USAG Hall of Fame in 1985.

Jackie Fie-Klein

Born: July 11, 1937.  Chicago, Illinois. Only American to become the President of FIG. Honored American Judge.

Started gymnastics at age four at the Lincoln Turners. U.S. National Team member 1955-1956. Olympian 1956.
Retired because of back injury.

Inducted into the USAG Hall of Fame in 1979.

Varina French

Involved with 1976/1980 Olympic Games - Gymnastics Rep to the IOC.

NAWGJ - Judges Certification Coordinator

Hit by a drunk driver 1994.
Pacific U, Oregon Hall of Fame Inductee

Varina French - Pacific Olympian
Gabrielle Williams



This story was originally published in the Summer 2004 edition of Pacific magazine - read more

For Varina Heinrich French ’56, M.S. ’65, the thrill of the Olympics didn’t come from competing, but rather from watching the athletes only inches away from making their mark on history. However, French, a leader in the women’s gymnastics in the U.S., has left her own legacy on the sport, having worked with three Olympic Games.

French’s first involvement with the Olympic Games was in 1976 and 1980 as a delegate representative for gymnastics in the International Olympic Committee. But it was in 1984, when she spent three weeks as an official at the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles, Calif., working for ABC Television, that she breathed in the sweat and chalk.

As a spotter for the television coverage, French spent the long days watching the gymnasts’ every move, knowing when the athletes competed and then keeping track of their scores. ABC Television technicians then relied on her to relay the information via headset so it could be passed on to viewers.

Watching many of the athletes succeed that she had worked with for years was a very gratifying aspect of the Olympic experience, she said. She was on the floor of the arena when Mary Lou Retton captured her gold medal in the all-around competition and again when the U.S. men’s team earned the gold in the overall team contest. “I got so excited watching,” French said. “When Mary Lou Retton threw that 10 vault, that was something else.”

French’s enthusiasm for sports started as a young woman. She enrolled at Pacific from Hillsboro High School and was one of the only a couple female physical education (PE) majors. Her role models were PE Special Instructor Jean Horner ’44, M.S. ’52, and Assistant Professor of Women’s PE Better Owen. After graduation, she taught in the Hillsboro Elementary District for a few years and then joined the Pacific PE department in 1961, where she spent 17 years teaching and coaching.

Although gymnastics wasn’t the focus for the University, French found her passion there. As the women’s sport began to take off around the country in the mid 1960s, she stepped into help and became enveloped in the enthusiasm and need for leadership and promotion. “It started coming so fast,” said her husband Harold “Dan” French ’56 M.S. ’64. “She got started right at the beginning on the ground floor.”

Varina French became a trained judge, reaching the sixth of seven levels of judging, allowing her to judge throughout the U.S. and foreign teams competing in the country. In addition, she began education programs for training judges, a need that increased exponentially as the sport grew in popularity.

Eventually in the 1970s, the University fielded a women’s gymnastics team for a few years. Although Varina French coached the team, she was already engrossed in the sport, conducting a women’s gymnastics camp for children in Forest Grove, judging competitions around the country and training judges. “I just loved the sport,” said Varina French. In 1974, she was elected vice president of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation Women’s Committee.

By the time she retired from Pacific, having coached volleyball, softball, track and field, and gymnastics, Varina French had set up a certification program for judges and had at lease one assistant in every state administer tests to judges, according to Dan French. “She was in charge of certifying every women judge in the U.S.,” he said. “ She knew everybody.”

When the couple left Forest Grove and moved to California Varina French was able to take her certification role with her. In 1979, her position with the U.S. Gymnastics Federation grew, and she took on media relations as the international press coordinator, working at large meets in the U.S., including the World Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Goodwill Games until 1990. Eventually in the mid 1980s, Varina French stopped judging, finding the training and media work kept her plenty busy.

Ten years after Varina French’s Los Angeles Olympic experience, her career came to a sudden halt after being hit by a drunk driver. The September 1994 car accident, which also involved her husband, put Varina French in a coma. After awakening, she had lost much of her memory and suffered brain damage. However, she still smiles and is delighted to share thought of her Olympic experiences and years working with women’s gymnastics. And, she admitted, she loves watching gymnastics on television.

Today, the couple, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, spends their time “following warm weather,” in an RV, according to Dan French. Their home for the past seven years, the RV’s walls are covered with photos and memorabilia of the couple’s years together and in the athletic arena.

Marty Gable

Coach and National and International Judge - (Rumored to have judged the 1952 Olympics, but not confirmed.) Philadelphia, PA-USA

Inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame 1978.




(photo: Jerry Wright)

Helen Sjursen

SCHIFANO-SJURSEN, Helen (1922-2007)
Inducted into the USAG Hall of Fame in 1974.

1948 Olympics - 2nd on Vault, London, England. (Team Bronze)
1939 4th AA at National AAU Championships
1941 Gold Parallel Bars at National AAU Championships
1946 Silver PB at National AAU Championships
1947-1948 Gold Vault at National AAU Championships

Helen wrote a column in Modern Gymnast magazine - see above photo. She also wrote many books including Girl’s Gymnastic Workbook for Physical Educators, Elementary and Secondary Schools: Beginners–Intermediate, (1966); Educational Gymnastics Balance Beam for Physical Educators and Competitors, (1966); Uneven Bars for Physical Educators and Competitors: Beginners to Advanced, (1967).

Helen is in the Who's Who and Who Was Who in American Gymnastics written by the late A. Bruce Fredrick.

Erna Wachtel

Erna was an American artistic gymnast, coach and judge. Born in Germany, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 19. She won multiple AAU gymnastics titles and was named an Honorary Olympic Team member for the 1944 games that were cancelled due to World War II. After retiring from competitions, Erna served as an international meet referee and national gymnastics coach, preparing the American women's gymnastics team for the 1956 Olympics. She was an advocate for judges throughout the country. As Meet Referee, she was famous for her directive to panel members: Scores please! Scores please!

Read more about her extensive list of judging accomplishments at the following link:

Inducted into the USAG Hall of Fame in 1974.




Sue Ammerman


Born: August 5, 1942

Began judging in 1967. National rating 1968 and Brevet in 1984. International and National judge. Read about Sue's extensive judging record at the following link:

Inducted into the USAG Hall of Fame in 2004.

Pat Panichas


Pat has been involved in many aspects of gymnastics, as a gymnast, coach and judge. She coached at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, CT for 28 seasons. NAWGJ Regional Judging Director and the USAG Regional Technical Committee Chair for Region 6. Judged the Beijing Olympics.

Myra Elfenbein


I first became interested in judging after the 1972 Olympics. I loved the sport and how acro and dance elements were combined. Our local coach (Carol Holden) was nice enough to let me help out with our recreational gymnastics team.

I thought with my dance background, having gone to the High School of Performing Arts In NYC, I might be able to help on floor and beam. Although these gymnasts were interested in dance, their main thrust was acro. If their main interest was dance they’d have been in dance class exclusively.

I became a judge in 1978 to show our gymnasts how correct dance would lead to a better score - USA Brevet judge for 28 years. Along the way, as with any judge, I had to learn to judge both bars vault, and acro. Although, at first this wasn’t easy, I eventually enjoyed judging those events as well.

Although born and raised in New York City, I now reside in Maryland and part time in Seattle, Washington.
I LOVE seeing the improvement in our gymnasts. It is a joy to watch.

Member of the Maryland State Board, Maryland State Judging director (8 years) and Region 7 Technical Committee Chairman for 16 years.

photo by Judy Hoeferlin

Marian Dykes


Region 8 RTC 1980 - Present
GA NAWGJ Board Member 1985 - Present
Georgia State Judging Director of Georgia 1977-1982
GA USA Gymnastics Committee 1996 - Present

NAWGJ Hall of Fame 2014
Region 8 USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame
Georgia USA Gymnastics Special Service Award
USA Gymnastics 35 year Service Award

My journey in gymnastics began in 1963 as a runner. My teacher needed runners for the AAU Nationals in Atlanta, GA. I was immediately hooked. As a college freshman, another random request resulted in me judging my first meet after purchasing a rule book and studying for one night.

Amazing how a chance offer has evolved into one of my greatest blessings. Somehow I know gymnastics was meant to find me. Gymnastics has given me the opportunity to travel the world, make lifelong friends, and invest my time and talents into a sport I believe in.

Over my journey with gymnastics, I have seen exciting growth of our sport and am proud of the progress and role we all play to ensure a strong legacy for future generations around the world.

Gymnastics has given me so much and I am humbled and hopeful that I have played but a small role in the positive evolution of our sport.

photo by Judy Hoeferlin

Evelyn Chandler


       About Evelyn

       You Tube Video: Evelyn Chandler 2019 NAWGJ Hall of Fame

Cheryl Hamilton


       About Cheryl

       You Tube Video: Cheryl Hamilton 2019 NAWGJ Hall of Fame