It may have been the ketchup or perhaps the lingering effects of flight, but the tour's first performance in Houston had some ragged moments. Olga's flips were brilliant, but elsewhere her timing seemed hurried. Turishcheva fell off the balance beam and curtailed the rest of her program. Even so, her floor exercises—a free program done to music—provided the evening's most lyrical sequence. The crowd gave her two ovations, then went back to chanting for Olga.
When it was all over, Smolevsky pronounced himself satisfied. "They will loosen up now; the Astrodome is not the ideal place for gymnastics. It is a sport of precision as well as strength." He is doubtless right that his proud athletes will loosen up, hunker down, or do whatever else is necessary to bring about perfection. Niagara may have to wait.