Olympic Competitor nr 4028
Olympic Competitor nr 1668
B. 1934-12-27, Kherson, Ukraine
Gymnastics (9 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze)
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This spectacular gymnast took nine Olympic titles (a record equalled by
Mark Spitz and only exceeded by
Ray Ewry - when counting the interim games of
1906), five silver and four bronze medals (an absolute record 18).
Her complete record shows her domination of the sport between her debut in 1954 and her retirement twelve years later. In Olympic, World and European Championships she took twenty-four gold medals, fifteen silver and five bronze. What makes this feat even more astonishing is that her career was interrupted by her giving birth to two children.
Mrs Latynina was renowned for her technical proficiency. Her ease in moving from one intricate position to another gave the sport a new concept. Moreover her desire for perfection meant that she kept on improving, forcing her contemporaries to raise their standard as well. Her best event, the floor excercises, in which she won three Olympic gold medals, emphasised this grace of movement. Her efforts and example firmly established the USSR's prominence in the women's branch of the sport.
Written 2000-12-22 - last modified 2011-08-14
This page is part of the site "Full Olympians" by Herman De Wael. See here for a full Introduction.