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Larisa Latynina

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Larisa Latynina
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Latynina at the 1964 Olympic Games

Full name

Larisa Semyonovna Latynina

Country represented

800px-Flag of the Soviet Union USSR

Born

Larisa Semyonovna Diriy
December 27, 1934 (age 79)
Kherson, Ukrainian SSR, USSR

Club

Burevestnik Voluntary Sports Society

Current status

Retired

Larisa Semyonovna Latynina (Russian: Лари́са Семёновна Латы́нина; born December 27, 1934 in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR) is a Russian-Ukrainian and former Soviet gymnast who was the only female athlete to win nine Olympic gold medals. Her total of 18 Olympic medals was a record for 48 years until surpassed by American swimmer Michael Phelps on July 31, 2012. Although Phelps broke her total medal count record, her record for individual event medals (14) still stands. She is credited with helping to establish the Soviet Union as a dominant force in gymnastics.

Early Life

Born Larisa Semyonovna Diriy (Лариса Семёновна Дирий), she first practiced ballet, but turned to gymnastics after her choreographer moved out of town. She graduated from high school in 1953 and moved to Kiev to attend the Lenin Polytechnic Institute and continue training. There Latynina trained at the Burevestnik Voluntary Sports Society. At the age of 19, she debuted internationally at the 1954 Rome World Championships, winning the gold medal in the team competition.

Gymnastics Career

At the 1956 Summer Olympics, she competed with Ágnes Keleti of Hungary to become the most successful gymnast of the Olympics. Latynina beat Keleti in the all-around event, and the Soviet team also won the team event. In the event finals, Latynina won gold medals on the floor (shared with Keleti) and vault, a silver medal on the uneven bars, and a bronze medal in the now discontinued team event with portable apparatus. Keleti also won six medals: four golds and two silvers. After a very successful World Championships in 1958 (winning five out of six titles despite competing whilst pregnant), Latynina was the favorite for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. In the all-around event she led the Soviet Union to take the first four places, thereby also securing a win in the team competition by a margin of nine points. Latynina also successfully defended her floor title, took silver medals in the balance beam and uneven bars events, and bronze in the vault competition.

Latynina won all-around titles at the 1962 World Championships, beating Věra Čáslavská of Czechoslovakia. Still the defending World Champion at the 1964 Summer Olympics, she was beaten by Čáslavská in the all-around competition. Latynina did however add two more gold medals to her tally, winning the team event and the floor event both for the third time in a row. A silver medal and two bronzes in the other apparatus events brought her total of Olympic medals to eighteen — nine gold medals, five silver and four bronze. She won a medal in every event in which she competed, except for the 1956 balance beam where she came fourth. Her nine gold medals makes her second on the list of most Olympic gold medalists together with Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi, only behind Michael Phelps, who has 18; she held the distinction of having more Olympic gold medals (either individually or with a team) than anybody ever, from 1964 to 2008, until Michael Phelps beat her record. She is the only woman to have won nine gold medals. She is also the only female athlete who at some point has held the record for most Olympic gold medals. Additionally, within the sport of gymnastics, she is the only woman who has won an all-around medal in more than 2 Olympiads and the only woman who has won an individual event (floor exercise) in more than 2 Olympiads (1956, 1960, and 1964 for both of those accomplishments), one of only three women who have won every individual event at either the world or olympic level in every individual event, and she holds many other such distinguishing records.

Retirement

Latynina retired after the 1966 World Championships and became a coach for the Soviet national gymnastics team, a position she held until 1977. She organized the gymnastics competition at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and around the year 2000 appeared in the "Soviet Sports Wars" episode of the PBS documentary The Red Files, discussing her experiences as a gymnast and Soviet coach.

She is a citizen of Russia, and lives in her estate near the town Semenovskoye, Moscow region.

Medal Count

Year Event TF PA AA VT UB BB FX
1953USSR Championships1st2nd
1954Rome World Championships1st
1955USSR Championships1st2nd
1956Melbourne Olympic Games1st3rd1st1st2nd1st
USSR Cup1st3rd1st2nd2nd
USSR Championships2nd41st2nd1st
1957Bucharest European Championships1st1st1st1st1st
USSR Cup51st1st
USSR Championships2nd2nd
1958Moscow World Championships1st1st1st1st1st2nd
1960Rome Olympic Games1st1st3rd2nd2nd1st
USSR Cup2nd
USSR Championships3rd2nd
1961Leipzig European Championships1st2nd2nd1st
USSR Cup1st2nd1st3rd1st
USSR Championships3rd1st1st1st3rd3rd
1962Prague World Championships1st1st2nd3rd2nd1st
USSR Cup2nd
USSR Championships (May)2nd2nd
USSR Championships (November)51st
1963Porto Alegre Summer Universiade2nd1st
USSR Championships2nd2nd2nd3rd
1964Tokyo Olympic Games1st2nd2nd3rd3rd1st
USSR Cup3rd2nd1st4
USSR Championships2nd
1965Sofia European Championships2nd3rd2nd2nd2nd
1966Dortmund World Championships2nd
USSR Cup53rd


Olympic All-Around Champions
Maria GorokhovskayaLarisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciElena DavydovaMary Lou RettonElena ShushunovaTatiana GutsuLilia PodkopayevaAndreea Răducan* Simona AmânarCarly PattersonNastia LiukinGabby Douglas


Olympic Vault Champions
Ekaterina KalinchukLarisa LatyninaMargarita NikolaevaVěra ČáslavskáKarin JanzNellie KimNatalia ShaposhnikovaEcaterina SzaboSvetlana BoginskayaLavinia Miloşovici | Henrietta ÓnodiSimona AmânarElena ZamolodchikovaMonica RoşuHong Un-JongSandra Izbaşa


Olympic Floor Exercise Champions
Agnes KeletiAgnes Keleti | Larisa LatyninaLarisa LatyninaVěra Čáslavská | Larisa PetrikOlga KorbutNellie KimNellie Kim | Nadia ComăneciEcaterina SzaboDaniela SilivaşLavinia MiloşoviciLilia PodkopayevaElena ZamolodchikovaCătălina PonorSandra IzbaşaAly Raisman


World All-Around Champions
Vlasta DěkanováHelena RakoczyGalina RudkoLarisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáLudmilla TourischevaElena MukhinaNellie KimOlga BicherovaNatalia YurchenkoElena Shushunova | Oksana OmelianchikAurelia DobreSvetlana BoginskayaKim ZmeskalShannon MillerLilia PodkopayevaSvetlana KhorkinaMaria OlaruSvetlana KhorkinaChellsie MemmelVanessa FerrariShawn JohnsonBridget SloanAliya MustafinaJordyn WieberSimone Biles


World Vault Champions
Vlasta DěkanováHelena Rakoczy • Anna Petersen • Larisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáErika ZucholdOlga KorbutNellie KimDumitriţa TurnerMaxi GnauckBoriana StoyanovaElena ShushunovaOlesya DudnikLavinia MiloşoviciHenrietta ÓnodiElena PiskunGina GogeanSimona Amânar | Lilia PodkopayevaGina GogeanSimona AmânarElena ZamolodchikovaSvetlana KhorkinaElena ZamolodchikovaOksana ChusovitinaCheng FeiKayla WilliamsAlicia SacramoneMcKayla MaroneyHong Un-Jong


World Uneven Bars Champions
Vlasta Děkanová | Matylda Pálfyová • Anna Petersen | Gertchen Kolar • Agnes KeletiLarisa Latynina • Irina Pervushina • Natalia KuchinskayaKarin JanzAnnelore ZinkeMarcia FrederickMa YanhongMaxi GnauckGabriele FaehnrichDörte Thümmler | Daniela SilivaşDaniela Silivaş | Fan Di • Kim Gwang-SukLavinia MiloşoviciShannon MillerLuo LiSvetlana KhorkinaSvetlana Khorkina | Elena PiskunSvetlana KhorkinaCourtney KupetsChellsie Memmel | Hollie ViseNastia LiukinBeth TweddleKsenia SemenovaHe KexinBeth TweddleViktoria KomovaHuang HuidanYao Jinnan


World Balance Beam Champions
Vlasta DěkanováHelena RakoczyKeiko TanakaLarisa LatyninaEva BosákováNatalia KuchinskayaErika ZucholdNellie KimLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciVera CernaMaxi GnauckOlga MostepanovaDaniela SilivaşAurelia DobreDaniela SilivaşSvetlana BoginskayaKim ZmeskalLavinia MiloşoviciShannon MillerMo HuilanDina KochetkovaGina GogeanLing JieAndreea RăducanAshley PostellFan YeNastia LiukinIryna KrasnianskaNastia LiukinDeng LinlinAna PorgrasSui LuAliya MustafinaSimone Biles


World Floor Exercise Champions
Matylda Pálfyová • Helena RakoczyTamara ManinaEva BosákováLarisa LatyninaNatalia KuchinskayaLudmilla TourischevaNellie Kim | Elena MukhinaEmilia EberleNatalia IlienkoEcaterina SzaboOksana OmelianchikDaniela Silivaş | Elena ShushunovaDaniela Silivaş | Svetlana BoginskayaCristina BontaşKim ZmeskalShannon MillerDina KochetkovaGina GogeanGina Gogean | Kui YuanyuanGina GogeanAndreea RăducanElena GómezDaiane Dos SantosAlicia SacramoneCheng FeiShawn JohnsonBeth TweddleLauren MitchellKsenia AfanasyevaSimone Biles


European All-Around Champions
Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kot • Larisa Latynina • Marjana Bilic • Věra ČáslavskáKarin JanzTamara Lazakovich | Ludmilla TourischevaLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciMaxi GnauckOlga BicherovaElena ShushunovaDaniela SilivaşSvetlana BoginskayaTatiana GutsuGina GogeanLilia PodkopayevaSvetlana KhorkinaAlina KozichMarine DebauveVanessa FerrariKsenia SemenovaAnna DementyevaAliya Mustafina


European Vault Champions
Larisa Latynina • Natalia Kot • Ute Starke • Solveig Egman • Věra ČáslavskáKarin JanzLudmilla TourischevaLudmilla Tourischeva | Angelika Hellmann • Nellie KimNadia ComăneciCristina GrigoraşOlga BicherovaElena ShushunovaSvetlana BoginskayaTatiana GutsuLavinia MiloşoviciSimona Amânar • Adrienn Varga • Simona AmânarNatalia ZiganshinaMonica RoşuFrancesca Benolli • Anna Grudko • Carlotta Giovannini • Oksana ChusovitinaAriella KaeslinEkaterina KurbatovaSandra IzbaşaGiulia Steingruber


European Uneven Bars Champions
Larisa LatyninaPolina Astakhova • Thea Belmer • Věra ČáslavskáKarin JanzTamara LazakovichLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciNadia Comăneci | Elena MukhinaElena MukhinaMaxi GnauckEcaterina SzaboElena Shushunova | Oksana OmelianchikDaniela SilivaşHenrietta ÓnodiSvetlana Boginskaya | Natalia Kalinina | Mirela PaşcaTatiana GutsuSvetlana KhorkinaSvetlana Khorkina | Simona Amânar | Lilia PodkopayevaSvetlana KhorkinaÉmilie Le PennecBeth TweddleDariya ZgobaKsenia SemenovaBeth TweddleViktoria KomovaAliya MustafinaBecky Downie


European Balance Beam Champions
Larisa LatyninaVěra ČáslavskáPolina Astakhova • Eva Rydell • Věra ČáslavskáKarin JanzTamara LazakovichLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciElena MukhinaNatalia ShaposhnikovaMaxi GnauckLavinia AgacheOksana OmelianchikDaniela SilivaşGabriela Potorac | Olesya DudnikSvetlana BoginskayaGina GogeanRoza GaliyevaYevgeniya KuznetsovaSvetlana KhorkinaLudmila EzhovaCătălina PonorYulia LozhechkoKsenia SemenovaYana DemyanchukAmelia RaceaAnna DementyevaCătălina PonorLarisa IordacheMaria Kharenkova


European Floor Exercise Champions
Larisa LatyninaPolina AstakhovaLarisa Latynina • Marjana Bilic • Věra ČáslavskáOlga KarasyovaLudmilla TourischevaNadia ComăneciMaria Filatova | Elena MukhinaNadia ComăneciMaxi GnauckLavinia AgacheElena ShushunovaDaniela SilivaşDaniela Silivaş | Svetlana BoginskayaLilia PodkopayevaLilia Podkopayeva | Lavinia MiloşoviciCorina UngureanuLudivine Furnon • Alona Kvasha • Cătălina PonorIsabelle SeverinoSandra IzbaşaVanessa FerrariSandra IzbaşaBeth TweddleSandra IzbaşaLarisa IordacheKsenia AfanasyevaLarisa Iordache | Vanessa Ferrari

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