Tamara Manina
Tamara manina
Manina at the 1956 Olympic Games

Full name

Tamara Ivanovna Manina

Country represented

Flag of the Soviet Union USSR


September 16 1934 (1934-09-16) (age 83)
Petrozavodsk, Russian SFSR, USSR

Years on National Team


Current status


Tamara Ivanovna Manina (Russian: Тама́ра Ива́новна Ма́нина) (born September 16, 1934, Petrozavodsk) is a retired Soviet Olympic gymnast and a sports scientist. She competed for Burevestnik sports society, in Leningrad.

Her family lived in Petersburg (and later in Leningrad), but Manina was born in Petrozavodsk, where her father was on a long mission. During the German-Soviet War she was evacuated from besieged Leningrad into Tashkent. She returned into Leningrad in 1944 and began gymnastics at the Leningrad Young Pioneer Palace in the same year. She was called "Monia the bird" by groupmates for her graceful and light vaults.

Competing as a junior, she won the all-around title at the USSR Nationals in 1953, and became a candidate for the USSR team. In the same year Manina debuted at the senior USSR Championships, placing 12th in the all-around. Between 1953 and 1964 Manina successfully competed in many national and international events.

One of Manina's most successful performances took place at the 1954 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, where she earned several gold medals on vault, on the floor and in the team competition. At the 1956 Olympics she rivalled Ágnes Keleti, Larisa Latynina, as well as other strong competitors, and placed 6th in the all-around, but managed to win silver medals on vault and balance beam. She also contributed to the team's gold and bronze medals. The USSR team won more gold medals, than any other country at that year's Olympics. In one of her interviews Manina said, that the team had a very warm welcome everywhere in the USSR: on their way by train from Vladivostok to Moscow they were met with flowers on each small station, people organized solemn meetings and made a big fuss over them.

Although in the event finals of the 1958 Worlds Manina, apart from the gold in the team competition, won just one silver, on vault, she placed 3rd in the all-around to Latynina and Eva Bosáková. She missed the 1960 Summer Olympics due to an injury, but competed in the 1962 Worlds, contributing to the team's gold and winning the bronze on vault. At age 30 she went to the 1964 Summer Olympics and won the team's gold and silver on the balance beam. Finishing her competitive career, Manina seriously injured her ankle during the display competition in Vienna and was not able to continue trainings any more. She coached the French national team in 1975 and has been an international judge since 1971.

Manina is also known for her scientific activities. Since 1958 she studied at the Leningrad State Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics, graduating in 1965, defended a dissertation for the Candidate of Science degree at the Lesgaft State Institute of Physical Culture in 1969 and taught at the gymnastics department of the institute until 1973. Since 1975 she has been a professor at the Saint Petersburg State Art-Industrial Academy. She published more than forty scientific, methodical and popular science books.

Tamara Manina lives and works in Saint Petersburg. She is married and has a son.

Medal Count

1953USSR Junior Nationals1st
USSR Senior Championships 3rd121st
1954Rome World Championships1st1st1st
1955USSR Cup3rd
1956Melbourne Olympic Games1st3rd2nd2nd
USSR Cup3rd1st1st
USSR Championships3rd1st1st2nd
1957Bucharest European Championships2nd3rd
USSR Cup1st1st2nd
USSR Championships3rd4
1958Moscow World Championships1st3rd2nd
USSR Championships3rd4
1959Krakow European Championships2nd
USSR Cup1st2nd1st
1961Sofia Summer Universiade3rd
USSR Cup1st445
USSR Championships43rd
1962Prague World Championships1st3rd
1963USSR Cup3rd3rd1st2nd
USSR Championships3rd41st65
1964Tokyo Olympic Games1st2nd
USSR Cup443rd2nd
USSR Championships6

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 BilesMai Murakami