During her international career that spanned three Olympiads and 12 years, Larisa Latynina won a record 18 medals in Olympic competition. This total makes her the most decorated Olympian to date in any sport.
Born December 27, 1934 in Kherson, Ukraine, Latynina began her career on the Soviet national team under her maiden name, Dirii. At the '54 worlds, she placed 14th all-around.
After her marriage, she competed in the '56 Olympics, where she won golds in the all-around, on vault and floor (tie) and with her team, a silver on bars, and a bronze in the team drill event.
In '57, Latynina swept every event at the European championships; a year later, at the world championships, she nearly duplicated this feat with golds on every event except vault (silver). Remarkably, Latynina competed at these world championships while pregnant with her daughter Tanya, who was born 10 days before Latynina's 24th birthday.
|continued | Legends Home|
|© Copyright International GYMNAST Magazine|