The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Gymnasts of all time. This list of famous Gymnasts is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Gymnasts.
With an HPI of 53.41, Nikolai Andrianov is the most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 38 different languages on wikipedia.
Nikolai Yefimovich Andrianov (Russian: Никола́й Ефи́мович Андриа́нов; 14 October 1952 – 21 March 2011) was a Soviet and Russian gymnast. He held the record for men for the most Olympic medals at 15 (7 gold medals, 5 silver medals, 3 bronze medals) until Michael Phelps surpassed him at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Andrianov is the third athlete (male or female) in cumulative Olympic medals after Phelps's 28 and Larisa Latynina's 18. Andrianov won the most medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics with 6 individual medals and one team medal. Within the sport of Men's Artistic Gymnastics, he also holds the men's record for most individual Olympic medals (12) and shares the male record for most individual Olympic gold medals in gymnastics (6) with Boris Shakhlin and Dmitry Bilozerchev (the latter of which only if you count the 1984 Alternate Olympics). In many other rankings among all-time medal winners at the Olympic, World, and European levels, he ranks very high (for example, he is second only to Vitaly Scherbo in total individual medal counts at either the gold level or any level at the combined Olympic and World levels as well as at the combined Olympic, World, and European levels), easily making him one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time.
With an HPI of 53.02, Boris Shakhlin is the 2nd most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.
Boris Anfiyanovich Shakhlin (Russian: Борис Анфиянович Шахлин; 27 January 1932 – 30 May 2008) was a Soviet gymnast who was the 1960 Olympic all-around champion and the 1958 all-around World Champion. He won a total of 13 medals including seven gold medals at the Summer Olympics, and was the most successful athlete at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He held the record for most Olympic medals by a male athlete record until gymnast Nikolai Andrianov won his 14th and 15th medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. He also won 14 medals at the World Championships.
With an HPI of 46.39, Yuri Titov is the 3rd most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Yuri Yevlampiyevich Titov (Russian: Юрий Евлампиевич Титов; born 27 November 1935) is a former Russian gymnast, Olympic champion and four times world champion, who competed for the Soviet Union. He won a total of nine Olympic medals from three Olympic games (1956, 1960 and 1964).
With an HPI of 45.95, Valentin Muratov is the 4th most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Valentin Ivanovich Muratov (Russian: Валентин Иванович Муратов, 30 July 1928 – 6 October 2006) was a Russian gymnast and gymnastics coach. He competed at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics in all artistic gymnastics event and won four gold and one silver medal. He also won four gold medals at the 1954 world championships, sharing the all-around gold medal with Viktor Chukarin and the floor gold medal with Masao Takemoto.
With an HPI of 45.81, Veikko Huhtanen is the 5th most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Veikko Aarne Aleks Huhtanen (5 June 1919 – 29 January 1976) was a Finnish artistic gymnast. He was the most successful gymnast at the 1948 Summer Olympics by taking home five medals, including three gold medals. In the pommel horse event Huhtanen and two other Finns, Heikki Savolainen and Paavo Aaltonen, had the same score and the gold medal was shared between the three.Huhtanen won two silver medals at the 1950 World Championships, in horizontal bar and with a team. Domestically he won only one individual title, in horizontal bar in 1948. Huhtanen retired after failing to qualify for the 1952 Olympics. He later worked as a machine operator in a factory and remained involved with gymnastics as a referee.
With an HPI of 45.30, Yelena Shushunova is the 6th most famous Gymnast. Her biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Yelena Lvovna Shushunova (Russian: Елена Львовна Шушунова; sometimes spelled Elena Shushunova; 23 May 1969 – 16 August 2018) was a Soviet Russian gymnast. Shushunova was one of five women (alongside Larisa Latynina, Věra Čáslavská, Ludmilla Tourischeva and Lilia Podkopayeva) who have won all-around titles at all major competitions: Olympics, World Championships and European/Continental Championships and one of ten women who medaled on every event at World Championships. Shushunova was renowned for pioneering complex skills as well as for her explosive and dynamic tumbling and high consistency.
With an HPI of 45.19, Mikhail Voronin is the 7th most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Mikhail Yakovlevich Voronin (Russian: Михаил Яковлевич Воронин; 26 March 1945 – 22 May 2004) was a Soviet and Russian gymnast who competed for the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He won seven medals, including two gold, at the 1968 Summer Olympics, as well as two silver medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
With an HPI of 44.80, Svetlana Khorkina is the 8th most famous Gymnast. Her biography has been translated into 30 different languages.
Svetlana Vasilyevna Khorkina (Russian: Светлана Васильевна Хоркина; born 19 January 1979) is a retired Russian artistic gymnast. She competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the 2004 Summer Olympics. During her career, Khorkina won seven Olympic medals and twenty World Championship medals. Over time, she medaled in every event at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. She was also the first gymnast to win three all-around titles at the World Championships and only the second female artistic gymnast ever, after Nadia Comăneci, to win three European All-Around titles. Khorkina is regarded as one of the most successful female gymnasts of all time.At the opening ceremony of the 2019 Winter Universiade she lit the fire, together with bandy player Sergey Lomanov.
With an HPI of 44.76, Viktor Klimenko is the 9th most famous Gymnast. His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.
Viktor Yakovlevich Klimenko (Russian: Виктор Яковлевич Клименко, born 25 February 1949) is a retired Russian gymnast. He competed for the Soviet Union at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics and won a team silver medal on each occasion. Individually he earned a bronze medal in parallel bars in 1968, as well as a gold medal in pommel horse and a silver medal in vault in 1972. At the world championships Klimenko collected four medals in 1970–1974. His wife Larisa Petrik is also a former Olympic gymnast.
With an HPI of 44.67, Larisa Petrik is the 10th most famous Gymnast. Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Larisa Leonidovna Petrik (Russian: Лариса Леонидовна Петрик; born 28 August 1949) is a former Soviet gymnast and Olympic champion. Petrik competed at the 1966 World Championships where she shared in the team silver medal (gold went to the Czechoslovaks) and earned an individual bronze medal on the beam. She also competed at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where she received a gold medal in floor exercise (shared with Věra Čáslavská), a gold medal in team combined exercises, and a bronze medal in balance beam. Her gold medal on floor was very controversial because originally, Čáslavská won outright. After the competition was concluded, Petrik's prelims scores were changed to let her tie with Čáslavská, an action which caused Čáslavská to publicly defy the Soviets who had recently invaded her home country.After marrying the Olympic gymnast Viktor Klimenko she changed her last name to Klimenko (Russian: Клименко). She has two sons: Vladimir and Viktor; Vladimir is a gymnast and Viktor is a ballet dancer.
Pantheon has 36 people classified as gymnasts born between 1913 and 2005. Of these 36, 28 (77.78%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living gymnasts include Yuri Titov, Svetlana Khorkina, and Viktor Klimenko. The most famous deceased gymnasts include Nikolai Andrianov, Boris Shakhlin, and Valentin Muratov. As of April 2022, 11 new gymnasts have been added to Pantheon including Viktor Klimenko, Aleksanteri Saarvala, and Tamara Lazakovich.
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Which Gymnasts were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 8 most globally memorable Gymnasts since 1700.