The Most Famous

GYMNASTS from United States

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This page contains a list of the greatest American Gymnasts. The pantheon dataset contains 370 Gymnasts, 23 of which were born in United States. This makes United States the birth place of the 4th most number of Gymnasts behind Sweden, and Romania.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Gymnasts of all time. This list of famous American 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 American Gymnasts.

Photo of Herman Glass

1. Herman Glass (1880 - 1961)

With an HPI of 44.83, Herman Glass is the most famous American Gymnast.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages on wikipedia.

Herman Theobald Glass (October 15, 1880 – January 13, 1961) was an American gymnast who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics. In 1904, he won the gold medal in the rings event.

Photo of Larry Nassar

2. Larry Nassar (b. 1963)

With an HPI of 42.59, Larry Nassar is the 2nd most famous American Gymnast.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Lawrence Gerard Nassar (born August 16, 1963) is an American serial child rapist and former family medicine physician. For 18 years, he was the team doctor of the United States women's national gymnastics team, where he used his position to exploit and sexually assault hundreds of young athletes. In 2016, Nassar was charged with sexually assaulting at least 265 young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. His victims included numerous Olympic and United States women's national gymnastics team gymnasts. Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on December 7, 2017, after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography and tampering with evidence on July 11, 2017. On January 24, 2018, Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 175 years in Michigan State Prison, after pleading guilty in Ingham County to seven counts of sexual assault. On February 5, 2018, he was sentenced to an additional 40 to 125 years in Michigan State Prison after pleading guilty to an additional three counts of sexual assault in Eaton County. On the orders of the judge in charge of the federal case, his state prison sentences are to run consecutively with his federal sentence, ensuring a de facto sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Nassar will be transferred to a Michigan state prison when he is released from federal custody; his two state sentences will be served concurrently. He is a central figure of the 2020 film Athlete A, a documentary about the scandal.

Photo of Edward Hennig

3. Edward Hennig (1879 - 1960)

With an HPI of 42.05, Edward Hennig is the 3rd most famous American Gymnast.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Edward August Hennig (October 13, 1879 – August 28, 1960) was an American gymnast who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics. He died in Summit County, Ohio. Hennig won two gold medals, one of them at club swinging. In the horizontal bar event he and his countryman Anton Heida had the same score and the gold medal was shared between them. He also competed in the pommel horse event without winning a medal. In the all-around event he finished 50th, in the team competition he was a member of the Turnverein Vorwärts (Cleveland) which finished 13th. In the gymnastics triathlon he finished 59th and in the athletics triathlon he finished 36th.

Photo of Bart Conner

4. Bart Conner (b. 1958)

With an HPI of 40.84, Bart Conner is the 4th most famous American Gymnast.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Barthold Wayne Conner (born March 28, 1958) is a retired American Olympic gymnast. As a member of the US men's gymnastics team at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, Conner won two gold medals. He owns and operates the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Oklahoma, along with his wife, Romanian Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comăneci. In addition, both Comăneci and Conner are highly involved with the Special Olympics.

Photo of Simone Biles

5. Simone Biles (b. 1997)

With an HPI of 40.09, Simone Biles is the 5th most famous American Gymnast.  Her biography has been translated into 56 different languages.

Simone Arianne Biles Owens (née Biles; born March 14, 1997) is an American artistic gymnast. With a total of 37 Olympic and World Championship medals, she is the most decorated gymnast in history and is widely considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. With seven Olympic medals, she is the ninth-most decorated female Olympic gymnast, and is tied with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals earned by a U.S. gymnast. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Biles won individual gold medals in the all-around, vault, and floor, bronze on balance beam, and gold as part of the United States team, dubbed the "Final Five". At the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where she was favored to win at least four of the six available gold medals, she withdrew from most of the competition due to "the twisties", a temporary loss of air awareness while performing twisting elements. She won a silver medal with her team and a bronze medal on the balance beam. Biles is a six-time World all-around champion (2013–2015, 2018–2019, 2023), six-time World floor exercise champion (2013–2015, 2018–2019, 2023), four-time World balance beam champion (2014–2015, 2019, 2023), two-time World vault champion (2018–2019), nine-time United States national all-around champion (2013–2016, 2018–2019, 2021, 2023–2024), and was a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. She is also a four-time World silver medalist (2013–2014 and 2023 on vault, 2018 on uneven bars) and a three-time World bronze medalist (2015 on vault, 2013 and 2018 on balance beam). In 2019, Biles broke the record for most World Championship medals in gymnastics; she won her 24th and 25th medals at the event, surpassing Vitaly Scherbo's 23 World medals. Biles has since secured an additional five World medals, for a total of 30. She holds the record for World all-around titles (6), and is the sixth woman to win an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympics, the first since Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996 to hold both titles simultaneously. Biles is the tenth female gymnast and first American female gymnast to win a World medal on every event, and the first female gymnast since Daniela Silivaș in 1988 to win a medal on every event at a single Olympic Games or World Championships. In 2022, Joe Biden awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2023, she won her eighth U.S. Gymnastics title, breaking the 90-year-old U.S. Gymnastics title record previously held by Alfred Jochim. Biles has won the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year thrice (2017, 2019, 2020), and Comeback of the Year once (2024).

Photo of Mary Lou Retton

6. Mary Lou Retton (b. 1968)

With an HPI of 36.57, Mary Lou Retton is the 6th most famous American Gymnast.  Her biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Mary Lou Retton (born January 24, 1968) is an American retired gymnast. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals. Retton's performance made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States. Her gold medal win was historic as Retton was the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics.

Photo of Peter Vidmar

7. Peter Vidmar (b. 1961)

With an HPI of 36.04, Peter Vidmar is the 7th most famous American Gymnast.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Peter Glen Vidmar (born June 3, 1961 in Los Angeles) is an American gymnast and two time Olympic gold medalist. He won gold in the team final and pommel horse as well as silver in the individual all around.

Photo of Shannon Miller

8. Shannon Miller (b. 1977)

With an HPI of 27.04, Shannon Miller is the 8th most famous American Gymnast.  Her biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Shannon Lee Miller (born March 10, 1977) is an American former artistic gymnast. She was the 1993 and 1994 world all-around champion, the 1992 Summer Olympics all-around silver medallist, the 1996 Olympic balance beam champion, the 1995 Pan American Games all-around champion, and a member of the gold medal-winning Magnificent Seven team at the 1996 Olympics. Along with Simone Biles, Miller is the most decorated U.S. gymnast in Olympics history, with a total of seven medals. With a combined total of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals between 1991 and 1996, she is the second-most decorated American gymnast, male or female, after Biles. She was also the most successful American athlete at the 1992 Olympics, winning five medals.

Photo of Julianne McNamara

9. Julianne McNamara (b. 1965)

With an HPI of 26.62, Julianne McNamara is the 9th most famous American Gymnast.  Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Julianne Lyn McNamara (born October 11, 1965) is an American former artistic gymnast, who was born to Australians Jean and Kevin McNamara. She was the winner of the U.S. women's first individual event gold medal in Olympic history.

Photo of Dominique Moceanu

10. Dominique Moceanu (b. 1981)

With an HPI of 26.41, Dominique Moceanu is the 10th most famous American Gymnast.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Dominique Helena Moceanu (, moh-CHEE-anoo; Romanian: [moˈtʃe̯anu]; born September 30, 1981) is a retired American gymnast. She was a member of the gold-medal-winning United States women's gymnastics team, the "Magnificent Seven", at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Moceanu trained under Marta and Béla Károlyi, and later Luminița Miscenco and Mary Lee Tracy. She earned her first national team berth at age 10 and represented the United States in various international competitions at the junior level. She was the all-around silver medalist at the 1992 Junior Pan American Games and the 1994 junior national champion. In 1995, at the age of 13, she became the youngest gymnast to win the senior all-around title at the U.S. National Championships. She was the youngest member of both the 1995 World Championships team and the gold-medal-winning 1996 Olympics team, and was the last gymnast to compete legally in the Olympics at the age of 14. Moceanu's last major success in gymnastics was at the 1998 Goodwill Games, where she became the first American to win the all-around gold medal. Family problems, coaching changes, and injuries derailed her efforts to make the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and she retired from the sport in 2000. Since then, she has worked as a coach, studied business management, and written a memoir, Off Balance.

People

Pantheon has 52 people classified as American gymnasts born between 1879 and 2007. Of these 52, 50 (96.15%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living American gymnasts include Larry Nassar, Bart Conner, and Simone Biles. The most famous deceased American gymnasts include Herman Glass, and Edward Hennig. As of April 2024, 29 new American gymnasts have been added to Pantheon including Dominique Moceanu, Kerri Strug, and Kim Zmeskal.

Living American Gymnasts

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Deceased American Gymnasts

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Newly Added American Gymnasts (2024)

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