10 Greatest Female Gymnasts in History
Gymnastics is certainly one of the most difficult sport disciplines, requiring strength, agility and coordination. The female artistic gymnastics include exercises on vault, uneven (asymmetric) bars, balance beam and floor. Making a list of the greatest athletes is likely to be controversial and will not satisfy some people who will feel the disappointment that their favorite athlete is not on the list.
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My criteria for making the list are: a.) the gymnast must have won at least one all-around World or Olympic title; and b.) she must have at least two World or Olympic titles on any apparatus, as well. (For those who feel disappointed that their favorite athletes were not included, I sincerely apologize for there are many gymnasts who did not both criteria but are nevertheless considered great gymnasts as well, like Lavinia Miloşovici, Gina Gogean, Olga Korbut, Daniela Silivas, Dominique Moceanu, Mo Huilan and a lot more.)
As follows are my top 10 greatest female gymnasts in history:
1. Svetlana Khorkina (Russia)
Having won seven Olympic medals and twenty World championship medals, this unusually tall gymnast is considered to be one of the most popular and most successful gymnasts of her generation. She is the very first gymnast to win three World all-around titles (1997, 2001 and 2003). She earned the nickname “Queen of the Bars” for her unrivaled domination on uneven bars, where she won five consecutive World titles (1995-1997, 1999, 2001) and two consecutive Olympic titles (1996, 2000). She is best known for her expressive and elegant dance, as well as for her extremely difficult and innovative routines, with unprecedented eight skills named after her in the Code of Points.
2. Larissa Latynina (USSR / Russia)
Two-time Olympic (1956, 1960) and two-time World (1958, 1962) all-around champion. She still holds the record for having won the most number of Olympic medals at eighteen (nine gold medals, five silver and four bronze). Trained in ballet, she was known for her graceful movements on floor exercise, where she won three consecutive Olympic titles (1956, 1960 and 1964).
3. Svetlana Boginskaya (USSR / Belarus)
The 1989 World all-around champion and three-time Olympic medallist, who was nicknamed the “Goddess of Gymnastics” and “Belarusian Swan” because of her stature, balletic grace, and long elegant lines that was most eminently exhibited in most of her routines, especially on floor exercise. In 1990, she swept the European Gymnastics Championships by winning the gold in every individual event.