10 Greatest Male Gymnasts in History

Men’s artistic gymnastics are made up of six apparatus, namely floor, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high/horizontal bar. To be considered the greatest, one has to be strong and consistent in all of them. So here are my top 10 greatest male gymnasts of all time.

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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.) he must also have at least two World or Olympic titles on any apparatus. (For those who are dissatisfied that their beloved idols were not included, I apologize for I know there are many gymnasts who did not both criteria but are very much regarded as great gymnasts as well, like Andreas Wecker, Valeri Belenky, Koji Gushiken, Li Ning, Valeri Liukin, Li Xiaoshuang, and many more.)

Vitaly Scherbo (USSR/Unified Team/Belarus)

The greatest gymnast of all time, having won World/Olympic gold medals in the all-around and on every apparatus. In fact, he won six gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (Team, all-around, pommel horse, rings, vault and parallel bars) and the 1993 World all-around, floor exercise and parallel bars title. His brash personality and strange capability to come up with exceptional performances when it most mattered gained him instant popularity with worldwide audiences.

Alexei Nemov (Russia)

The 2000 Athens Olympic all-around and high bar champion. Having won a total of twenty five World championship and Olympic medals (nine golds, six silvers and 10 bronzes), he is surely one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. His showmanship and his well-rounded gymnastic routines which were characterized by complicated acrobatic skills, elegance and flawless technique had gained him a lot of fans.

Nikolai Andrianov (USSR/Russia)

A three-time Olympian (1972, 1976 and 1980). He won a total of fifteen Olympic medals, including gold in the all-around, floor exercise, rings and vault in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Described as a natural gymnast, he won every major competition there was, including the World Cup, European Championships, and the World Championships (1978).

Boris Shakhlin (USSR/Russia)

One of the most successful Olympians, having won thirteen medals in three successive Olympics (1956, 1960 and 1964), seven of which are gold including the 1960 all-around, pommel horse, vault, parallel bars and high bar titles. He was also the 1958 World all-around champion. He got the nickname “Man of Iron” for his strong determination and consistent performance.

Vladimir Artemov (USSR/Russia)

His impressive career spanning a period of six years from 1983 to 1989 includes a combined total of eighteen World and Olympic medals, ten of which are gold medals that include the all-around, parallel bars and high bar titles at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He is well remembered for his impeccable technique on parallel bars, an event in which he won three world titles (1983, 1987, and 1989). He also finished second in the all-around at the 1985 World Championships and 3rd in the all-around at the 1987 World Championships.

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  1. nobert bermosa
    Posted August 6, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    nice article,Russians are really good at gymnastics,thanks

  2. tonisan60
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Excelent article, claps for you exhaustive research.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted September 21, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Nice work! This is so much more accurate than that other list on the Internet that has Bart Conner as one of the top 10 best male gymnasts of all time. That is a total joke. He may be one of the best American male gymnasts, but that’s not saying much. With all nations included, he’s not even remotely close to the top 20 let alone the top 10.
    This list, on the other hand, is terrific and appears free of any blatant bias.

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