|LATYNINA Larissa Russia
Discipline: Womens Artistic
|Last update: 05/09/2011|
|Date of birth:||27/12/1934||Age:||79|
|Place of birth:||KHERSON, UKRAINE||
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|Head coach:||Alexander Mishakov (URS)|
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|Still unbeaten record athlete not only in Gymnastics but in ALL Olympic sports: 9 Gold, 5 Silver and 4 Bronze medals from 3 consecutive Olympic Games (1956 - 1960 - 1964). In total, 18 medals!
By the time of her final gold, ten years has elapsed since her debut at the World Championships in Rome. A decade in which this sensitive girl, born in the City of Kherson,in Ukraine, had set new levels for world gymnastics.
Latynina, whose maiden name was Dirij, had dreamt as a child of becoming a ballerina like the great Maya Plissetzkaya. Had Michail Sotnitchenko missed to spot her in the Ballet Hall of the Cherson House of Culture, she would have become a dancer. Latynina all but realised that dream by becoming the first gymnast to bring her sport so close the the boundaries of art.
After having moved to Kiev at 16 in order to train under Alexander Mishakov (also coach of the Great Boris Chakline) she started a glorious career finishing as twice Olympic All-Around champion - in Melbourne '56 and Rome' 60. Latynina's Olympic Gold medals also included three team and three floor exercise golds at each Games, as well as gold in the vault in 1956.
She was twice World and twice European All-around champion and collected 14 medals from World Championships - 8 Gold, 5 Silver and 1 Bronze.
Moreover in Italy she competed as a young mother, after given birth to Tatiana. Her daughter, incidentally went on to fulfill her mother's dream, finishing ballet school and dancing with the Beriozka Company for many years. (Latynina has also an younger son - Andrei).
Larissa Latynina was national coach for the former USSR Team for a long time and now she is retired, living in the country and taking care of many... animals.v.atkinson.