The history of Olympic gymnastics medal records gives some indication of the trends that have occurred within the sport of gymnastics. The history of gymnastics provides us with the following facts.
Youngest Female Gold Medallist
Nadia Comaneci of Romania was 14 years and 252 days old when she took gold medals in three events – all-around, balance beam, and uneven bars – at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.
Youngest Male Gold Medallist
Rowland “Flip” Wolfe of the United States. was 17 years and 307 days old when he won the tumbling competition in 1932, which was the only time a tumbling competition was held at an Olympics.
Youngest Female Gymnastics Medallist
Luigina Giavotti was 11 years and 302 days old when she won a gymnastics silver medal in 1928 as a member of the Italian gymnastics team.
Youngest Male Gymnastics Medallist
Dimitrios Loundras was 10 years and 218 days old in 1896 when he competed as a member of Greece’s Olympic team and won a second place silver medal in now-discontinued event – team parallel bars.
Most Gymnastics Gold Medals in One Olympics for Women (4)
Four female gymnasts share this record:
- Hungary’s Agnes Keleti (1956)
- the Soviet Union’s Larisa Latynina (1956)
- Czechoslovakia’s Vera Caslavaska (1968)
- Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo (1984)
Most Gymnastics Gold Medals in One Olympics — Men (6)
Vitaly Scherbo won six out of the eight possible gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, representing the Unified Team. He won rings, high bar, parallel bars, vault, all-around and team gold medals.
Most Career Gymnastics Gold Medals for Women (9)
Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union won nine Olympic gymnastics gold medals between 1956 and 1964. No other Olympic athlete, male or female, has exceeded that number, although three other men have equaled it (Carl Lewis, Paavo Nurmi, and Mark Spitz,).
Most Career Gymnastics Gold Medals for Men (8)
Sawao Kato of Japan won eight Olympic gymnastics titles competing over 12 years at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games.
Most Career Gymnastics Medals for Women (18)
Larisa Latynina holds the all-time Olympic record for medals won in any sport with 18, won in a twelve year three Olympic Games (1956, 1960, and 1964) gymnastics career for the Soviet team.
Most Career Gymnastics Medals for Men (15)
Nikolai Andrianov won 15 medals competing at the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympics for the Soviet Union. No man in any Olympic sport has won more Olympic medals.
Most Gymnastics Medals in One Olympics for Women (7)
Maria Gorokhovskaya won seven medals at the 1952 Helsinki Games for the Soviet Union. She won a silver medal in a team event using a hoop that was a forerunner to modern rhythmic gymnastics.
Most Gymnastics Medals in One Olympics for Men (8)
Aleksandr Dityatin won a medal in all eight events on the men’s gymnastics program (the team, the all-around, and all six apparatus finals) at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games for the Soviet Union. This Olympics was boycotted by the United States and other countries.
Oldest Gymnastics Female Gold Medallist
Agne Kelleti of Hungary was 35 years and 332 days old when she won medals on floor, balance beam and uneven bars in 1956.
Oldest Gymnastics Male Gold Medallist
Manilo Pastorini was 41 years and 117 days old when he was one of the 27 members of the gold medal Italian team in the 1920 Olympic games.
Oldest Gymnastics Medallist — Women
Ethel Seymour who was 46 years and 222 days old won a team medal as a member of Great Britain’s bronze-medal winning team at the 1928 Olympic Games.
Oldest Gymnastics Medallist — Men
Lucien Demanet of France was 45 years and 266 days old when he won a team bronze medal at the 1920 Olympic Games.
As you can see, gymnasts used to be allowed to compete at younger ages than they do now and older gymnasts were successful in the distant past of our sport. Gymnastics has also been an evolving sport in terms of the events that are competed.