5 Amazing Olympic Athletes


Larisa Latynina

Larisa, performing at the 1964 Olympics
Larisa, performing at the 1964 Olympics
Photo courtesy © IOC/Hulton Archives/Getty Images

If Larisa Latynina had tried to wear all the medals she earned in her career as a gymnast at one time, she probably would have fallen over. Over the course of three Olympic Games, Latynina won a whopping 18 medals for the USSR -- a record that has yet to beaten, although Michael Phelps is hot on her tumbling heels.

Latynina was a fantastic gymnast. At the 1956 Melbourne/Stockholm games, she was awarded four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. Four years later in Rome it was three golds, two silvers and one bronze. In 1964, she earned two of each type in Tokyo.

Oh, and lest we forget, the 14 medals (nine gold, four silver and one bronze) she won at World Championships. Or at European Championships, in which she also won 14 medals (seven gold, six silver and one bronze). And some of those were won while the gymnast was actually pregnant. Now if that isn't amazing, we don't know what is.