Born December 27, 1934 in the Ukrainian town of Kherson, Larissa Latynina was the top gymnast of the late 1950s and was a major influence in the sport's change from a ballet and dance focus to a tumbling and athletic focus. She won six medals in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, including four gold. Latynina was three months pregnant when she won six more medals in Rome's 1960 Olympics, and became the first female gymnast to retain the all-around Olympic title. She competed in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 at age 29, winning six medals once again despite new Czechoslovakian star Vera Caslavska. Her record of eighteen medals makes her the most decorated Olympian to date in any sport. After retiring from competition in 1966, Latynina became the head coach of the Soviet national team, coaching future champions including Nelli Kim and Olga Korbut. After ten years of coaching, she helped organize the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and in 1985 was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. She retired from work in 1991, and inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1998.

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