Top 10 Male Gymnasts of All Time
Gymnastics is a sport in which the athletes perform exercises of various forms. To become good at this sport, gymnasts need to acquire great deal of physical strength, flexibility, agility, balance and control, and at the same time, they also need to have coordination and grace to make the performances aesthetically pleasing to the audience. Gymnastics is internationally popular, and every country has its own national team, and its national governing body. There are various events in gymnastics. Of them, the men’s events are floor exercise, vault, parallel bars, high bar, pommel horse and still rings. Let us take a look at the Top 10 Male Gymnasts of All Time.
note: you may want to read our list about All Time Best Female Gymnasts.
Top 10 Male Gymnasts of All Time
10. Takashi Ono
Legendary former Japanese artistic gymnast Takashi Ono was born on July 26, 1931 in Noshiro, Akita, Japan, and is a dominating force in the discipline of Men’s artistic gymnastics during 1950s and 1960s. He participated in four consecutive Summer Olympics in 1952, 1956, 1960 and 1964, and took the Olympic Oath in 1964 in Tokyo. Takashi Ono led the Japanese gymnastic team to win the Gold Medal at the 1964 Olympic Games. He also achieved the title of World Championship an astounding 20 times in his active gymnastic career. He was inducted in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1998. Takashi Ono, aged 83, now resides in Japan with his wife Kiyoko Ono and their two children.
9. Akinori Nakayama
Legendary former Japanese artistic gymnast Akinori Nakayama was born on March 1, 1943, and is one of the only two gymnasts besides Albert Azaryan to win the rings event twice in Olympic. He achieved a total of six medals which include three gold medals in the team all-around, the floor exercise and the horizontal bar at the World Championships in 1966. Nakayama became the most successful male athlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics with four gold medals, a silver medal and one bronze medal. He then achieved another four world titles in 1970 and again won four more medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He served as the vice-president of the Japanese Gymnastics Federation after his retirement from the professional gymnastic. Nakayama was inducted in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2005.
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8. Alexander Dityatin
Former Russian artistic gymnast Aleksandr Nikolaevich Dityatin was born on August 7, 1957 in Leningrad, and is noted for setting the record for achieving the most medals of any type at a single Olympic Games while winning eight medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics. He is a three-time Olympic Champion and was honored as the Master of Sports of the USSR. Dityatin achieved his first Olympic success while winning two silver medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. He is also the first male gymnast to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic which he accomplished in the long horse vault event. Dityatin also competed for the Leningrad Dinamo sports society besides his international appearance. He was inducted in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2004.
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7. Viktor Chukarin
Legendary former Russian artistic gymnast Viktor Ivanovich Chukarin was there with us from his birth on November 9, 1921 till he died on August 25, 1984, and is widely considered as the first of the great Soviet gymnasts. Chukarin was the most successful athlete at the 1952 Summer Olympics. He then achieved 5 medals at the age of 35 at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. He became the All-around World Champion in 1954 and achieved eleven medals including seven gold medals at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics. Chukarin was named as the USSR’s gymnastic individual all-around champion thrice consecutively from 1949 to 1951 and again achieved the same in 1953 and 1955. He led the USSR team to the victory at the 1954 World Championships. He was awarded the first ever Order of Lenin given to an athlete in 1957.
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6. Boris Shakhlin
Legendary former Russian artistic gymnast Boris Anfiyanovich Shakhlin was there with us from his birth on 27 January 1932 till he died on 30 May 2008. He is the 1958 all-around World Champion and 1960 all-around Olympic champion. Shakhlin was the most successful athlete at the 1960 Summer Olympics and won a total of 13 medals which include seven gold medals at the Summer Olympics. He also won a total of 14 medals at the World Championships. Shakhlin is noted for winning gold medals at three successive Olympic Games. He also set a career record of 10 individual titles in the world championships. He received the Red Banner of Labor in 1956 and the Order of Lenin in 1960. Boris Shakhlin retired from international competition after suffering a heart attack at the age of just 35.
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5. Nikolai Andrianov
Legendary former Russian artistic gymnast Nikolai Yefimovich Andrianov was there with us from his birth on 14 October 1952 till he died on 21 March 2011. He achieved a total of 15 Olympic medals including 7 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 3 bronze medals and held the record for most Olympic medals until he was surpassed by Michael Phelps at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Andrianov still holds the men’s record for most individual Olympic medals in gymnastics. He became the most successful athlete at the 1976 Summer Olympics while winning six individual medals and one team medal. He coached the Japan Olympic gymnastics team from 1994 to 2002. Andrianov was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2001. He developed degenerative neurological disorder multiple system atrophy during his final years and died at the age of 58 on 21 March 2011.
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4. Sawao Kato
Retired Japanese artistic gymnast Sawao Kato was born on October 11, 1946, and is one of the most successful athletes of all time in Olympiad. He achieved a total of twelve medals which include eight gold medals in three Olympics he participated. Kato is one of the only ten athletes to win eight or more Olympic gold medals. He made his international debut as a member of the Japanese team at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics where the team dominated in all events. He was involved in a controversy in the men’s team competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Sawao Kato currently works as a professor at the University of Tsukuba after his retirement from the gymnastic world. He was inducted in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2001.
3. Alexei Nemov
Former Russian artistic gymnast Alexei Yurievich Nemov was born on 28 May 1976 in Barashevo, Mordovia, and is one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time. He achieved a total of 12 Olympic medals in his active gymnastic career. Nemov made his international debut at the 1993 World Championships when he was just 16-year old. He then won two gold medals, one silver and three bronze medals at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Nemov achieved the gold medal in Vault in 1995 and 1996, achieved the gold in Floor in 1997, and achieved the title in both the Floor and Pommel Horse event at the 1999 World Championships. The Russian Olympic Committee as the recognition of his class and character awarded him $40,000. Nemov currently resides in his hometown of Tolyatti.
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2. Vitaly Scherbo
Former Belarusian artistic gymnast Vitaly Venediktovich Scherbo was born on 13 January 1972 in Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, and is one of the most successful gymnasts of all time. He is the only male gymnast ever to achieve world titles in all 8 events. Scherbo won six out of the eight awarded gold medals at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and created one of the most dominant gymnastic performances in history. He started practicing gymnastics at age 7 under his mother. Scherbo made his international debut as a member of the USSR team at the World Championship and the World Cup in 1990. He then achieved the 1993 World All-Around title and the American Cup twice consecutively in 1993 and 1994. Scherbo currently owns and runs his own gymnasium in Las Vegas.
1. Kōhei Uchimura
Japanese artistic gymnast Kōhei Uchimura was born on January 3, 1989 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, and is regarded by many as the greatest gymnast of all time. He is a 16-time World medalist at several events including all-around, team, floor, high bar and parallel bars. He achieved five Olympic medals in the all-around, team and floor exercise event. Uchimura was praised as the “combination of tremendous difficulty, supreme consistency and extraordinary elegance of performance” by the International Gymnast Magazine. Uchimura is the first gymnast ever to win every major all-around title in a single Olympic cycle. He is also the 2012 Olympic All-Around Champion and achieved the World all-around titles consecutive five times from 2009 to 2014. Uchimura was featured as the older version of “Dekisugi” in the Toyota’s 2012 ReBorn ad campaign.
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These gymnasts show incredible physical flexibility, which is what attracts the audience and keeps them glued to the shows. These gymnasts are capable of capturing the attention of the audience whose sense of awe is maintained, as beautiful performances, filled with grace and elegance, are displayed by the most charming men in the world of sports.