Famous Female Gymnasts – Athletes Who Revolutionized The Sport

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When you talk about famous gymnasts like Olga Korbut and Simone Biles, you are talking about two ladies that completely changed the way we look at gymnastics. There are many more women who changed the face of artistic gymnastics.

For the past few Olympic Games, tickets for artistic gymnastics have become some of the hottest. More and more people are rounding up to wait and see the top gymnasts on the planet.

The greatest female gymnasts are displaying their physical and technical brilliance in pursuit of the elusive gold medal.

With that in mind, today, we will talk about some of the most famous gymnasts.

Olga Korbut

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We have to start with Olga Korbut, a woman who brought a new era to women’s artistic gymnastics. She appeared at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games, captivating the world with her daring acrobatics and raw display of emotion.

She was only 17 years of age at the time. Olga changed the world, ushering in an era of gymnastics dominated by young and little women. What made Korbut special is that she won a title under the age of 20. It was different than famous female athletes like Vera Caslavska and Larisa Latynina. Both of them made their Olympics debut in their 20s.

Olga managed to lower the age limit for gymnastics. Korbut was the inaugural inductee of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1988.

Fun fact: she retired at the age of 22, which was considered young for gymnasts of the period.

Nadia Comaneci

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Continuing the list of women who changed the world of gymnastics, Nadia Comaneci is the first woman to score a perfect 10.

Born in November 1961, Nadia is a Romanian retired gymnast and a five-time Olympic gold medalist. She won her Olympic medal in individual events. In 1974, four years after Olga came to the Olympics, Comaneci was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0

She was only 14 years at the time. Nadia received six more perfect 10s at the same Olympics for different events en route to winning three gold medals.

Comaneci is credited for popularizing the sport around the globe. Her legacy extends beyond the three-digit scoreboard.

For history lovers, Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 on the uneven bars. Similar to Korbut before her, Comaneci was also an innovator. She has two elements named for her, including the straddled front salto on the uneven bars. It still carries an E value under the current set of rules.

Nastia Liukin

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Nastia is the first woman to win the Olympics in the era of the open-ended scoring system. She proved that artistry and execution can go hand in hand and you achieve success in a set of rules focused on difficulty.

At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Liukin became the third US woman to win the Olympic all-around gold medal. She was too young to compete at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Her scores at the 2004 US Championships would have ranked her third in the senior competition.

Born in Russia, her original name is Anastasia Valeryevna Liukina.

Kerri Strug

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Born Kerri Allyson Strug Fischer in November 1977, she is a retired American gymnast from Tucson, Arizona. Kerri was a member of the Magnificent Seven, the victorious all-around women’s gymnastics team representing the US at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Fans remember her tor performing the vault that clinched the gold for the US team despite having injured her ankle.

In 2000, Kerri Strug was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Following her career, she has worked as an analyst for various networks. For example, she was a correspondent for Yahoo in artistic gymnastics during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Shannon Lee Miller

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Along with Simone Biles, Miller is the most decorated US female gymnast in Olympics history. She has a total of seven medals. Born in March 1977, Shannon Miller was the 1993 and 1994 world all-around champion. She also was the 1996 Olympic balance beam champion.

Miller was another member of the Magnificent seven alongside Kerri Strug. In 2003, she graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in marketing and entrepreneurship.

In 2015, she entered a business partnership with Juice Plus for a branded line of dietary supplements. Nowadays, she is the president of the Shannon Miller Lifestyle and Shannon Miller Foundation, dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.

Mary Retton

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Born Mary Lou Retton in January 1968, she is a retired gymnast. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Mary won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition.

Her performance at the time made her one of the most popular athletes in the United States. Retton was the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics.

She says she was inspired by watching Nadia Comaneci outshine defending Olympic winner Olga Korbut on television at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. At the time, Retton was only eight years of age. She took gymnastics in her hometown after that.

McKayla Maroney

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Many people might remember her as the memed athlete. McKayla Maroney is one of the most famous American athletes, and it is because of her Internet meme.

Born in December 1995, she was a member of the American gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Their team was dubbed the Fierce Five.

Maroney won a gold medal in the team competition and a silver medal in the vault event. That silver medal sparked the meme. She made a face like she was not impressed by the silver medal.

Alexandra Raisman

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Born Alexandra Rose Raisman in May 1994, the retired American artistic gymnast is a two-time Olympian. Raisman was the captain of the Fierce Five 2012 team and the 2016 Final Five team. Both of those teams won the respective team competition.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Alexandra Raisman won gold medals in team and floor competitions.

Carly Rae Patterson


As you can see, most of the famous gymnasts are from the United States. Carly Rae Patterson is another American gymnast. She is also a singer and songwriter.

The former artistic gymnast was the all-around champion at the 2004 Olympics. She began practicing gymnastics after attending a birthday party at a Baton Rouge gymnastics club in 1994.

In the 2004 individual all-around competition, she defeated three-time world champion Svetlana Khorkina of Russia.

Dominique Margaux Dawes

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Born in 1976, Dominique Daves is another member of the Magnificent Seven team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The gymnastics community refers to her as Awesome Dawesome.

Dominique Dawes is one of three female American gymnasts who competed in three Olympics. She was part of all three medal-winning teams. Her team won the Bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992, the gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the bronze medal again in 2000 in Sydney.

Laurie Zoe Hernandez

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Born in June 2000, Laurie Hernandez had her senior gymnast debut as part of the Final Five team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In the individual event, she earned the silver medal on the balance team.

Lauren did not qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Besides gymnastics, Lauren earned popularity as part of Dancing with the Stars. She was a member of Season 23 of the famous TV show. She won the competition with her partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

Alicia Quinn

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Born Alicia Marie Sacramone Quinn in December 1987, she is a retired American artistic gymnast. Alicia Quinn won a silver medal with the US team at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

She has a total of 11 World Championships and Olympic Medals, making her the fourth most decorated American female gymnast of all time. The three before her are Simone Biles, Shannon Miller, and Nastia Liukin.

Svetlana Vasilyevna Khorkina

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Svetlana Vasilyevna Khorkina is a retired Russian artistic gymnast. Born in 1978, she competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the 2004 Summer Olympics. During her career, she won 7 Olympic medals and 20 World Championship medals.

Khorkina was the first gymnast to win three all-around titles at the World Championships. She is also the second female artistic gymnast ever after Nadia Comaneci to win three European all-around titles.

Simone Biles

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It is only fitting that we finish off the list of famous gymnasts with Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time. She is the most decorated gymnast, with 32 titles in total.

She dominated women’s gymnastics in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic games, winning three straight World all-around titles, a first by a woman. She achieved that feat from 2013 to 2015.

During the 2016 Rio Olympics, she helped her team of Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laura Hernandez, and Madison Kocianwin second-straight team gold for Team USA.

She left Rio with four gold medals and a bronze medal. Biles took a year away from the sport, returning to competition in 2018.

Years later, we will look at her career as one of the most dominating gymnasts of all time.

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