Humanities Information

Gymnastics Olympic Champions From 1988-2004

Here are the men's and women's all-around champions from thelast five Olympic Games -- these are just briefbiographies, but they surely give you an idea of yourgymnast's potential.

2004 Paul Hamm, Carly Patterson

Paul Hamm, the 2004 men's all-around champion ingymnastics, was born on September 24, 1982, and has a twinbrother by the name of Morgan. Paul was the firstAmerican man to take the gold for the all-aroundcompetition in a fully attended Olympic Game. He is noteworthy for some controversy surrounding his title.

Carly Patterson was born on February the fourth, 1988, inBaton Rouge,Louisiana, to a pair of loving parents - hermother, Natalie, and her father, Ricky. She is the firstof a pair of girls (her younger sister is Jordan). In2004, she became the first all-around Olympic champion forthe United States in more than two decades, and was alsothe first to win for the US in the past two games. Thelast female all-around gymnastics champion for the UnitedStates won in 1984, when the Soviet Union had boycotted theOlympics entirely.

2000 Andreea Raducan, Alexei Nemov

Andreea Madalina Raducan was born on the thirtieth ofSeptember, 1983, in Birlad, Romania. She was trained underOctavien Belu and Mariana Bitang of the Cetate Deva Club inRomania and began gymnastics at the age of five. She hasseveral gold and silver medals under her belt from nationaland international competitions. Though she is listed asthe official Olympic all-around female champion, the IOCstripped her of her medal when she tested positive forpseudophedrine (the active ingredient in manydecongestants) after having taken a cold pill given to herby the Romanian Olympic Team doctor. Regardless of whetheror not she has the medal, she is a champion - and anincredible one at that.

Alexei Nemov is considered to be one of the best male gymnasts in the world, as well as being a pin-up for the girls. He was born on May 28th, 1976, in Barashevo, Russia. Hisstart on gymnastics started early. At the age of five, hismother took him to the local gym, thinking that gymnasticswould be an acceptable alternative to a more violent sport.He has had his ups and downs in gymnastics -- namely, withmany injuries to his arms and shoulders -- but left theAtlanta and Sydney Olympics with six medals each. In 2000,he was crowned the men's all-around gymnastics champion andbore his gold medal proudly.

1996 Li Xiaoshuang, Lilia Podkopayeva

Li Xiaoshuang, men's all-around gymnastics champion in the1996 Olympics, was born on November 1, 1973, in Xintao,Hubei Province, China. His career has been marked withmany successes. At the age of seven, he took upgymnastics; two years later, he was part of his provincialteam, and at twelve years of age, he was part of theChinese national gymnastics team. He has won many goldmedals in his time, including two from separate Olympicgames - 1992 and 1996 - and three from the World GymnasticsChampionships. In 1995, he was awarded the well-deservedtitle of International Master of Sports and continues, tothis date, to impress.

Lilia Podkopayeva was born on August 15, 1978 in Donestk,Ukraine. Her coach, Galina Lossinskaya, brought herthrough more than ten competitions all together, in whichshe fared well. In the 1996 Atlanta Georgia Olympic Games,she placed first in the all-around women's competition andsince then has toured the United States in the John HancockTour of World Gymnastics Champions.

1992 Tatiana Gutsu, Vitaly Scherbo

Tatiana Gutsu, women's all-around champion in the 1992Olympics, has an excellent record of performance. She wasborn on the fifty of September, 1976 in the Soviet Union,and was selected at a very young age by her coach andtrainer, Victor Dikii. In the 1992 Olympics, her careerbecame tarnished by conspiracy when she took the place ofRoza Galieva in the all-around competition, one for whichshe did not qualify. It later became known that Galievawas not really injured, and though it was apparently notGutsu's idea to take over that part of the competition, thetwo of them split the prize earnings and became bitteracquaintances. Today, Tatiana lives in the United States.

Vitaly Scherbo, men's all-around champion in 1992, has avery impressive record. He won an unprecedented sixindividual gold medals at the '92 Olympics and, all told,he holds more than fifty medals in total from championshipsaround the world. Coached by two of the best in the world-- Leonid Filipenok and Sergei Shinkar, he is truly animpressive gymnast. Now, with his wife and daughter, Irinaand Kristina respectively, he runs the Vitaly ScherboSchool of Gymnastics in Las Vegas. The website for theschool of gymnastics can be found at

1988 Elena Shoushounova, Vladimir Artemov

Elena Shushonova, women's all-around Olympic champion of1988, was born in May of 1969 in Saint Petersburg, whichwas, at the time, Leningrad. She trained under ViktorGavrichenkov at the Central Army Club in the then SovietUnion. With two Olympic gold medals, a bronze medal and asilver medal, and more than twenty other medals fromchampionships around the world, Elena Shushonova has anillustrious history of gymnastic prowess, and in 2004, shewas added to the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Born in the town for which he was named in December of 1964,Vladimir Artemov came away with the all around gold medalin the 1988 Olympics. In fact, he came away a championseveral times over, with gold or silver in all of hisevents, a truly impressive finish. Trained under ViktorFirsov at Burevestnik, at that time a part of the SovietUnion, he also received thirteen other medals in all of hisother endeavors. Now, he lives in the United States withhis wife and children, and is a part of the NationalCoaching Staff.

By Murray Hughes
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