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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 23:08 GMT 00:08 UK
Olympic countdown: 15 days
How a Russian gymnast won a record 15 medals

Nikolai Andrianov
Andrianov in action in 1978
Nikolai Andrianov failed to win any medal in the horizontal bar event in gymnastics at the 1980 Games.

But he won a medal in every other event, and victory in the all-around competition was one of four gold medals the Russian won in Montreal.

He had already won three medals in 1972 and, competing at home in 1980, added five more.

With 15 in all, the 5ft 5 in athlete still holds the male record for career medals in any sport at the Olympics.

Only three of those were in the team event - two silvers followed by a gold in Moscow - and Andrianov also holds the record for men for winning the most medals (12) at individual events.

Born in October 1952 in the Russian town of Vladimir, Adrianov was rescued from a wayward childhood when his best friend persuaded him to accompany him to gymnastics school.

Adrianov was taken under the wing of coach Nikolai Tolkachev and by the Munich Games in 1972 was the Soviet champion.

A mistake on the pommel horse saw him miss a medal in the all-around competition, which saw the dominant Japanese take all three medals.

But the USSR won team silver and Adrianov won a bronze in the vault and the first of his three successive gold medals in the floor exercise.

The 1976 Games saw him reach the peak of his career, winning four golds, two silvers and a bronze.

And, though his compatriot Aleksandr Dityatin became the first man to win a medal in 1980, Adrianov picked up five more medals (including his first on the horizontal bar - a bronze) to make history.

He retired from the sport later that year and went on to replace Tolkachev as coach at the Vladimir gymnastics school and also helped in coaching Russian superstars Vladimir Artemov, Alexei Nemov, and Dmitri Vassilenko.





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