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Larisa Latynina: An unbeaten Olympian for 48 years. Part II. 11 photos.
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 13 Aug 2012

Larisa Latynina: An unbeaten Olympian for 48 years. Part II. 11 photos.


Born in 1934 in the Black Sea port of Kherson, when Ukraine was still under Soviet control, Latynina went on to make her Olympic debut in Melbourne in 1956, when she took home four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. The winning streak continued, with another six medals in Rome in 1960 and in Tokyo in 1964. She still wears her Olympic past with pride and is dressed in the Russian team tracksuit.

Latynina heralded an era of Soviet dominance in sport.

She was so dedicated to her sport that she even competed at the 1958 World Championships in Moscow while four months pregnant. She took home five gold medals. "I didn't tell anyone. I didn't even say to my coach, Alexander Mishakov, that I was pregnant," she says. "Even now when I see those medals, I think they're hers, too. When journalists used to come to our house and she was little, she'd take out the medals and say, 'These are the ones I won with Mummy.' "

Her success, she says, is partly down to the fact that she was always ruthlessly competitive.

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