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Legendary Soviet Gymnast Larisa Latynina Speaks Out Against FIG Banning Russian And Belarusian Gymnasts From Competition

Legendary Olympic gymnast Larisa Latynina, who holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals by a gymnast, spoke out against the Interna...


Legendary Olympic gymnast Larisa Latynina, who holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals by a gymnast, spoke out against the International Federation of Gymnastics' decision on banning Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials—including judges—from participating in competitions starting March 7 until further notice, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"I’m just in shock, I can’t imagine how it’s possible to remove athletes from international competitions, it’s generally incomprehensible," the former Soviet gymnast told metaratings.ru.

"Under no circumstances should sports be mixed with politics. Russian organizations should resolve the issue of appealing this decision," she continues.

Latynina was born in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1934. Kherson, Laytnina's hometown, is the first major Ukrainian city to be seized by Russia since it launched its invasion.

The 87 year old retired gymnast has been living in Moscow for decades and has long favored promoting herself as Russian.

Between 1954 and 1964, she won a total of 25 gold medals at the Olympic Games, World championships, and European championships.

She is a two time Olympic, World, and European all around champion. 

After her retirement, she coached the Soviet national gymnastics team and helped them win team gold in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics.

Photo: Larisa at her daughter's Sevenoaks home (Justin Sutcliffe)

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