Top 5 Ranked Men's Gymnastics Players Of All Time
Who are the top 5 men's gymnastics players of all time?
- Kohei Uchimura
- Vitaly Scherbo
- Nikolay Andrianov
- Sawao Kato
- Alexei Nemov
1. Kohei Uchimura
A member of the Japanese team, Uchimura is a seven time Olympic medalist. He has won three golds and four silver medals. Making him one of the most successful Olympic gymnasts of his time. Since 2008 Uchimura has won at least one medal in every world championship except for 2017 where he injured his left ankle, which ended his eight year win streak.
In the year Uchimura won the gold medal at London 2012, he also won all three world cup titles leading up to the event. He won another three world cup titles and then dominated the 2016 Rio Olympics, making him the undisputed greatest of all time. He was undefeated in all-around for eight straight years, and no gymnast has shown that kind of dominance. Uchimura was the leader of the 2016 team to earn Japan the all-around gold, then won the individual all around gold two days later, becoming the first gymnast in 44 years to win back to back individual all-around golds in the Olympics
Uchimura may only have three gold medals which may not be a lot compared to other gymnasts. Uchimura makes up for his lack of numbers with his style and elegance when he is competing. Considered to be the "Roger Federer of Gymnastics", everytime it is his turn to perform, the audience stops what they are doing prepared to be mesmerized by raw talent. Unfortunately, Uchimura has been facing injuries, putting a question mark on his future in the 2020 Olympics. No matter what his future holds, his success from 2010-2018 proves him to be the greatest male gymnast ever.
2. Vitaly Scherbo
Scherbo competed in his first gymnastics meet at the age of seven, and he was on the Soviet national team at the young age of 15. Scherbo first caught global attention when he captured victories at the Goodwill Games in Seattle, the Blube Memorial in Barcelona, and the Chunichi Cup, where he won four additional events. In the European Championships in 1990, Scherbo scored a perfect 10 on the vault, which is something that is extremely rare for gymnasts.
Scherbo became a legend in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Coaches did not look at him as a medal prospect, thinking his more experienced teammates had better chances. He proved all of his doubters wrong, as he became the first gymnast ever to win six gold medals in one Olympics. He won more medals than any other athlete in Barcelona. He got medals in the team event, all around, pommel horse, rings, vault and parallel bars. Michael phels and Mark Spitz are the only two athletes who have won more events in a single Olympic Games.
Scherbo is also the only gymnast ever to win a world title in all 8 men's gymnastics events. After the 1992 Olympics, Scherbo faced a lot of adversity. His wife slipped into a coma after a car accident, and he faced injuries and alcohol abuse as he struggled to cope with the struggles in his life. Despite that, he was able to make a comeback for the 1996 Olympics, where he won four bronze medals, and became a fan favorite for his triumph after facing so many challenges.
3. Nikolai Andrianov
Nikolai Andrianov is the most decorated Olympic male gymnast of all time. He earned 15 Olympic medals, which is a record for male gymnasts. Despite not starting gymnastics until the age of 12, Andrianov was able to develop quickly under coach Nikolay Talkochov and was selected to the Soviet national team in 1970.
He won three medals in the 1972 Munich Olympics with a gold in the floor exercise, silver in team competition, and a bronze in the vault. Four years later, Adrianov dominated the Montreal Olympics with seven medals. He won gold in the floor, rings, vault and all around. He also got silver in the team competition and the parallel bars along with a bronze in the pommel horse. In the 1980 Moscow games, he came away with 5 more medals, receiving two golds, two silvers, and a bronze.
Along with his Olympic success, he captured 12 world championship medals, including the all-around title in 1978. He won the European Championship 8 different times, and he won the World Cup gymnastics competition three years in a row.
Andrianov is famous for innovating and moving the sport of gymnastics forward. In 1974, he introduced the triple summer dismount at the world championships in Bulgaria. Andrianov was consistent, strong, and courageous. Competitor Bart Conner called him the "toughest gymnast I've ever seen". While he may not have had the most talent, his consistency in every discipline is what led him to find so much success.
4. Sawao Kato
Sawao Kato was greatly admired for his originality and his level of refinement. His technical perfection and style is what made him a legend at such an early time in gymnastics. He was renowned for his self discipline and dedication to the sport of gymnastics. The winner of 12 medals in the Olympics, eight of them were gold.
Kato won the combined exercises and shared a gold as a member of the Japanese team at the 1968 games in Mexico City, despite facing an achilles tendon injury. He also won the gold in floor and a bronze in the rings. In Munich 1972, Kato won his second consecutive combined gold, and won an individual gold in the parallel bars, and a silver in the pommel horse and horizontal bars. In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Kato once again excelled as he led the Japanese team to its fifth consecutive gold medal. He also won gold in the parallel bars and a silver in the individual combined.
Kato's total of eight Olympic gold medals is more than any other male gymnast. Kato retired at the young age of 29, and went on to become a professor at Tsukuba University. In 2001, he was named into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
5. Alexei Nemov
Nemov made his debut at the 1993 World Championships at the young age of 16. The following year, he put his name on the map when he won his qualifying session at the world championship. His first ever major all around title came at the Goodwill Games in Saint Petersburg, crushing his teammate Aleksi Voropov by over a point. In the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Nemov won six medals (two gold, one silver, and three bronze). He was the leader of the Russian team that year as they went on to win their first ever Olympic Team title.
There were so many questions about Nemov's talent level and commitment going into the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He answered all his critics and won the major all-around title, and took home a total of six medals. By the end of the Sydney Games, Nemov had won one medal in every discipline except for the still rings. This proved that Nemov had the all around talent that so few gymnasts had at the time.
In the 2004 Olympics, Nemov was in the center of judging controversy after completing an extremely difficult maneuver on the high bar. He was severely underscored, leading to the crowd and fans to critique the judges telling them their scoring was incorrect. Because of this, the judging system was reconstructed in 2006. Despite not winning a medal, Nemov was recognized for his great character, respect, and maturity during the situation. In 2017, Nemov was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.