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Andrianov, Gymnastics Great, Dies

Andrianov working with the rings at the Moscow Olympics in July 1980.

Nikolai Andrianov, the most decorated male gymnast of all time, died Monday after a long illness, the Russian gymnastics federation said. He was 58.

Andrianov was suffering from the degenerative neurological disorder multiple system atrophy and was unable to move his arms or legs or talk. He died in his hometown of Vladimir.

Andrianov held the men's record for most Olympic medals at 15, including seven golds, until U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps surpassed him at the 2008 Beijing Games.

He is third on the all-time list of athletes with the most Olympic medals behind fellow gymnast Larisa Latynina (18) and Phelps (16).

The Russian won four golds, including the coveted all-around title, two silvers and a bronze at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, then added two more golds, two silvers and a bronze four years later on home soil in Moscow. He also had a gold, silver and bronze from the 1972 Munich Games.

Andrianov retired shortly after the 1980 Moscow Olympics and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Federation hall of fame in 2001.

He is survived by his wife, two-time Olympic gymnastics champion Lyubov Burda, and two sons, Vladimir and Sergei.

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