Where do gymnasts rank among the greatest athletes in history?

One list of the top 100 athletes has no women gymnasts

Nadia made a few other lists, but that’s about it


This photo of Nadia was from before her knocker-enlargement surgery, and I think she was looking pretty damn good, nipples and all. What do you guys think?

Deluxe wrote a comment recently, replying to my question, which was something like, Is Nadia still popular in Romania in the sense that just about everybody knows who she is?  Deluxe said she was voted among the 10 greatest Romanians.  He then guessed (wrongly, but he’s not from America, so that’s fine) that Nadia in Romania might be similar to Carly Patterson in America.

I seriously doubt that if I asked 50 random people on the street if they know who Carly Patterson is, I would get ONE who did.  I was alive and well in 2004 and, no, I didn’t watch the Athens Olympics, but I NEVER heard the name Carly Patterson during that summer or any time after it until I started paying attention to gymnastics.

So that got me to thinking: Who are considered America’s top athletes?  We have magazines and websites and TV shows that do rankings like this all the time.  I wondered if, say, in the top 100 athletes, would any female gymnasts make the list?  Because I am POSITIVE that if Romania put a list like that together, several gymnasts, definitely including Nadia, would be on it.

Top 100 U.S. athletes


I'm pretty sure this is Sveta in Athens, when she was battling two diseases - anorexia and Carly Patterson.

ESPN did a series called Sport Century, where they began with the top 50 U.S. athletes then later expanded it to 100.  I got the list from Wikipedia, just because the format is easier to read.

Not only are there no female gymnasts on the list, there are very few female anythings.  The only female Olympians I could find (and it’s possible I missed somebody, because I’m brain dead) were Olympic skater Bonnie Blair, who was number 69, and Babe Zaharias, who did various sports and was in the Olympics and came in at number 10.

I wasn’t surprised that Carly wasn’t on that list, because there are only two types of people in America (that count, anyway): non-gymnastics fans who knew she won the gold medal and stopped giving a shit before the closing ceremonies started; and gymnastics fans who believe Khorkina should have won.

(There is a sub-group of genuine Carly fans, but the numbers are small – far too small to have any influence on Sport Century’s rankings.)

I was a little surprised that Mary Lou Retton didn’t make the list, because from what I have heard (I wasn’t born in 1984), America had Mary Lou fever for quite some time after that.  Part of the reason for that was 1984 was the first time the U.S. had done much of value in Olympic women’s gymnastics, so it was a high-level novelty.

Nasty Liukin wasn’t on the list, either.  Or dimwit Shawn.

At least Nadia isn’t being completely forgotten


I couldn't think of an appropriate photo to use in this last section, so I decided to use one of Dobre, which is appropriate in any section.

Confirming Deluxe’s point about Nadia, here’s the 100 Greatest Romanians list, again as posted on Wikipedia and originating from a 2006 poll on Televiziunea Română, TVR.  Nadia was number 10.  Keep in mind, this isn’t just the 100 greatest Romanian athletes, this is the greatest Romanians, period.  And America couldn’t even get a gymnast in the athletes list.

Needless to say, Bela Karolyi didn’t make the list.

Another list Nadia made an appearance on as the sole female gymnast was the Laureus World Sports Awards, as a member of their “Academy.”

On Answers.Yahoo.com, the question “Who is the best gymnast in the world?” was posed.  While this is just an opinion board, it’s interesting to see Nadia mentioned quite often in the answers.  An answer I liked was:

“At present after Svetlana Khorkina, I don’t see anyone.”

I’m tired of looking at lists.


Posted on March 15, 2012, in Elite Gymnastics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Boobs are much more fun than lists. Breast implants are very creepy to me. I think Nadia looked better before the “enhancement”. Just one man’s opinion.

    I’m glad you are back. I still enjoy your stories.

  2. That list of 100 Greatest Romanians gets a big side-eye from me, simply because Ceausescu is on it. (Right below Nadia, huh.) The same guy who tried to squeeze the last drops of freedom from his people and was eventually overthrown and assassinated, this guy? Okaaaaay.

    By the way, Vlad Tepes should have been in the top 10. (And he was right below Ceausescu, go figure.)

    By the way, it is Lithi of the Shushunova loving variety, if you’re checking the email address. For some reason WP is being a dick and won’t let my comments under my other email addy go.

  3. And what is your favorite word for boobs? Knockers, tits, breasts? I always say tits but everyone says girls shouldn’t say that, oh well!

    • Yeah, people love to tell people what they should say. For me, if I’m having a normal conversation with a normal person, I will say “breasts.” If I’m talking about LARGE breasts, “knockers” is the only way to go. My mother thinks it’s a crude word, but if she took a look at A-Suk, she’d realize the word fits perfectly.


  4. I liked to read this. For some reason I’ve always liked to rank ‘things’ (or people).

    I wouldn’t take that list of the 100 Romanians too seriously because I’ve read some names that are totally out of context there. That’s what happens when you make a public voting, people sometimes vote for stupid options. They should make it again but with more serious criteria. This doesn´t affect most of the top-30 places though, and of course Nadia who is deservedly well placed. If you look at it, Nadia is the first woman in the ranking, which is equal to say that she’s the most important Romanian woman ever.

    My top-15 would be:
    1.Stefan cel Mare
    2.Mihai Eminescu
    3.Mihai Viteazul
    4.Ion Antonescu
    5.Emil Cioran
    6.Henri Coanda
    7.George E.Palade
    8.Mircea Eliade
    9.Nadia Comaneci
    10.Gheorghe Hagi
    11.Nicolae Paulescu
    12.Alexandru I.Cuza
    13.Traian Vuia
    14.Corneliu Zelea-Codreanu (not even included in the original list. Political correctness? Fuck them)
    15.Ana Aslan

    Special mention to Queen Marie of Romania, even if she wasn´t born Romanian, she loved this country more than many Romanians and become ‘one of us’ (“Romania needs a face, and I will be that face”).

    About your original question, maybe it’s difficult for a gymnast to make the top-100, or whatever, of the American athletes, for various reasons. Americans have hundred and hundred of succesfull athletes in many other sports. Gymnastics being a minoritary sport and where USA is not the main reference doesn´t help either.
    Anyway that list of American athletes you posted only covers the 20th century, so maybe that’s why Nasty or Carly aren´t there :)

    A comment in that Yahoo site: “Honestly I think Shawn Johnson is the best. She is the best gymnasts I’ve seen in my entire life. It’s hard to compare her to anyone past or present.”

    That’s one of those dimwit Shawn fan you oftenly talk about haha?

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for posting periodicaly pics from Dobre’s nude photoshoot. Before reading your articles I didn’t even know who she was, and now me and my best friend are very happy we have her nudes. :)
    Also, while I don’t hate Alicia as much as you do, do you think she’ll be the firts gymnast to do porn after her career? With a body like hers, that path is practicaly begging to be gone down.

    • I’m sorry this took sooooooooo long, but I let comments back WAY up, and I paid the price.

      That’s awesome that I was able to introduce to a nude Dobre – and a Dobre, period. What a beauty she was.

      I totally agree and have said in other places that A-Suk is headed to porn, because that’s the only industry that’s going to want her.

      Come back if you want to. Things are somewhat moving again.


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