Ranking the Best Gymnasts of Each Olympic Quad

Data Crunch #9.1

In the past I have worked with a points system where I award points for each medal a gymnasts wins. Only medals won in individual competition are counted. Wining a gold medal is worth 3-points, a silver is 2-points, and a bronze is worth 1-point. In the event of a tie, both gymnasts get the full point total. I have used this same system to rank the gymnasts across all eras, by nationality, and by each decade.

Now I have sorted the data to find who the best gymnasts were in each particular quad. The quads are listed below. But I also want to announce that I have centralized the data and have placed all of these rankings into a single article/hub to make it easier to find.

Now I am taking things one step forward by sorting the data to find who was the best gymnast in each Olympic quad. Below is a table and each year has a link to the full rankings for that particular quad.

The winners of each quad are listed below:

1936: Vlasta Dekanova
1940: Vlasta Dekanova
1952: Helena Rakoczy
1956: Agnes Keleti
1960: Larissa Latynina
1964: Larissa Latynina
1968: Vera Caslavska
1972: Ludmilla Turischeva
1976: Ludmilla Turischeva
1980: Nellie Kim

1984: Ecaterina Szabo
1988: Elena Shushunova
1992: Lavinia Milosovici
1996: Gina Gogean
2000: Svetlana Khorkina
2004: Svetlana Khorkina
2008: Nastia Liukin
2012: Aliya Mustafina
2016: Simone Biles
2021: Simone Biles

Some quick thoughts:

(1) There are five gymnasts who have won back to back quads (Dekanova, Latynina, Turischeva, Khorkina, and Biles).

(2) From 1976-2004 Romania produced a wave of highly capable gymnasts. Romania had a gymnast finish at the top of the rankings in four consecutive quads (1984-1996). Furthermore, Romania had a gymnast place 1st or 2nd in seven straight quads quads from 1980-2004. In the period from 1976-2004, a Romanian gymnast was always in the top-3 (eight consecutive quads).

(3) The highest ranking American gymnast of the 2012 quad was Rebecca Bross. Six non-Americans either matched or surpassed Rebecca’s score. The lack of a high ranking American gymnast can be explained by Team USA’s 2012 Olympic team being exceptionally young. Most of its members made their senior debut in 2011 or 2012.

(4) The Soviet Union (unsurprisingly) had the most impressive results. In the 11 Olympic quads it participated in, a Soviet gymnast was the highest ranking athlete in five of them. Of the six remaining quads, a Soviet gymnast finished second in the standings on all but one occasion. The only time a Soviet gymnast didn’t finish in the top two spots was when they boycotted the 1984 Olympics. Instead Olga Mostepanova had to settle for “only” third place.

(5) Larissa Latynina was by far the most dominant gymnast in this data. She won the 1960 and 1964 quads while finishing 2nd in the 1956 quad.

(6) The reason why there is no data for the 1948 Olympics is because individual medals weren’t contested at the 1948 Olympics. Individual medals would have been contested at the World Championships, but they were canceled due to World War II.

(7) In this data the 2021 Olympic quad is classified as “ongoing.” The 2021 Olympics will be included in the 2017-2020 data. Barring a change of date, the 2021 World Championships will be treated as the first competition of the 2021-2024 quad.


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