Larissa Semyonovna Latynina (born December 27, 1934 in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR) is a Soviet gymnast who was the first female athlete to win nine Olympic golds. She holds the record for winning the most Olympic medals at 18 (nine gold medals, five silver and four bronze). After the 1966 World Championships she became a coach for the Soviet national gymnastics team, a position she held until 1977. She organized the gymnastics competition at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. During her life she was awarded with many noble honors, among them is the Olympic Order (silver) by the International Olympic Committee. In 1998 her name was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
On August 15, 2008, Larissa Latynina, one of the noblest Russian athletes in the globe, whose record at eighteen Olympic Medals is still unbroken, congratulated the talented American swimmer Michael Phelps for surpassing her in the number of gold medals.