Known as "Mania the Bird" for her graceful and light vaults, Tamara Manina is part of a very select group of former Soviet gymnasts who earned at least 6 medals at the Olympic Games.
Manina had great of success outside of gymnastics as well. She graduated from the Leningrad Institute in 1965 and earned her master's degree from the prestigious Lesgaft Institute.
Known as "Mania the bird" for her graceful and light vaults, Tamara Manina is part of a very select group of former Soviet gymnasts who earned at least six medals at the Olympic games. Born on September 16, 1934, in Petrozavodsk, Russia, and raised in Leningrad, Tamara began gymnastics at the Young Pioneer Palace once her family returned to their hometown of Leningrad after being evacuated during the siege.
One of Tamara's most successful performances was at the 1954 Worlds where she won gold on vault, floor and in the team competition. At the 1956 Olympics, she placed 6th in the all-around, but managed to earn the silver medal on vault and balance beam, as well as helping her team win the gold and bronze medal. At the 1958 Worlds, the USSR team earned gold and Manina came away with silver on the vault and bronze in the all-around. Tamara missed the 1960 Olympics due to an injury, but at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, at the age of 30, she won gold in the team competition and earned silver on balance beam.
After her competition career came to an end, Manina stayed involved in the sport as a coach and a judge. She coached the French national team in 1975. Manina had a great success outside of gymnastics as well. She graduated from the Leningrad Institute in 1965 and earned her masters degree from the prestigious Lesgaft Institute. In 1975, Tamara began teaching at the Saint Petersburg State Art-Industrial Academy and she published more than 40 scientific, methodical and popular science books. Manina married Valery Lutkov, a sports medicine doctor, and together they had one son.