Whatever Happened to
Nikolai Andrianov?

Andrianov's Competitive Results:

1969 Junior Friendship Tournament: 1st Team, 1st AA
1969 USSR Schools Spartakiade: 1st AA
1970 Junior Friendship Tournament: 1st Team, 1st AA
1971 European Championships: 3rd AA, 1st PH, 1st V, 2nd RG, 2nd PB, 3rd FX
1971 USSR Championships: 1st AA
1972 Olympic Games: 1st FX, 2nd T, 3rd VT, 4th AA, 6th PB, 6th HB
1972 USSR Championships: 1st AA
1972 USSR Cup: 1st AA
1973 Chunichi Cup: 6th AA
1973 European Championships: 2nd AA, 1st FX, 1st V, 2nd RG, 2nd PB, 4th PH, 6th HB
1973 University Games: 1st AA, 1st FX, 1st PH, 1st VT, 4th RG, 5th HB
1974 Chunichi Cup: 2nd AA
1974 World Championships: 2nd Team, 2nd AA, 1st RG, 2nd PH, 2nd VT, 2nd PB
1975 European Championships: 1st AA, 1st FX, 1st V, 1st PB, 1st HB, 2nd PH, 5th RG
1975 World Cup: 1st AA, 1st PB, 2nd FX, 2nd PH, 6th RG, 6th HB
1976 Olympic Games: 1st AA, 1st FX, 1st RG, 1st VT, 2nd Team, 2nd PB, 3rd PH
1976 USSR Cup: 4th AA
1977 World Cup: 1st AA, 1st FX, 1st RG, 1st PB, 2nd V, 7th PH
1978 World Championships: 1st AA, 1st RG, 2nd Team, 2nd V, 2nd PB, 4th FX
1979 Pre-Olympics: 6th PH
1979 USSR Spartakiade: 4th AA
1979 World Championships: 1st Team, 2nd VT, 4th FX, 7th PH
1980 Olympic Games: 1st Team, 1st V, 2nd AA, 2nd FX, 3rd HB
1980 USSR Championships: 3rd AA

Results courtesy of Gymn Forum, in particular Gymn Forum's Andrianov biography

A photo of Andrianov can be found at the homepage of the Italian Gymnastics Federation

A strong contender for international success during the Soviet's quests for reign of the sport, Nikolai earned a total of 15 Olympic and 13 World Championship medals. His strong contributions to his team's success led the beginning of Soviet dominance in the sport from what previously belonged to the Japanese. Nikolai was known not only for his winning results, but also for his innovativeness (he was the first man to compete a triple back off the high bar) and technical mastery of the sport.

Andrianov was born in 1953, in the Russian town of Vladimir. Nikolai's father left the family when the children (Nikolai and his three sisters) were young. Nikolai responded by becoming a bit of a "wild" child: he skipped school, failed to hand in assignments, fought with his peers, and got into much trouble with his teachers. Fortunately, when he was 11, Nikolai's best friend, Zhenya Skurlov, convinced Nikolai to accompany him to the local gymnastics school.

The gymnastics instructor, Nikolai Tolkachev, agreed to coach the young Andrianov. Tolkachev soon learned of Andrianov's bad behaviour. He decided that Andrianov needed a stronger figure in his life, soon after Andrianov found himself living with Tolkachev. Under Tolkachev's guidance, Andrianov's attitude improved. Tolkachev was clearly more than just a coach to young "Kolasha, " he was mentor and father figure as well.

Five years after beginning gymnastics, Andrianov made his competitive debut at the 1969 Junior Spartakiade (aka Schoolchildren's Spartakiade) in Yerevan, USSR. Tolkachev took note of what the specialists said about Andrianov, and after the competition the pair returned to Vladimir to refine Andrianov's program. One year later, Andrianov earned a spot on the 1970 Worlds team (albeit as an alternate). Andrianov continued to improve, and the following year he competed in the 1971 European Championships. Andrianov brought home six medals, two of which were gold. Andrianov had clearly made a name for himself internationally.

As the 1972 USSR Champion, Andrianov was the Soviet's best hope for gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics. After compulsories, Andrianov was a close second behind Japan's Sawao Kato. Unfortunately, a mistake on the pommel horse led him to finish out of the medal standings (4th AA). Although the Japanese had once again dominated the sport of men's gymnastics, the event finals saw the beginnings of the Soviet domination - Andrianov beat four of Japan's top gymnasts to earn gold on the FX. 

Over the next four years, Andrianov amassed numerous awards. He also married fellow gymnast Lyubov Burda, a member of the Soviet's gold medal winning 1968 and 1972 Olympic teams. The two originally met at the 1969 Junior Spartakiade. In 1975, the couple's first son was born. They named him Seryozha (Sergei). The later years the couple welcomed a second son, Dmitri. 

Andrianov's big moment came in 1976 when he battled Japan's Sawao Kato one more time. In Montreal, Andrianov crushed the Japanese by collecting 7 medals: four golds (including the AA crown), two silvers, and one bronze. He was awarded the Order of Lenin and Soviet journalists named him Sportsman of the Year. Despite the impressive results, Andrianov was not finished. In 1980 he made his third (!) Olympic appearance, amassing another five medals. 

Nikolai retired from the competitive aspect of the sport in 1980, replacing the retired Tolkachev as the head of the Vladimir gymnastics school. One of his pupils was his son Sergei. Sergei did compete international (I remember hearing that he finished second in a meet in South America), though nowhere to the extent of his father. 

Andrianov also coached Russian superstars Vladimir Artemov, Vitaly Scherbo, Alexei Nemov, and Dmitri Vassilenko - all whom went on to win Olympic gold. Artemov won the 1988 Olympic AA, Scherbo captured six of eight possible gold medals in Barcelona, and Nemov and Vassilenko won team gold and more in Atlanta.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Andrianov left Russia for Japan. He coaches Naoya Tsukahara, who placed second overall at the recent 1999 World Championships in Tianjin, China. Oddly, one of Andrianov's biggest rivals during his competitive years was Naoya's father, the great Mitsiuo Tsukhara.

Update (April 14, 2001). Andrianov and Burda have apparently separated, Burda returning to Russia last year and Andrianov choosing to remain in Japan as Tsukahara's personal coach. Thanks to W. Sakata for this latest update.

Update (June, 2001). Andrianov was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Update (March 2011). Andrianov passed away in his hometown of Vladimir, Russia on March 21, 2011 after suffering from multiple systems atrophy, a rare neurological disorder. In his final few months, the disease robbed him of his speech and use of his limbs. He was 58.

Andrianov was born in 1953

2000-2002. This page was created on January 21, 2000 and last updated June, 2001.

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