Viktor Chukarin

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Viktor Chukarin
Viktor Chukarin.jpg
Personal information
Full nameViktor Ivanovich Chukarin
Country representedUSSR
Born(1921-11-09)9 November 1921
Krasnoarmeyskoye, Donets Governorate, Ukrainian SSR
Died25 August 1984(1984-08-25) (aged 62)
Lviv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
ClubIskra Lvov
Burevestnik Lvov[1]

Viktor Ivanovich Chukarin (Russian: Виктор Иванович Чукарин, Ukrainian: Віктор Іванович Чукарін; 9 November 1921 – 25 August 1984) was a Soviet gymnast. He won eleven medals including seven gold medals at the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics (including the individual all-around title on both occasions) and was the all-around world champion in 1954. He was the most successful athlete at the 1952 Summer Olympics.


Chukarin was born in Krasnoarmeyskoye village in Donets Governorate[a] (modern-day Novoazovsk Raion of the Donetsk Oblast) to a Don Cossack father Ivan Evlampievich Chukarin and a Pontic Greek mother Hristina Klimentievna Lamizova.[2][3] In 1924 his family moved to Mariupol where he started training in gymnastics. Later Chukarin studied at the Institute of Physical Education in Kiev.

In 1941 with the start of the Great Patriotic War he volunteered for the Red Army. He fought under the general Mikhail Kirponos. Chukarin was wounded in action, taken prisoner of war near Poltava (Kiev Cauldron) and sent to a prisoner camp in Sandbostel. He then went through a chain of 17 prisoner camps and by the time when he was freed in 1945 weighed only 40 kg. He was not accepted back to the sports institute in Kiev, and studied in a similar institution in Lviv.[3]

In 1946 he already competed in gymnastics at the Soviet national championships; next year he finished fifth, and in 1948 won a national title. He became the all-around Soviet champion in 1949 and repeated this achievement in 1950, 1951, 1953 and 1955.[4]

Soviet Union joined the Olympic Games in 1952 when Chukarin was 30. By then Chukarin gained much weight and was considered bulky for a gymnast. As a result, he had low scores on the floor, yet he won six medals, including the individual all-around by a margin of 0.7 points. He won five more Olympic medals at the 1956 Summer Olympics, including a silver on the floor.[4]

He led the Soviet team to the victory at the 1954 World Championships, winning gold in the team all around and the individual all around.

In 1957 along with Larisa Latynina, Chukarin was awarded the first ever Order of Lenin given to an athlete.[4][5]

He recounted his sport career in the 1955 book entitled The Road to the Peaks (Put K Vershinam). In 1961, he coached Armenian gymnastics team, and in 1963 became an assistant professor at the Lviv Institute of Physical Culture.[1][4] He died in 1984 and was buried at the Lychakiv Cemetery. One of the streets in Lviv was named after him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donetsk Oblast was not created until later (1938).


  1. ^ a b Viktor Chukarin.
  2. ^ Andrei Uskensky. Olympic Gold after a Camp Dust // Novaya Gazeta, February 20, 2003 (in Russian)
  3. ^ a b Farid Dasaev. Tragedy and Triumph of the Great Olympian article at Physical Culture and Sport No 1, January 1, 2012 ISSN 0130-5670 (in Russian)
  4. ^ a b c d «Ахиллесова пята» Виктора Чукарина. Как узник Бухенвальда выиграл Олимпиаду. Argumenty i Fakty. 18 September 2014
  5. ^ Boris Khavin (1979). All about Olympic Games (in Russian) (2nd ed.). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. p. 589.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rysovanyy, Y. (1978). Sportsmen of the Ukraine in the Olympic Games, Zdorovya.

External links[edit]