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Legendary Andrianov In Fight for His Life
(10 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Stricken by a rare neurological disorder, gymnastics legend Nikolai Andrianov is fighting for his life while his family desperately seeks treatment.

Nikolai Andrianov at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, where he won the all-around gold medal.

The 15-time Olympic medalist, 57, is suffering from multiple system atrophy (MSA), son Sergei Andrianov told IG.

"The diagnosis is olivopontocerebellar degeneration, terminal stage," Sergei said. "His illness is fatal and he will not have long to live, the doctors said."

MSA is a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder similar to Parkinson's Disease. It is characterized by motor control symptoms such as tremor, rigidity and loss of muscle coordination, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Beginning with weakness on his right side, the disease has severely disabled the elder Andrianov, who is confined to his bed at his home in Vladimir, Russia.

"His condition is bad. Very bad," Sergei said. "He cannot move either his arms or legs, and he cannot speak."

While the disease is terminal, the symptoms can be eased and quality of life improved with medical care. His family is hoping someone may be able to offer him treatment.

"I would be very grateful if someone could consult American doctors about my father's condition," said Sergei, a former gymnast who now coaches in Japan.

Andrianov began gymnastics at age 12, after witnessing a boy walking on his hands at the beach. He went to the gym in Vladimir where he was the oldest boy among the beginners. He decided to quit, but coach Nikolai Tolkachyov tracked him down and persuaded him to stay, seeing his potential.

From 1971-1980, Andrianov won 15 Olympic medals (seven gold, five silver, three bronze), 12 world championship medals (four gold and eight silver) and 18 European championship medals (10 gold, six silver, two bronze). His all-around titles include the 1975 European Championships, the 1976 Olympic Games and the 1978 World Championships. He is ranked third behind only fellow Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina (18 medals) and U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps (16 medals) on the all-time Olympic medal count.

After his retirement, he dedicated his life to gymnastics. He served as the head coach of the Soviet junior men's team from 1981-1992, judged internationally and was elected president of the Soviet Gymnastics Federation in 1990. He is married to two-time Soviet Olympic gold medalist Lyubov Burda.

In 1994, he accepted the invitation of former rival Mitsuo Tsukahara to coach in Japan. One of the gymnasts he coached was Tsukahara's own son, Naoya Tsukahara, who helped Japan win the team title at the 2004 Olympics.

In 2001, Andrianov was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Andrianov returned to Vladimir in 2002 to coach at the gym where he trained as a youth, now named after Tolkachyov. Among his pupils was future Olympian Yuri Ryazanov, who was killed in a car accident last October, days after winning the all-around bronze medal at the world championships in London. Despite his own illness, Andrianov was able to attend Ryazanov's funeral in Vladimir.

Those wishing to send messages of support to Andrianov, or those with medical resources who may be able to help, may contact Sergei Andrianov at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (15)add comment

Stacy said:

I'm so sorry to hear this. God bless you Nikolai Andrianov.
September 07, 2010
Votes: +7

Iana said:

This breaks my heart. Благослови тебя Бог! smilies/cry.gif
September 07, 2010
Votes: +2

briohnyg said:

This is sad. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
September 08, 2010
Votes: +1

Nestor Soares Publio said:

I was judge in Olympic Games in Moscou, and I judged you like gimnast. I am so sad to know this.
I was judge at Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 and I judged you. I am so sad to know this. Good bless to Andrianov father
September 08, 2010
Votes: +2

charlie magdaleno said:

we met at the 1991 worlds in Indianapolis. I am very sorry to hear of your condition. have your family look at maybe some information may help.
god bless.
September 09, 2010
Votes: +0

Holley Donaldson Graham said:

We met in the early 1970's the very first visit the Men's and Women's Russian teams traveled to the U.S. We visited Disneyland and rode several rides together. We performed our routines in exhibitions in So Cal. This indeed is very sad thoughts and prayers are with you now.
September 10, 2010
Votes: +0

Nellie said:

There are so many people remember Nikolai and I believe there will be many who wants to help him and his family to fight in such a difficult situation.I am sure he would never ask for help, but we all know that he needs every days medical help, which may be provided by professionals only. Even in Russia it is very expensive. We all know that in the past the Soviet Olympians didn't not get sponsors, did not receive big financial rewards....Today he needs financial support just to receive minimum medical help. He is still with us...I would like to ask all his teammates, friends, gymnastics fans and business people to support Nikolai in any possible way.
September 10, 2010
Votes: +3

yunus emre ünal said:

September 11, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

saysha; said:

This is tragic news. I watched Andrianov in 1976 and he was fantastic! My prayers go out to him and his family.
September 11, 2010
Votes: +0

Anneakc said:

Nikolai and his family will find some information and support at:

Patients Like Me (see the rare disease list on the left)

MSA support organization

We Move

Or in the UK

If he can get to the US, we have Movement Disorder
September 14, 2010
Votes: +0

Dayna Bauer said:

Having faith, patience and prayers
My Mom has been diagnosed with MSA last year. To help getting movement, take Carbodopa/Levodopa. It helps, but will need to be increased as the disease progresses.
There is a Specialist in Houston, TX that she went to; whom diagnosed her. Maybe you can find some hope and help there. I do not know his name, or I would let you know.
Will be praying for you.

Your friend in Christ,
September 28, 2010
Votes: +0

Rita said:

World MSA Day
Dear hope you will find some support through all the support groups around MSA.
Note that we have the World MSA Day on October 3,
Hope you can get the word around in your country.
the World MSA Day Team
September 29, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

Rita said:

World MSA Day
MSA (Multiple System Atrophy) is one of those diseases, categorised under “rare diseases,” also called the ‘orphaned’ group due to the difficulty to break through the shield.
The people involved in bringing about awareness and who have become involved in promoting MSA Day, range from patients, carers, family, friends and neighbours who are affected by or who know someone with MSA.
Through advertising and a day or week dedicated to them, “well known” diseases have their dedicated attention. So far MSA has received almost no attention.

Last year letters were posted to some organizations asking if there was a day dedicated to bringing about awareness of MSA. Sadly they knew of no special day dedicated to MSA.

It was proposed and agreed earlier this year that, going forward, October 3 would be used as MSA awareness day.
During March this year groups from all over joined together and held the Multiple System Atrophy Awareness month which was profoundly promoted by Pam Bower from the online support group at YahooGroups/shydrager.

MSA patients rely on Internet contact, as most are no longer able to travel, write, or speak. It has become a cross-border exchange of information, through long distant calls and /or emails. All MSA patients or carers want the world to know about MSA.

Awareness Month has been met with great enthusiasm and has enjoyed great success. In the meantime preparation is in progress for MSA Day - a day that will be held, all over the world.
Being the first year, you can say we are still in the embryonic state, but as we know: ‘Rome was not built in a day.

We rely on the local support groups and organizations to highlight MSA in their own group, area, city, and country.
Each local group can use this day to promote local Awareness and obtain funding and support.
It is through the local groups that World MSA Day will become the most important day of the year for all MSA patients.

In the United States you can join the annual MSA conference in San Diego Oct 1st & 2nd by contacting the In the Netherlands a big conference is held on October 2nd and in Belgium a press release and info session is held in the University of Antwerpen on September 30.
For more info please, look into the links of the World MSA Day web or ask your local support group. Maybe they have planned something already, possibly something great, but that they have not yet informed us.

Many responses were received from the correspondence sent out in August.
Hundreds of email addresses can be added to the list, but to avoid misuse, the addresses are with-held to protect those who are eager to get in contact with other MSA patients.
To enable us to deal with the big demand, we promise to address this issue for the World MSA Day in 2011.
All organizations that have a web-site can be linked for free to the official webpage of World MSA Day.

The correspondence is centralized in Belgium and freely hosted by the MSA support group.
Rita Schouppe, who’s husband died in December 2009 after a long battle with MSA, will coordinate messages to all related Groups
Some others involved are:
Alessandro DiGregorio from Italy, Frieda, Janet from Ireland, Max, …
Yvette from Israel. Some countries to date have no web and at the moment communicate by post.

Everyone agreed to be contacted through the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it web-site.
Rita was appointed as spokesperson to represent them all.
This is a great start for all MSA patients and all the platforms related to this disease.

Even though we speak different languages, are different colours and are of different cultures, we all have the same disease.
With all our differences we are united in battling MSA and we truly hope in miracles. One day they will find how to cure MSA.
Please spread the word….

Rita Schouppe, spokesperson
World MSA Day Volunteers Team

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

September 29, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

vCloud said:

so sad
This is so tragic. I'm so sorry to hear this.
November 09, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

Vlad said:

Пожалуйста примите наши соболезнования б связи со смертью Вашего отца и мужа. Он бил выдающийся спортсмен
March 23, 2011
Votes: +0

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