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Former top gymnast Olga Korbut sells off Olympic medals

28 Feb 2017 | By Vijaya
Olga Korbut, the legendary Olympic gymnast

Olga Korbut, the gymnastics darling of the 1972 Munich Olympics, sold off her collection of medals and other trophies in a US auction.

The sale including two gold and a silver medal from the Munich Olympics, fetched $333,500 for the 61-year-old, who has had financial difficulties.

The most expensive item was her team Olympic gold medal which got her $66,000.

In context: Olga Korbut, the legendary Olympic gymnast

28 Feb 2017Former top gymnast Olga Korbut sells off Olympic medals

ProfileWho is Olga Korbut?

Olga Korbut is a former Soviet gymnast born in Belarus, in 1955.

The 4 ft-11 inches tall Korbut captured the imagination of sporting-world with her breathtaking gymnastic display, as a 17-year-old, at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

She won millions of admirers across the globe with her performances earning her the name "the Sparrow from Minsk." At Munich she won 3 golds and a silver.

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1976 Olympic medals

Korbut also went on to win two medals - a gold and a silver, at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
The Korbut flip

Star of gymnasticsThe Korbut flip

Olga Korbut is widely credited for the explosion of gymnastics' popularity on global level and for revolutionizing gymnastics as a competitive sport.

She was the first gymnast to perform a backward aerial somersault on balance beam and uneven bars.

'Korbut flip' as it is known, the spectacular trick she performed on uneven bars is now banned from Olympics as it is considered too dangerous.

28 Feb 2017Personal crisis

Korbut relocated to the US in 1991 and now lives in Arizona.

Her life in US was not smooth. Olga lost her house in 2001 due to mortgage payment problems, arrested for shoplifting the following year, and her son was caught in a counterfeit money scam.

Reporting on her auction of medals, Russian newspaper Gazeta headlined it as "Medals saved Korbut from hunger."