SALNIKOV Vladimir (1960) Russia / Swimming
This Russian swimmer, who was unbeaten over 1500 m for nearly ten years, remains the top long distance specialist.His exceptionally long athletic career enabled him to win four Olympic gold medals between 1980 and 1988. In 1980 he took all the European championship, world championship and Olympic championship titles. He was record holder of the 400 m and 1500 free style events, and was unrivalled at the Moscow games. He was the first athlete to swim 1500 m in under 15 minutes. A few days later he won a third gold medal in with the Soviet relay team in the 4x200 m free style event.He was unable to go to Los Angeles in 1984 because of the Soviet boycott, but got his fourth gold medal for the 1500 m at Seoul in 1988.