Olga Korbut, the darling of the Olympic gymnastics in the 1970s, has sold her medals as she faces financial troubles.
Korbut, 61, moved to the United States in 1991 and now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Heritage Auctions organized the sale of the medals, other awards and memorabilia from Korbut's career, which transformed gymnastics.
Korbut sprang onto the Olympic scene with bounce, with energy and with charisma, winning three gold medals and a silver at the 1972 Munich Games, when she was 17, where she became an instant international star. She added another gold medal and silver at the 1976 Montreal Games.
Playing to the crowds with signature pigtails and ear-to-ear smile, the 4-foot-11 sprite nicknamed "The Sparrow from Minsk," pushed her sport from ballet-style moves to more athletic acrobatics, and created her own move, the Korbut Flip. She would somersault off a bar, then catch it. The move has since been banned from the Olympics because it is considered too dangerous.
She won fans with her style. Korbut invited the crowd to go on the ride with her in an era where Soviet athletes competed without emotions.
But outside of gymnastics, Korbut has had a rocky history. In the early 2000s in Atlanta, she was arrested for shoplifting in a supermarket, got mixed up with counterfeiting with her son, Richard Bortkevich, and she had trouble keeping up with her mortgage.
The auction raised about $182,000.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.