You know where this is going.
For gymnastics fans in the 1990s, there was one man and one man only who epitomized the charm and charisma of the sport, and that was Alexei Nemov.
Rewriting Russian Gymnastics has called Nemov, the surprise 2000 Olympic all-around champion the "last of the Soviets." Nemov, like Roza Galieva and Dina Kotchetkova, straddled the era between the Unified Team and the breakup of the Soviet Union, yet carried with him the class and finesse that still makes Soviet gymnastics so drool-worthy.
His career was like a dream. He was the instant It Boy of the sport after making his debut for Russia at the 1993 World Championships, and he lived up to his billing in Atlanta in 1996, winning six medals, helping the Russian team to a surprise victory over China and taking silver in the all-around. He had done so much that by the time he won the Olympic all-around title in 2000, it hardly seemed conceivable that he had been around so long.
He was the most decorated athlete of the 1996 Games, but what delighted everyone more than the medal-worthy performances was the flirty personality, the fact that he'd take his shirt off during exhibitions, that, to quote LMFAO, he was sexy and he knew it. After the stoic, iron performances of many of his predecessors and contemporaries, here at last was a man who tumbled to greatness and allowed you to see him enjoy it.
Nemov was more than just a pretty face, though. He endured almost seven years at the top of his sport before winning the 2000 Olympic all-around gold medal in a rather surprising performance. He was past his prime in 2004, but still gave memorable performances in Athens, especially on high bar (remember how he returned to the podium to shush the crowd as it hollered for the judges to raise his score in event finals?)
Nemov had incredible flair (good form doesn't begin to describe it; his toepoint would make Baryshnikov blush) and personality (it's hard to express personality on high bar. He did it by flicking his wrist out to the side on a pirouette, making a half turn suddenly the most elegant skill in the exercise). Gymnastics has gotten harder since he was at the top of the sport, but his exercises, like all the great ones, are still among the most pleasing that exist.
Check out his floor from the 1996 Olympic all-around final here. Better yet, watch his exceptional performance in event finals at the 1997 Worlds. Both are not routines to be watched. They're routines to be enjoyed.