One of Russia’s top male gymnasts, Alexei Nemov won 12 Olympic medals and earned the nickname Sexy Alexei from fans and sports commentators. Nemov's sense of showmanship and his routines, packed full of exciting skills, have won him many fans. He had a unique style and elegance whenever he performed.
As a 16-year-old he made his debut at the 1993 World Championships, finishing fifth in the floor exercises. The following year, he established himself as a true all-round contender, winning his qualifying session at the World Championships, though he later faltered and dropped to 12th overall. He won his first major all-around title at the Goodwill Games in St.Petersburg in 1994, beating his second-placed teammate and World Championship silver medallist Aleksei Voropaev by over one point.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Nemov won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals. Over the next four years he continually battled recurring shoulder injuries, yet he surprised everyone at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when he produced the best gymnastics of his career, once again taking home six medals, including the all-round title.
Although never regaining his form of 2000, Nemov competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics, mainly as an anchor for the fledgling Russian team.
Nemov's performances brought the house down in Athens, and placed him in the middle of a judging controversy. After performing a routine with several release skills in the high bar finals, the judges posted a score of 9.725. The outraged Greek crowd upon seeing the results interrupted the competition for nearly 15 minutes. The judges re-evaluated the routine, and increased his score to a 9.762, but still out of the medals. The crowd continued their raucous protest, which only subsided after Nemov stepped up to the podium and pleaded for quiet for the sake of the other competitors. This incident produced a reconstruction of the scoring system which was implemented in 2006.
Over the years Nemov has rarely criticised the judges or the situation in which he found himself. And he was awarded $40,000 by the Russian Olympic Committee in recognition of his class and character.