Nelli Kim was born of a Korean father and a Russian Tatar mother. Blessed with striking good looks, she was the darling of the media who also recognized her exceptional talent as a gymnast. She débuted at the World Championships in 1974 as a 17-year-old, finishing third on the balance beam. At the 1976 Montreal Olympcs, Kim won three gold medals, but is best remembered for scoring a perfect 10.0 in the vault and floor exercise. At the 1980 Olympics, she helped the Soviet Union retain the team championship, and shared first place in the floor exercises. Kim was also impressive at the World Championships at which she won 11 medals between 1974 and 1979. She married international gymnast Vladimir Achasov.