Mykola Avilov played basketball before taking up athletics in 1962. Initially a high jumper, he switched to decathlon in 1966. In 1968, Avilov won a bronze medal at the Soviet Championships and was selected for the 1968 Soviet Olympic team, where he finished fourth. His best year as an athlete was 1972, when he won the Olympic gold medal with a world record of 8,454 points (8,466 ). Four years later Avilov won a bronze medal at Montréal behind Bruce Jenner and Guido Kratschmer. Avilov also competed at the 1969 and 1971 European Championships, placing fourth in 1969 and abandoning the competition in 1971. He won decathlon gold at the 1970 Universiade, silver at the 1973 Universiade, and was Soviet Champion in 1972, and 1975-76. Avilov tried to make the 1980 Soviet Olympic team, but placed only fifth at the Soviet Championships and retired. After finishing his sports career, Avilov worked as an athletics coach in the Ukraine, Iraq, China, Egypt and the Seychelles. In 1971 he married fellow Ukrainian athlete, 1968 Olympic high jump bronze medalist Valentyna Kozyr.
Personal Best: Dec – 8466 (1972).