On July 31, 1984, the men's gymnastics U.S. Olympic Team accomplished a feat that hadn't been carried out in 50 years. In front of a crowd of more than 13,000, Team USA won team gold.
China, who defeated the Soviet Union to become the reigning world championship team, was favored to win at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. When the Soviet Union opted out of competing at the Games, the United States was in contention with China.
America's Olympic Team--Tim Daggett, Bart Connor, Mitch Gaylord, James Hartung, Scott Johnson and Peter Vidmar--performed almost flawlessly. The gymnasts, who were all NCAA athletes, each completed a compulsory and an optional event on all six pieces of equipment. The highest five scores for each team on the 12 events made up the team score.
After Day 1's compulsory exercises, the USA Team held a 1.05 lead over China. The compulsory exercises are mandatory and prearranged while the optional exercises are individually crafted by each particular gymnast.
The 1984 U.S. Olympic Team gymnasts continued to put on a stunning show. In 1983 and 1984, Gaylord was the No. 1-ranked gymnast. In the history of American gymnastics, he was the first to attain a perfect 10 in the Games. He brought home silver on the vault and a bronze in both the rings and the parallel bars.
At the 1984 Olympic Trials, Daggett almost didn't make Team USA. Only the top six positions qualify, and he was sitting at 10th after the first day. He used his discouragement to his advantage and performed a stellar routine on Day 2. At the 1984 Games, he received a perfect 10 on the high bar and won bronze on the pommel horse.
Less than a year before the Games, Connor endured a torn biceps injury, his second in approximately five years. After facing an intense recovery, he still managed to come in first on the parallel bars.
In USA Gymnastics history, Vidmar is the highest-scoring gymnast. At the 1984 Games, he collected a gold on the pommel horse--after earning a perfect 10--and a second-place finish in the individual all-around, becoming the first American to secure an all-around medal at the Games.
China led the USA in the floor exercise (by 0.55 points), the vault (by 0.05 points) and the horizontal bars (by 0.35 points), but the 1984 US team led China in the parallel bars (by 0.6 points), the rings (by 0.3 points) and the pommel horse (by 0.65 points). In the end, Team USA defeated China by 0.6 points.
The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame inducted the 1984 men's gymnastics U.S. Olympic Team in the 2006 Class, forever marking the gymnasts' achievement as an amazing moment in Olympic history.
"Amazing Moments in Olympic History" will be published every Wednesday on teamusa.org. Check back weekly to see more landmark achievements and incredible feats in the history of Team USA and the Olympic Movement.