Japan's Takashi Ono had broken through as a star gymnast in Melbourne four years previously, winning gold in the horizontal bar in 1956, and he had also helped Japan to the silver medal in the team all-around event. He arrived in Rome with two objectives: to repeat his individual success, and to inspire Japan to the top step of the team all-around podium.
Managing to find his very best form in Rome, both goals were accomplished with considerable style.
He completed a successful defence of his horizontal bar crown with a composed, compelling display, and also won gold in the vault, tying for the title with the Soviet Union's Borys Shakhlin.
The individual all-around saw him lose to Shakhlin by the agonisingly slender margin of 0.05 points, while he picked up bronze medals in the rings and the parallel bars. Ono had won five individual medals, and his impact on the all-around team performance was huge.
Japan had been preparing male gymnasts for the all-round team competition for the four years since the previous Games and the improvement in standards was tangible. Shuji Tsurumi finished fourth overall, Yuko Endo tied for fifth with his 40-year-old team-mate Masao Takemoto, while Nobuyuki Aihara placed seventh. Five athletes in the top seven places represented a startling success for the Japanese team and they finished comfortably ahead of the Soviet Union to secure the coveted team gold.
It was to be the start of a run of five consecutive victories in the team all-around competition, a run broken only when Japan chose not to enter the 1980 Games in Moscow.