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04 Aug 1984
Los Angeles 1984

Gymnast Gushiken continues Japanese tradition of all-round greatness

Gymnast Koji Gushiken continued a long line of Japanese success in the men’s Olympic all around competition with a stunning win in Los Angeles in 1984.

Japan dominated the event in the 1960s and despite many of the major gymnastics powerhouses being absent from the 1984 Games, Gushiken could genuinely claim to be the world’s best - but only by a whisker.

He started the preliminary rounds in modest style, qualifying in only fifth for the men’s final with his Chinese and American rivals forcing the early pace.

Come the white-hot atmosphere of the final at the UCLA Pauley Pavilion, and the 27-year-old Gushiken discovered his best form.

He had won the rings gold at the world championships in Budapest the previous year but this was the first occasion he’d threatened major international success in the multi-discipline although he did capture a bronze at the 1981 worlds.

With Russia’s Dmitry Bilozerchev absent, the contest developed into a duel between Gushiken and the hometown favourite Peter Vidmar.

Vidmar enjoyed the hysterical, vocal backing of the local fans and pushed Gushiken all the way.

The Japanese carded 9.90 from the judges for the opening floor and pommel horse routines and extended his lead a touch over Vidmar with a 9.95 in his speciality event, the rings.

He stunned the watching crowd with a perfect 10, the first of the competition, in the vault before the two matched each other with 9.90 in the parallel bars.

It all came down to the final event, the high bar. And Vidmar sent the crowd wild with the third perfect 10 of the competition leaving Gushiken no room for error with his closing effort.

Gushiken did not disappoint and he scored 9.95 to score the highest ever total in an Olympic final and ensure the gold went to Japan for the fourth time in six Games.

He went on to secure another four medals including gold in his beloved rings event.

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