Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: August 5, 1984
Participants: 136 (71 men and 65 women) from 19 countries
Youngest Participant: Laura Muñoz (14 years, 52 days)
Oldest Participant: Volker Rohrwick (30 years, 14 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Li Ning (6 medals)
Most Medals (Country): United States (16 medals)
The Eastern Bloc boycott severely affected the 1984 Olympic gymnastics competition, as the Soviet Union was the top nation in the world for both men and women. However, by 1984 Romania was becoming a power in women’s gymnastics, challenging the Soviets, and Japan was still almost the equal of the Soviet men. They were both in Los Angeles, as were the host American gymnasts, who by 1984 had become among the world powers for both men and women. In addition, China was making its Summer Olympic début and its men gymnasts were among the world’s best.
The men’s competition was a virtual tie among nations between Japan, China and the United States. Japan and China won nine medals, with the USA taking eight, while China won four golds and the United States and Japan won three each. Those three nations won 27 of 28 medals, the lone other medal going to Philippe Vatuone of France, a bronze won on floor exercise. The women similarly saw three nations win, in this case, everything. Romania and the United States both won eight medals, but Romanians won five golds to two for the USA. China won the only two other medals in the women’s events.
The 1984 gymnastics events took place at Pauley Pavilion which may not have meant much to European and Asian gymnasts, but was a venue with a heralded place in USA sporting history. Pauley Pavilion was, and is, the home of UCLA basketball, where John Wooden led the Bruins to 10 NCAA Championships between 1963-75.