Peter Vidmar just misses gold in men's gymnastics

Los Angeles was host to the Summer Olympics 25 years ago. This sixth part of a 16-day series looks back at Day 6, Thursday, Aug. 2, 1984:

The big news

Two days after the U.S. men's gymnastics team stunned China by winning the gold medal, American gymnast Peter Vidmar came oh-so-close to seeing more gold. But Vidmar, in the men's all-around competition at Pauley Pavilion, couldn't quite overcome Japan's Koji Gushiken, who had scored a 10 on vault and at least 9.9 on all other apparatuses. Vidmar lost by only .025 of a point to take the silver, becoming the first U.S. medalist in Olympic history in the men's all-around.

The big surprise

American swimmer George DiCarlo won gold in the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 3:51.23. For about five minutes, it was an Olympic record. However, in the consolation final, an exhibition being held in the Olympics for the first time, West Germany's Thomas Fahrner hit the wall in 3:50.91 in his 400-meter event. After an emergency meeting of FINA, swimming's international ruling body, Fahrner was granted the Olympic record and the consolation race was deemed a valid race to set Olympic records.


Vidmar has been a professional speaker for most of his career, talking at corporate functions about his Olympic experiences and how they relate to success in life. He now lives in Orange County with his wife and five children. Vidmar is one of the vice presidents of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games. He has also written a book titled "Risk, Originality, and Virtuosity: The Keys to a Perfect 10." Recalling his experience at the '84 Games, Vidmar confessed that even though he won the silver medal, he "actually knows what it feels like to be the Olympic champion in the all-around" because he did the math wrong and initially thought he had won the event.

From the archives

"Interview over, Olympic gold-medal gymnast Bart Conner turned to walk out of the TV control center but didn't get far. He was suddenly nose-to-famous nose with Mike Eruzione, captain of the historic 1980 United States Olympic hockey team, Miracle on Ice meets Miracle on the Mat. They shook hands without speaking. They stared, then smiled. Conner finally spoke: 'I guess you probably know what this feels like, huh?' Four years after Lake Placid, the goosebumps are back. " -- from an Aug. 2 article by Rick Reilly and Mike Penner about the U.S. men's gymnastics team

Spotlight on

Canadian swimmer Victor Davis broke his world record in the 200-meter breaststroke, taking his time from 2:14.58 to 2:13.34. His victory was one of the most lopsided thus far in the men's competition, a margin of almost 2.5 seconds. Davis' time also broke one of the longest-standing Olympic records, a time of 2:15.11 set by David Wilkie of Britain at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

-- Lauren Goldman


On 1984 Summer Games revisited

Photos from the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics and how some of the athletes look today, on our website.

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