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Looking back: Day 2 / Sunday, July, 29, 1984

U.S. swim team has a big day and the men's gymnastics team sets the stage against China.

July 29, 2009|Bill Brink

Los Angeles was host to the Summer Olympics 25 years ago. This second part of a 16-day series looks back at Day 2, Sunday, July 29, 1984:

The big news

The U.S. swim team cruised to four gold medals on the first day of competition. Carrie Steinseifer, 16, and Nancy Hogshead -- good friends and roommates in the Olympic village -- tied for first in the 100-meter freestyle and shared the gold medal. They touched the wall simultaneously in 55.92 seconds.

Steve Lundquist set a world record in the 100 breaststroke, becoming the first man in history to break 1:02 with a blazing 1:01.65. (The world record was smashed this week in Rome: 58.58.) And Tracy Caulkins won the gold in the 400-meter individual medley. Americans won six of the nine gold medals awarded on the first day of competition.

The big surprise

Members of China's men's gymnastics team scored six perfect 10s yet were shocked to find themselves trailing the U.S. after one day. Peter Vidmar, performing on the same Pauley Pavilion floor where he distinguished himself as a UCLA gymnast, scored a 10 on the pommel horse and UCLA teammate Mitch Gaylord got a 10 on the parallel bars. Those were the first perfect scores in U.S. Olympic history.


"After the first day, we had a one-point lead in compulsories and thought, 'Let's not hold back and let's hold onto this lead' and we did," Vidmar recalled recently. "We knew that there was something special about us as a team, the question was, was it enough?"

From the archives

"After a 32-year absence from the Olympics, the Chinese found themselves thrown into the arms of Bob Knight Sunday, with results that were predictable. The U.S. men's basketball team blew them apart, but then you have to start somewhere." -- Basketball writer Mark Heisler on the 97-49 U.S. first-round victory.

Spotlight on

Xu Haifeng. The Chinese fertilizer salesman won not only the first gold medal of the Games, but China's first Olympic gold medal in history -- in the 50-meter pistol shooting.

-- Bill Brink

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