mackie80 (mackie80) wrote in the_chalk_bin,

Most Decorated American Gymnasts

Paul's comeback announcement got me thinking... what are the records for most decorated American gymnasts?  I know Shannon Miller holds the record at this point, but I'm not sure by how much.  She and Nastia both have 5 Olympic medals, but I'm not sure how many world medals either of them has.  (Does anyone know?) Just curious... how would you rank people in that regard?  I mean, how does Shannon's Olympic AA silver and 2 World AA golds compare with Paul's Olympic AA gold and World AA gold? (Btw, Paul is the only American to do both.)  How would Nastia fit in?  How about Blaine Wilson's 5 U.S. AA gold compared with Shannon's 2?  Or Kim Zmeskal with 3 U.S. plus a World AA gold? And how about event final medals?  Maybe we could come up with a point value system to rank everyone.  What do you think?   
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Nastia has 9 world medals (4 golds, 5 silvers)
Shannon has 9 world medals (5 golds, 2 silvers, and two bronzes)

Frankly I think it's unfair to compare gymnasts that didn't compete in the same code. I think you can compare Shannon and Kim because they competed at the same time but I think it's unfair to compare Shannon over Nastia (though Shannon is better, she didn't cowboy her saltos and have ugly frog legs on bars ;)) because they competed under two very different codes.
I think Shannon was a better gymnast that Kim.

I think Paul's a better gymnast that Blaine but I love them both so it's harder for me to compare those too.
The OP isn't comparing the gymnasts to each other directly, s/he's comparing them by quantifying their dominance during their respective eras. In other words, it's not so much "who's better?" as "who was better compared to other athletes of their time--how dominant were they during their time?" and quantifying that by assigning numeric values to specific medals/events. Because yes, you really can't do a head-to-head because of Code changes--obviously Liukin is performing more difficult skills than Miller did. Although considering what they've eliminated from the Code (the Thomas Salto, the Korbut flip on bars), you could make the case that some earlier gymnasts were better!
Thanks, yes, that's basically what I meant. Especially with the men--over the last 20 years its pretty much been dominated by three guys. (I had to laugh yesterday... with Paul's comeback yet again he won't be eligible for the hall of fame until 2017 if he goes to the London Olympics.)

Personally I've thought Kim was better than Shannon, but her career was so much shorter that it's difficult to compare. There's a lot to be said for longevity.

Part of my thought, too, is how much more important is a gold medal over silver. One thing that really strikes me is that Shannon Miller lost the gold by the same fraction that Paul Hamm won his. (Though I could never figure out what the judges saw to deduct from Shannon's last vault.)


July 30 2010, 21:39:39 UTC 7 years ago

I love how you manage to throw in an insult against Nastia EVERY time you mention her. Way to be classy!
Wasn't an insult. Just stating what she does. Lots of gymnasts cowboy their saltos. Other gymnastics have frog legs on bars. I don't like it.
Yeah, the cowboy always bugged me with Carly's beam dismount, even though I know it's a REALLY hard trick.
Frankly I think it's that gym. All their gymnasts do it. It makes me worried for Ivana because she had such great form :(
Thanks for specifying the world medals... I knew it was virtually the same. I know it's pretty much impossible to compare the women and the men, but I still like to. :o) Anybody know who's got the most world medals on the men's side? I realized I have no clue how many Blaine or John have!
Blaine only has one world medal and it's a Team Silver
For the American men (at least in recent memory), I believe that honor goes to Kurt Thomas. He has 7 World medals.
And most Olympic medals goes to Mr Mitch Gaylord I believe.
How many does Mitch have? I thought I remembered reading somewhere that Paul Hamm and Jon Horton were the only ones with more than one... but perhaps I'm mistaken.
Not further from the truth.

Bart Conner has two - 1984 gold for team, 1984 gold for parallel bars.

Peter Vidmar has three - 1984 team gold, 1984 pommel horse gold (tie) and 1984 all-around silver medalist (first American to win a medal in the AA at the Olympics).

Tim Daggett has two - 1984 team gold and bronze on pommel horse that year.

Mitch Gaylord won the 1984 team gold, then won silver for vault, bronze for parallel bars and bronze for rings that year. He's also noted as being the first American to score a perfect 10 in Olympic competition.

(And no, I'm not one who devalues those accomplishments for taking place during the 1984 Olympics. Don't hear folks decredit Mary Lou for winning gold in the AA that year, so... :P)

Also, Al Jochim won two silver medals (team and vault) during the 1932 Olympics. He's also known as being the flagbearer for the US at those Games; he's the one who refused to dip the flag in front of Hitler during the Opening Ceremonies.

And yeah, it's sad that I know all this random stuff...
Thanks for clarifying. I thought it was kinda weird when I heard it. Maybe they meant in the last twenty years or something. I hadn't realized Mitch was so successful. I wasn't old enough at the time to remember it, but I'm definitely going to have to go back and watch all the coverage now. :o)

Yeah, i don't discount the '84 games, either. The guys had to beat the world champions to win.
Aw, you know a little about the 84 team. :) Makes me happy 'cause sometimes folks tend to pass them over since the Soviets weren't there. (ironic since aside from one instance I know of, have never heard anything said about the boycott in regards to Mary Lou's gold. Ah well)

Meanwhile, here's Mitch's HB routine from the 94 AA:

In case you're interested, here's part one of the 1984 Event Finals. Links should be in the related portion for the remaining parts: