What's your first Olympic gymnastics memory?

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  1. First time I saw the olympics and the first time I saw compulsory routines and loved it. I remember being in awe of how floaty and light McNamara’s layout mount was on floor and in general how elite gymnastics could express so much virtuosity in relatively simple elements.
Correction: you said olympics
1st clear memory would be the 92 Olympics
First clear gymnastics memory and when I became hooked:
Svetlana Boginskaya - 1989 World Championships
Yeah, she impressed and left a lasting memory
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The Unified Team winning gold.

I have memories of watching gymnastics in general well before that, but when I look for the image of the first thing I specifically remember, it’s the team in those leotards getting their medals on the podium.
I remember my mom telling me Shannon won another bronze on bars in ‘92… I was playing outside. I was young but I remember being upset that she was doing so well and Kim fell. 🤦‍♀️ As I grew up by ‘96, I came to love and appreciate Shannon’s gymnastics.
I remember Dominique Moceanu’s beam and the team competition from Atlanta. I also maybe remember reading articles in a magazine at the dentist office about Kim in 1992 and wanting her to win before the competition but I don’t remember watching those Olympics while I definitely remember seeing Atlanta.

(I feel like I remember seeing the torch lighting from Barcelona but whether that is a memory or I’ve seen clips of it, I can’t tell. So I’m going with Atlanta. I completely missed all of Sidney because I was in a school class that took all day and evening every day for a month or so in the summer)
Atlanta 1996. I was 7 and just started doing gymnastics the year before. My mom recorded everything and I watched it over and over again. My mom was a huge fan of Podkopayeva and I remember liking Dominique Moceanu, Bi Wenjing and Simona Amanar the most. But really I loved almost every single gymnast. And even now, looking back I would say it was one of the most exciting competitions, with such a high level of gymnastics and a big pool of contenders.

Loved everything. And I have watched it so many times, that I was talking along with the commentator, because I knew exactly what he was going to say 🤣 I still remember some bits. But it was on VHS, so I can’t watch it anymore
Magnificent 7 Atlanta 1996. Also, Gymnastics Worlds 1996, held here in Puerto Rico. That very much got me in online gymnastics discussion. By the way, one of my first posts at OOBNess was “Dominique Moceanu is awesome !!”

José M.
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My first Olympic memory was Atlanta, compulsories through event finals. I was on a summer vacation in the US northwoods with my family and two other families. I was in gymnastics at the time as a child, so I always bonded with my parents’ longtime, childhood friend who did it in the 70s and whose family joined ours for these trips.

He died several months ago of complications from lung cancer, and it took me a bit to process that he was the first true gymnerd I ever knew and the first person to recognize I uniquely loved this sport somehow and thus the first person to tell me about the elite CoPs and some history.

Sorry, not to make things sad, and it wasn’t like his passing was a surprise, but all of Atlanta (and not just TO) is seared into my mind like 9/11, and it was that much more powerful having an unexpected mentor there with me.
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I remember watching Nadia in 1976. I had just turned five, and it was kind of a confusing summer. The Olympics somehow got conflated in my head with the U.S. Bicentennial, a hurricane that felled a tree on our front lawn, and my parents’ announcement that we were moving from Long Island to Delaware. Nonetheless, I realized that I loved watching gymnastics and really wanted to try it. My parents obligingly enrolled me in classes at a nearby gym, but I was terrified of the beam and the bars and quit after just a few weeks. (I ended up in competitive swimming, which was a much safer sport for a kid with a fairly significant visual impairment.)

My sharpest Olympic memories are from 1984. I was a hardcore fan by then, studiously reading every IG and rewatching every VHS tape of every competition that aired on TV. I was absolutely gutted when the Soviets announced their boycott. Yurchenko, Mostepanova, and Stoyanova were my favorites from '83 Worlds, and I was so disappointed for them–and for myself, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to watch them in real time. I took some comfort in Romania’s decision to attend, as I also loved Szabo and Agache. To this day, I wish that Agache hadn’t fallen apart in Optionals, and I still feel that Szabo should’ve won the AA. I just couldn’t with Retton. (I still can’t.) She was far and away my least-favorite American in LA. I thought McNamara was amazing (I’d always thought of her as a UB specialist–who knew she was so brilliant on FX), and it was lovely to see Johnson win an individual medal on beam.

I also remember the US men’s team victory that year, although I didn’t get to watch it on TV. My parents made me go to bed early because I had a big swim meet the next morning. My mom actually woke me up after the medal ceremony, and I was like, “OK, how am I supposed to go back to sleep now?”

Sorry for the dissertation.
I think this is my first Olympic memory too. (Although it wouldn’t shock me if you said this actually happened at trials.)

Atlanta is the first Olympics I really remember, but I do remember watching gymnastics on the weekend before the Olympics. It seems like gym was on all the time back then.
1988 was the first Olympics and I watched gymnastics but barely remember it. I just recalled that the cute Romanian girl got robbed by the mean looking Soviet. I was also happy an American won a beam medal but I didn’t know her name. Most of the 88 Olympics for me was watching Greg Louganis dive (and why I became a springboard diver when I got older) and also the magnificent Florence Griffith Joyner. I remember the live doves released at the Opening Ceremony and booing at Soviet and Eastern Bloc countries because COLD WAR.

1992 was really when I started to understand gymnastics more and I was fascinated by Shannon Miller and remember thinking it was cheating and wrong to replace an athlete with someone who fell and did not qualify. It was the first time I heard of “new life”.

1996 was when I got hooked on gymnastics as I was in high school and could research at the local library and scour the tv guide to see which meets were not on cable (we had an antenna and got 5 local channels only). I had watched nationals on tv and then of course made sure to watch trials because they were shown on local NBC affiliate. Recorded all of the Olympics night and day so I didn’t miss any diving, swimming, track, and of course gymnastics. Watching the Mag 7 win was my first WOW gymnastics memory because I had gotten to know the gymnasts through watching them all year, plus obviously the Kerri Strug moment.
The following year in 1997, my parents decided to get cable for whatever reason. This opened the door for me as now I had access to ESPN, ESPN 2, Sports Channel New England (RIP), MSG, and TBS. While there wasn’t much in terms of elite gymnastics (occasional international) it opened up a whole new world for me. Several junior meets were on ESPN, MSG and SCNE showed high school and NCAA gymnastics. SCNE showed Atlantic 10 gymnastics (UMass, Rhode Island, Temple, GWU). So I was able to expand my gymnastics enjoyment as well as my knowledge about the sport.
I have strong memories of the 1976 Olympics and Nadia. I was old enough to have watched Olga but with a family and 1 television set for everyone my opinions of TV shows weren’t first.
Athens 2004. I was 11, had watched some of the precursor meets (Scam, Pac Alliance, Trials), but I only had a good idea of the U.S. team. I was in London for two weeks training at the Royal Ballet School, where I saw a British TV Guide with a photo of Svetlana Khorkina’s hands. There was a caption of whether Russia could produce a performance “worth a bag of chalk,” after the failure of Anaheim.

Russia’s prelims subdivision was my first competition memory, where I was confused U.S. and Romania weren’t in the standings and thought they had bombed. I watched both TFs, turned on the television to see Paul Hamm winning, and flew home to the U.S. only to fall asleep after the first rotation of WAG AA. But I was obsessed and loved every minute, and that continued to EFs.

Athens gets shit on a lot, but for a newbie it was a tremendous education. The Romanian dynasty was still there, the U.S. had a resurgence, Russia was hanging on, Ukraine was still relevant, China failed to deliver but had one of its most talented teams, and France, Spain, Australia, and Brazil had their moments. In MAG there were judging controversies galore but also some historic results, with Hamm’s victory, Shewfelt winning FX, and Japan’s first team gold since Montreal.

Oh, and I was floored to hear Chusovitina competing at the ripe old age of 29 (!). Little did we know…
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I remember the Unified Team on floor during team optionals quite clearly, though I may well have tuned in for some of the competition before then. They made Svetlana Boguinskaya sound so old! Later in that games I kept asking my mom if Kim Z had won anything yet, and like some of the above posters was annoyed at Shannon for winning medals when my favorite had not.

By 1996 I was on top of things enough to have the TV guide and know the schedule, so I recorded and watched everything. I spent hours working on parts of the compulsory beam routine on the arm of an old (sturdy) armchair indoors and a two-by-four outdoors since I wasn’t in gymn classes that summer (I went back in the fall, only to injure my achilles in a non-gymnastics injury that winter). I still have much of that routine memorized. My dad later made a portable beam for me so I was able to upgrade from the 2x4 on which I had learned to tumble and do C-level dance skills. Not the safest, as it would rotate if I landed off center.

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