Gaylord, Mitchell

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GAYLORD, MITCHELL (1961– ), U.S. gymnast, winner of four medals at the 1984 Olympics. Born in Los Angeles, California, Gaylord was named the city's high school athlete of the year in 1979. He attended ucla, and saw his first international competition at the 11th Maccabiah Games in 1981, winning six gold medals and one silver – coming in second to his brother, Chuck. The seven medals tie him for the most won by an individual athlete at a single Maccabiah Games. Gaylord earned a 10 on the high-bar at the 1982 U.S.A. Championships, resulting in a gold medal, won the all-around championship at the 1982 National Sports Festival, and was the No. 1-ranked gymnast in 1983 and 1984. Gaylord invented two skills now named internationally after him – the Gaylord Flip and the Gaylord Two, considered two of the most difficult feats in gymnastics. Gaylord won the U.S. national championship in 1983 and 1984, when his 117.85 set an American record, and the all-around title representing ucla at the 1984 ncaa championship with a score of 116.95.

At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Gaylord won a gold medal in the team event, a silver in vaulting, and bronze medals in both rings and parallel bars. His score of 59.45 in the team competition is a U.S. record, and he was the first American gymnast in history to receive a perfect "10." President Ronald Reagan thereafter appointed him to the President's Council for Physical Fitness. Gaylord is co-author with his brother of Working Out Without Weights (1987).

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]