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Women’s gymnastics has been an official sport in the Summer Olympics since 1928, when the first female Olympic gymnasts competed in Amsterdam. Since then, it has become one of the most popular sports in the international games. Here’s a look at some of the sport’s most famous gymnasts and memorable moments in Olympics history.

1. US Wins First Team Medal for Women’s Gymnastics

U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team (American gymnast Ladislava Bakanic, American gymnast Marian Barone (1924-1996), American gymnast Dorothy Dalton (1922-1973), German-born American gymnast Meta Elste (1919-2010), American gymnast Consetta Lenz (1918-1980), American gymnast Helen Schifano (1922-2007), American gymnast Clara Schroth (1920-2014), American gymnast Anita Simonis (1926-2011) pose for a group portrait ahead of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, 1948.

The U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team (Ladislava Bakanic, Marian Barone, Dorothy Dalton, Meta Elste, Consetta Lenz, Helen Schifano, Clara Schroth, Anita Simonis) pose for a group portrait ahead of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. The team took home the bronze.

The 1948 London Olympics marked the return of the Olympic Games after World War II, and it also marked the first time the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won a medal in the team competition. The U.S. team received the bronze medal, following Hungary with silver and Czechoslovakia with gold.

The team captain, 27-year-old Clara Schroth Lomady, went on to set a record by winning six all-around titles at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. She remained the only woman to win that many all-around titles until Simone Biles matched her record in 2019 and broke it in 2021.

2. Olga Korbut Performs Her Famous Flip

MUNICH, WEST GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 01: Olga Korbut of the Soviet Union competes in the Balance Beam of the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Apparatus final during the Munich Olympic Games at the Sporthalle on September 1, 1972 in Munich, West Germany.

Olga Korbut of the Soviet Union competes in the balance beam event during the Munich Olympic Games on September 1, 1972 in Munich, West Germany.

One of the most popular athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics was Olga Korbut, a 17-year-old gymnast from the Soviet Union. Korbut won three gold medals and wowed audiences with her daring stunts. She was the first Olympic gymnast to do a backward somersault on the beam and also the first to perform a back flip to catch on the uneven bars. The latter move is now known as the “Korbut Flip.”

3. Nadia Comăneci Earns the First Perfect 10

Nadia Comaneci looks at the Olympic scoreboard indicating her perfect score of 10.0, as 1.00 because the computer and the display facility were not equipped to handle what Nadia was going to do to the Olympic gymnastics competition.

Nadia Comaneci looks at the Olympic scoreboard indicating her perfect score of 10.0, as 1.00 because the computer and the display facility were not equipped to handle what Nadia was going to do to the Olympic gymnastics competition.

In 1976, 14-year-old Nadia Comăneci became the first gymnast to receive a perfect 10 in an Olympic event. When the Romanian athlete earned the perfect score for her performance on the uneven bars at the Montreal Olympics, the scoreboard couldn’t even show it because the board was only designed to display three digits—not the four required to display a “10.00.”

Comăneci ended up scoring six more perfect 10s during the 1976 Montreal Olympics and taking home three gold medals.

4. Mary Lou Retton Vaults to Stardom

Mary Lou Retton is airborne during the women's vault competition, at the 1984 Summer Olympics, August 1, 1984.

Mary Lou Retton is airborne during the women's vault competition, at the 1984 Summer Olympics, August 1, 1984. Retton earned a perfect 10 in the event.

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In 1984, 16-year-old Mary Lou Retton became the first female gymnast outside of Eastern Europe to win the individual all-around gold medal. Retton was inspired to become a gymnast by Comăneci’s historic performance at the 1976 Olympics. She even trained with Comăneci’s coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi, who defected from Romania to the United States in 1981.

Retton earned two perfect 10 scores at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics—one for her floor routine and a second for her famous vault. Retton’s triumphant pose after her vault made the cover of Sports Illustrated, which named her Sportswoman of the Year. She also became the first U.S. gymnast to be on a Wheaties box and to be named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.

5. Dominique Dawes Becomes First Black US Gymnast to Win Individual Olympic Medal

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 30: Dominique Dawes of the US performs her routine in the Olympic individual floor event 29 July. Dawes took the bronze.

Dominique Dawes performs her individual floor routine at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic, July 29, 1996. Dawes took the bronze.

The 1996 Atlanta Olympics were a major year for U.S. women’s gymnastics. The 1996 U.S. women's gymnastics team, hailed as the “Magnificent Seven,” won the country’s first gold medal in the women’s gymnastics team competition. After team member Kerri Strug injured her ankle (more on that in a bit), 19-year-old Dominique Dawes ended up taking Strug’s place in the individual floor exercise. Dawes won the bronze in that competition, becoming the first Black American to win an individual Olympic medal in gymnastics.

6. Kerri Strug Sticks the Landing with a Bad Ankle

Kerri Strug ATLANTA - JULY 23: Kerri Strug of the United States hurls herself down the runway while competing in the vault, part of the Womens Team Gymnastics competition at the 1996 Olympic Games on July 23, 1996 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia

Kerri Strug hurls herself down the runway on an injured ankle while competing in the vault as part of the women's team gymnastics competition at the 1996 Olympic Games on July 23, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia.

One of the stars of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics was 18-year-old Kerri Strug. During her first vault, Strug landed awkwardly on her ankle and tore two ligaments. Gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi—the same man who had coached Comăneci and Retton—pressured her to do her second vault instead of pulling out. She stuck the landing, hopping on one leg for the crowd before collapsing from the pain. Afterward, she had to be carried off of the podium.

7. Gabby Douglas Wins All-Around Gold

Gabrielle Douglas of the United States soared over the uneven bars apparatus during women's team gymnastics finals at North Greenwich Arena during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

Gabrielle Douglas soars over the uneven bars apparatus during women's team gymnastics finals during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, July 31, 2012.

At the 2012 London Olympics, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas became the first Black American to win a gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics category. She and her team—known as the “Fierce Five”—also won a gold medal in the all-around team competition, making them the second U.S. team to do so after the Magnificent Seven in 1996. With these wins, Douglas became the first American to win gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions.

8. Simone Biles Debuts—and Dazzles

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11, 2016: Simone Biles of the USA performs her routine during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around final event at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at Rio Olympic Arena.

Simone Biles performs her routine during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around final event at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 11, 2016.

By the time 19-year-old Simone Biles attended the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she was already an international star athlete with ten World Championship gold medals. During the Rio Olympics, Biles won one three gold medals for individual events and a fourth gold medal that the U.S. team, nicknamed the “Final Five,” won together. As the winner of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals and the only woman to hold seven all-around U.S. championship titles, she is currently the most decorated U.S. gymnast and is among the star athletes at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

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