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Mitchell Jay Gaylord (born March 10, 1961) is an American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist.[1]

Mitch Gaylord
Full nameMitchell Jay Gaylord
Alternative name(s)Mitch
Country represented United States
Born (1961-03-10) March 10, 1961 (age 58)
Van Nuys, California
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior International Elite

Early lifeEdit

Gaylord was born in Van Nuys, California, the son of Fred and Linda Gaylord.[2] His family is Jewish.[3] Gaylord graduated from Grant High School.[4] He made his first U.S. National team in gymnastics in 1980[5] and continued to retain his place on the team until 1984. While attending UCLA as a history major[6] on scholarship,[7] he won the All-Around in the 1983 and 1984 USA Gymnastics National Championships, and the 1984 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championship.[8] He then qualified for the Olympic Games during the Olympic trials held from June 1–3, 1984 in Jacksonville Florida.[9] Two of the moves in his arsenal going into the Games were invented by and named for him—the Gaylord flip and the Gaylord II.[10]

1984 Olympic GamesEdit

In the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, Gaylord led the gold-medal-winning U.S. men's gymnastics team, becoming the first American gymnast to score a perfect 10.00 in the Olympics. He also won the silver medal in vault, the bronze in parallel bars and the bronze in the rings. In addition to his individual accolades, Gaylord led the US men's gymnastics team to a gold medal in the team competition for the first and only time in Olympics history.[11] The moment was heralded as a significant upset over the teams from China and Japan.[12] After the 1984 Olympics he and his fellow Olympic gymnasts went on a six-month promotional tour across the US, selling out arenas in about two dozen American cities. He also wrote his first book during this period, centering on using gymnastics exercises to train.[6] He was also named by President Ronald Reagan as a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in November 1985.[13]


Gaylord has appeared in several movies and TV shows. Most notably, he performed as a stunt double for Chris O'Donnell (as Robin) in the 1995 movie Batman Forever, and played the lead in American Anthem (1986),[14] opposite actress Janet Jones. The latter movie, in which Gaylord played a gymnast training for the Olympics, has been noted as an inspiration to future generations of Olympic gymnasts.[15] He was also a frequent guest star on Hollywood Squares,[16] and appeared in advertisements for Diet Coke, Nike, Vidal Sassoon, Soloflex, Levi's, and Texaco.[17] Over the years Gaylord has also remained an ambassador to the sport of gymnastics, serving as a commentator for NBC[18] and Fox Sports[17] during televised gymnastics events, as well as developing several nationally televised fitness programs and products.[17][19] He currently works as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.[20]

In June 2007, Gaylord was named the seventh best US gymnast of all time by Yahoo Sports.[21] He was also named to the UCLA Hall of Fame in 1995, the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2006,[19] and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.[22] He has also been an advocate for child allergy awareness.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Gaylord is married to Valentina Agius, with whom he has two children. He was previously married to model and actress Deborah Driggs, with whom he has three children.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Klein, Steve (16 July 2009). "Jason Lezak heads new crop of Jewish Hall-of-Famers". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Portrait of Olympic Pride". People Magazine. August 6, 1984. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  3. ^ "Mitch Gaylord". The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  4. ^ Bringing Glory To The Valley : Watts Tops List Of Area Stars Who Left A Mark. - Free Online Library
  5. ^ Larry Siddons (July 30, 1982). "Gaylord captures gymnastics gold". The Times-News. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Maria Siriano (April 8, 1985). "One on One: Mitch Gaylord". The Pittsburgh Press. p. D2. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  7. ^ Bob Thomas (July 5, 1986). "Mitch Gaylord takes another daring leap". Gainesville Sun. p. 5B. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Dan Donovan (June 17, 1984). "The U.S.'s 1-2, or 2-1, Punch". The Pittsburgh Press. p. D4. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "U.S. Gymnasts look to show mettle". Reading Eagle. July 19, 2012. p. 37. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  10. ^ "Inventor of Gaylord Flip Takes to the Screen". Times-Union. June 28, 1986. p. 6. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  11. ^ Amanda Zieba (June 20, 2012). "Top 10 Memorable Artistic Gymnastics Moments in Olympic History". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Dan Donovan (August 1, 1984). "America another Olympic miracle". Deseret News. p. G1. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  13. ^ "Gaylord appointed". The Deseret News. November 10, 1985. Retrieved July 18, 2012. page 2A
  14. ^ "Mitchell Gaylord Credits". Movie Web. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  15. ^ Juliet Macur (July 1, 2012). "Harboring High Hopes, U.S. Men's Team Adds 3 Gymnasts for Olympics". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  16. ^ Lesley Creegan (December 22, 2000). "Tom Bergeron: Roundabout road to 'Hollywood Squares'". CNN. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  17. ^ a b c "Mitch Gaylord". APB Speakers. Archived from the original on 28 August 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  18. ^ Mark Lamport-Stokes (July 2, 2012). "Olympics-Gold standard the lure for U.S. gymnasts in London". Reuters. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Mitch Gaylord". Archived from the original on November 11, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  20. ^ "Mitch Gaylord". Morgan Stanley. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  21. ^ John Coon (June 18, 2012). "Summer Olympics Gymnastics: Top 10 U.S. Male Gymnasts". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  22. ^ Jeremy Last (August 5, 2009). "Int'l Jewish Sports Hall of Fame welcomes new class". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  23. ^ "Olympian helps raise food allergy awareness". KVUE.
  24. ^ "Deborah Driggs - My Story". Playboy. Archived from the original on 2009-06-20.

External linksEdit