Mary Lou Retton, needing perfect scores, fought back in her final two events to beat Romania’s Ecaterina Szabo by five one-hundredths of a point and Romania’s Simona Pauca by five-tenths on this date in 1984 and won the women’s all-round gymnastics title at Pauley Pavilion in the Los Angeles Olympic Games.
For Retton, the gold medal that came with her championship was the first won by a U.S. women’s gymnast.
The 4-foot-9, 84-pound 16-year old from Fairmont, W.Va, trailed Szabo by 0.15 of a point with two events to go, She scored a 10 in the floor exercise with difficult moves that included a double back somersault and another 10 in the vault that sent the crowd of 9,023 into a wild celebration.
Her final score was 79.175 to Szabo’s 79.125.
Other memorable games and outstanding individual performances on this date.
1948 — Forty-two-year-old Satchel Paige made his first major league start with the Cleveland Indians before a crowd of 70,000 at Municipal Stadium and pitched…