5 Most Shocking Moments in Olympic Gymnastics History

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Olympic gymnastics has had its share of unforgettable and shocking moments that have left audiences around the world in awe, surprise, or even controversy.  

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1. Kerri Strug's Vault (1996 Atlanta Olympics) 

Despite injuring her ankle on her first vault, Strug landed her second vault on one foot, securing the first-ever team gold for the United States women's gymnastics team. Her determination and bravery became a defining moment of the Atlanta Games and left a lasting legacy on the sport. 

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2. Nadia Comăneci Scores the First Perfect 10 (1976 Montreal Olympics) 

At just 14 years old, Nadia Comăneci of Romania made history by scoring the first-ever perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics. Her flawless routine on the uneven bars was so unprecedented that the scoreboard, which was not equipped to display a 10.0, showed her score as 1.00. 

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3. The Vault Table Set Incorrectly (2000 Sydney Olympics) 

During the all-around competition in Sydney, gymnasts were struggling unusually with their vaults. It was later discovered that the vault table had been set 5cm too low. 

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4. The Age Controversy (2008 Beijing Olympics) 

The Chinese women's gymnastics team faced allegations of fielding underage athletes during the Beijing Olympics. Gymnasts are required to turn 16 within the Olympic year to compete, but there were accusations that some members of the Chinese team were younger. 

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5. Simone Biles Withdraws for Mental Health (2021 Tokyo Olympics) 

Simone Biles, considered the greatest gymnast of all time, withdrew from the team final and several individual events at the Tokyo Olympics, citing mental health concerns and the experience of "the twisties," a dangerous loss of spatial awareness for gymnasts. 

Her decision brought unprecedented attention to the importance of mental health in sports, challenging the stigma around mental health issues and highlighting the immense pressure faced by Olympic athletes. 

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