courtesy of Annerin
American gymnast who made an impact on the international scene, Peter Vidmar
continues today to make an impact on the lives of many around the world, from
children to high-level business executives.
by Makoto Sakamoto, Peter was trained in an "experimental gymnastics program
designed to develop future Olympic champions." Part of the program included limited
exposure to competition as a junior. In 1978, at the age of 17, he
competed in the U. S. Nationals, placing what many would consider an unlucky
thirteenth. Actually, this wasnít a bad showing for a newcomer at a time when
the American men were quickly moving into the leading ranks in world
Peter's 13th place finish actually earned him a position on the national team,
however he and his coach declined the berth. As Peter told IG magazine, "I had agreed with Mako that if I made the team, I would decline so that I could focus more on skill development as
opposed to routines...Mako's focus was always on doing well in international competition, and my skill level wasn't ready for that."
following year, Peter once again placed thirteenth at Nationals. Hard work qualified him the World Championship Team later that year. The World Championships of 1979
proved historic in many respects: they were the first worlds held in the United
States (Fort Worth, Texas); it was the first year for Worlds to be held in
alternating years (rather than every four years; China rejoined major
international competition; and the Soviet men and Romanian women broke long
traditions by each winning their first team titles. Not least for the U. S.
program, the American men won the team bronze medal, beating the traditional
third place finishers East Germany.
jumped from rookie national team member in 1979 to national champion in 1980,
his first of two national titles (the other came in 1982). The following two
years, 1983 and 1984, saw him finishing second behind Mitch Gaylord. In 1983, he
added the NCAA All Around title, competing for UCLA. He qualified for the U. S.
Olympic team in 1980, but was kept from the competition by the boycott.
was among the first Americans to make a mark on the international scene.
Gradually moving up over the years (thirteenth at 1981 Worlds; ninth in 1983),
Vidmar had several opportunities to compete against leading Soviet and Japanese
gymnasts of the 80s. On at least three occasions (1982 and 1983 USA/USSR Dual
Meets and 1983 American Cup) finishing ahead of a young future Olympic champion,
Vladimir Artemov. In fact, at the 1983 USA/USSR competition, which Vidmar won,
all but one member of the Soviet team was a past or future world or Olympic all
1984, Peter finally had his Olympic opportunity. While these Games were also
marred by boycott, there is no denying that Vidmar had a place in the top
echelon of gymnastics. Competing in front of a home crowd, and with an
experienced team, the United States edged the reigning world champion Chinese
for the team gold medal. "I won with five great guys. We lived a dream together, and our friendship will never be broken," Peter told IG
Leading the way in the preliminary competition was
Peter, the team captain. In the All Around competition, he won the silver medal
behind Koji Gushiken of Japan, and capped his career with a gold on the pommel
horse. He was also among many gymnasts to receive a 10.00 (on pommel horse in
compulsories and high bar in all around).
pommel horse was generally considered Vidmarís strong event, a look at his
results show that he really didnít have a weak event. He was also known for
his clean presentation in his gymnastics.
Peter keeps a busy schedule, between his family and public engagements. He is
married to Donna, also a former gymnast, and they have five children, two of
whom compete in gymnastics. Peter is a much-sought-after speaker, and
incorporates the old judging standards of Risk, Originality, and Virtuosity into
his unique and powerful presentations. Public appearances often include a
gymnastics demonstration. He is an inductee of both the USOC Olympic Hall of
Fame and the International Gymnast Hall
(December 4, 2000). The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is
sponsoring a new summit for summer Olympic sports. Peter Vidmar will serve as
one of the three chairs of this new summit. According to the USOC press release,
"the purpose of the summit is to bring
together a special cross-sport team of high performing athletes to share a
vision of excellence at the Olympic Games in 2004 and serve as a motivating
support system for one another."
more information about Peter Vidmar, please visit http://www.vidmar.com
© 2000-2002. This page was created on January 1, 2000 and last updated on October 14, 2001.