Mitch Gaylord

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Mitch Gaylord
Mitch Gaylord 1985.jpg
Gaylord in 1985
Personal information
Full nameMitchell Jay Gaylord
Alternative name(s)Mitch
Country representedFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Born (1961-03-10) March 10, 1961 (age 60)
Van Nuys, California, U.S. [1]
Height174 cm (5 ft 9 in) [1]
Discipline Men's artistic gymnastics
LevelSenior International Elite
ClubUCLA Bruins, Los Angeles [1]

Mitchell Jay Gaylord (born March 10, 1961) is an American gymnast, actor, and Olympic gold medalist. [2]

Contents

Early life

Gaylord was born in Van Nuys, California, the son of Fred and Linda Gaylord, and is Jewish. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] Gaylord graduated from Grant High School. [8] He competed in the 1981 Maccabiah Games, winning five gold medals. [3] [9]

Career

Gymnastics

He made his first U.S. National team in gymnastics in 1980 [10] and continued to retain his place on the team until 1984. While attending UCLA as a history major [11] on scholarship, [12] he won the All-Around in the 1983 and 1984 USA Gymnastics National Championships, and the 1984 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championship. [13] He then qualified for the Olympic Games during the Olympic trials held from June 1–3, 1984 in Jacksonville Florida. [14] 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. [15]

In June 2007, Gaylord was named the seventh-best U.S. gymnast of all time by Yahoo Sports. [16] In 1990, he was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. [17] He was also named to the UCLA Hall of Fame in 1995, the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. [18] [19]

1984 Olympic Games

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. [20] The moment was heralded as a significant upset over the teams from China and Japan. [21] 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. [11] He was also named by President Ronald Reagan as a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in November 1985. [22]

Acting

Gaylord has appeared in several movies and TV shows. Most notably, he performed as a stunt double for Chris O'Donnell (as Robin) and the uncredited role of Mitch Grayson (Robin's older brother) in the 1995 movie Batman Forever , and played the lead in American Anthem (1986), [23] 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. [24] He was also a frequent guest star on Hollywood Squares , and appeared in advertisements for Diet Coke, Nike, Inc., Vidal Sassoon, Soloflex, Levi Strauss & Co., and Texaco. [25] [26]

Gaylord has also remained an ambassador to the sport of gymnastics, serving as a commentator for NBC and Fox Sports during televised gymnastics events, as well as developing several nationally-televised fitness programs and products. [25] [27] [28]

Later career

Since retiring from acting, Gaylord has worked as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. [29] He has also been an advocate for child allergy awareness. [30]

Personal life

Gaylord was married to Valentina Agius with whom he has two children together. He was previously married to model and actress Deborah Driggs, with whom he has three children. [31]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1976 Logan's Run CubUncredited
1986 American Anthem Steve Tevere
1989American RickshawScott Edwards
1994Sexual OutlawsFrancis Badham
1995 Batman Forever N/AStunts
1995 Mortal Kombat
1995 Savate
2005 Confessions of an Action Star Brother
2007Jocking AroundHimselfDocumentary

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1984 Diff'rent Strokes Himself1 episode
1991 The New Dragnet Roger Tolan1 episode
1992Animal InstinctsRod TennisonVideo
1992 Vicki! Himself1 episode
1994 Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater Rod Tennison1 episode; archival footage
2008 Celebrity Circus Himself/Judge6 episodes
2009, 2010The J ReportHimself2 episodes

See also

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References

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  18. Biography: GAYLORD, Mitch. US Olympic Hall of Fame
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  30. Jim Bergamo (May 11, 2015). "Olympian helps raise food allergy awareness". KVUE. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015.
  31. "Deborah Driggs – My Story". Playboy . Archived from the original on June 20, 2009.