by Anna Rose Johnson

In celebration of the approaching 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, we’re traveling back to the last time the Games were held in South Korea—thirty years ago, at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. These four performances have, in a way, come to define the women’s gymnastics competitions at the 1988 Olympics. They showcase mesmerizing intricacy, amazing difficulty, and timeless beauty:

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One of the earliest triumphs of Svetlana Boguinskaia’s storied career was her Olympic gold on vault in Seoul. In this era of the never-ending quest for Amanars, it’s both refreshing and fascinating to return these simpler vaults with higher execution. It’s also interesting to note Boguinskaia’s prowess on this event, as she is probably best remembered for her expressive style on floor exercise and countless major all-around medals. (Remember her 1991 matchup with Kim Zmeskal at Worlds?)




The all-around competition in 1988 was a battle that will never be forgotten. With the Soviet Union’s Elena Shushunova searching for success following her 1985 World AA gold, and 1987 World team champion Daniela Silivas hoping to recapture gold for Romania, the stage was set for a truly thrilling final. It all came down to vault, and Shushunova prevailed with a Perfect 10 on vault, sealing the gold by the slim margin of 0.025.

Shushunova’s Perfect 10 vault:



Silivas’s Perfect 10 floor routine (with back-to-back tumbling passes)!




The lone female gymnastics medalist for the USA in an incredibly competitive Olympics, Phoebe Mills captured the bronze on balance beam with a complex yet poised routine. Coached by Bela Karolyi and just 16 years old in Seoul, Mills rose to the challenge in 1988 and remains a familiar name in the world of gymnastics.