Two women - Larisa Latynina of the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia's Vera Caslavska - and two other men - Latynina's compatriots Nikolay Andrianov and Boris Shakhlin - have exceeded Shcherbo's tally, but none could muster more than four golds at one Olympiad.
'It is the happiest moment of my life,' exulted Shcherbo, a 20-year- old Belarussian. 'At last I have had the competition I have been looking for.' Not that this was readily apparent as he added the pommel horse, rings, vault and parallel bars titles to his all-round crown and the gold he won in the team event. Indeed, he might well have added to his booty but for a mistake in the floor exercise, won by the Chinese, Li Xiaoshuang, with a daring, not to say rare, triple back somersault.
It was a momentous night, too, for Pae Gil-su and Trent Dimas. Pae claimed his country's first Olympic title since 1976 in becoming the first North Korean to claim a gymnastics medal (he tied with Shcherbo to win a pommel gold), while Dimas won the high bar to make his name as the first American gymnast for 60 years to strike gold at an Olympiad unaffected by boycotts.Reuse content