On this day: Ukrainian and American Olympic Champions

The 29th of July 1996 was the date for many of the gymnastics finals at the Atlanta Olympics.

Lilia Podkopayeva floor exercise 1996 Atlanta Olympics Ukraine Ukrainian

Despite her country struggling to find funds in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian gymnast Lilia Podkopayeva qualified for both the balance beam and floor exercise finals.

Lilia Podkopayeva balance beam 1996 Atlanta Olympics Ukraine Ukrainian

Podkopayeva, aged seventeen, had won the prestigious individual all around gold four days earlier, won the silver medal on beam, and then finished her Olympics with a gold medal for her floor exercise.

millerpod Lilia Podkoayeva Ukraine Shannon Miller USA 1996 balance beam olympic games

Podkopayeva and Miller receive their beam medals.

Podkopayeva would win gold a few hours later.

US gymnast Shannon Miller, a nineteen-year-old national star who came home from the 1992 Olympics with five medals but no gold, won her first individual title on the balance beam.

0643_1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, GA. Shannon miller.

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