Brian Babcock, the veteran U.S. champion in men's all-around gymnastics, tied the National Sports Festival record for most medals won by an athlete with seven, five of them won tonight in the individual events.
Babcock was followed by another veteran, Billy Paul, who won six medals, four of them tonight in individual events. Paul had two golds, in the floor exercise and vault, and silvers in the pommel horse, rings and parallel bars in addition to the all-around bronze medal he won tonight.
Babcock had four golds -- in the all-around today, then the pommel horse, parallel bars and horizontal bar -- to go with bronzes in the floor exercise and rings tonight.
The record he tied was set in 1983 by gymnast Scott Johnson.
Babcock, 25, from Southern Illinois University, was 11th at the 1984 U.S. Olympic trials and did not make the team that went on to win the gold medal in Los Angeles. He and Paul, a former Cal-Berkeley star, are attempting to make the 1988 Olympic team despite their relatively advanced ages.
Tonight, Babcock won the gold in the all-around title and helped the North squad to the team silver medal. He then qualified in all six individual events and tied the record by taking a medal in every event but the vault, his weakest area.
"I wanted to at least tie the record going into the meet," he said. "I really wanted to break it. But the cards didn't fall right. You have to be strong in every event to be an all-around gymnast and I'm still weak in the vault. It showed."
Babcock began the evening by taking the bronze medal in the floor exercise. Brian Ginsberg, a UCLA freshman who is ranked 11th in the country and is among the best of the young Olympic prospects, won the gold. Paul, the No. 7 amateur in the country, took the silver.
Babcock's second medal came in the pommel horse, on which he twice scored 9.65 to win the gold. Paul took the silver.
But Babcock finished up with two superb performances, on the horizontal bar and the parallel bars. He scored a 9.60 on the parallels to go along with his preliminary mark of 9.65 to beat silver medalist Paul.
Babcock ended the competition with a stylish horizontal performance that included two full one-handed swings around the bar for a score of 9.7, the highest mark of the meet. Only one other 9.7 was awarded over the course of the night, to Ginsberg for his gold medal performance on the rings.