News Release

Melbourne Mission Welcomes New President, Olympic Champion Peter Vidmar

Peter Vidmar Won Two Olympic Gold and One Silver Medal in 1984 in Gymnastics


The two hundred and five young missionaries serving in the Australia Melbourne Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met their new mission president, Peter Vidmar and his wife Donna, at morning and afternoon “Meet and Greet” events on 1st July in Wantirna and Deer Park, VIC. They had just said farewell to their departing Mission President, Cory H. Maxwell and his wife Karen, who served for three years, the usual length for a mission president appointment. The Maxwells have returned to their home in Salt Lake City, where they reunited with their eight children and their grandchildren. 

The Vidmars were both born and raised in Southern California and have lived there since they were married in 1983. They met when they were students at UCLA and participating on their respective gymnastics teams. They have five grown children. 

President Vidmar continued in gymnastics after he graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics. He trained with famed coach Makato Sakamato, and won many honours in U.S. gymnastic competitions before he competed in the 1984 Olympics. He won gold medals in the men's all-around team competition and the pommel horse competition, as well as a silver medal in the men's all-around individual gymnastics competition. It was an event that mesmerized the world as the Americans were not expected to win.  At that time he became the highest-scoring American gymnast in Olympic history, and was the first to win a medal in the all-around competition.

While he retired from gymnastics after the 1984 Olympics, he continued to be involved in the sport as a commentator on several television sports channels, as a supporter of the American gymnastics Olympic team and a leader in the Olympic movement. He has been to ten Olympic Games since he won his medals. He was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1991 and the International Gymnastic Hall of Fame in 1997.

At the time of his appointment as a mission president, he was serving a second term as Chairman of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors.  He was also scheduled to be an offical in the Gymnastics competition at the Olympics next month in Rio de Janeiro. "As much as I would love to be in Rio, I feel honoured and privileged be here [in Melbourne] serving with you," he told the missionaries when he was asked how he felt about not going. 

For the past 30 years he has pursued a career in motivational speaking, at which he has been very successful, being named by an industry publication as one of the ten top motivational speakers in the United States. He has given over a thousand lectures on motivation, goal setting, managing risk, originality, and virtuosity.

Drawing on the knowledge he has shared with hundreds of corporate clients, organizations and individuals as a motivational speaker, he advised his missionaries to set goals--big goals--for all aspects of their life. “It's great to visualize these goals by asking, “How will I feel when I achieve this goal?” and let that feeling guide them as they plan their lives. This was one of the tactics his coaches taught him that helped him win his Olympic medals.

When asked if he still works out, he said, “Yes, I still train every morning, and I hope you exercise every morning, too. I don't train like I did when I was in gymnastics, but I can still do a handstand on just about any surface.”

He concluded his remarks by exhorting his missionaries, “This is the best time to serve a mission.  Whatever you are doing, give it a little more. Know that this is the Lord's work.”

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