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1954 Code of Points MAG

1954: The Men’s Code of Points

In 1949, the first Code of Points for men’s gymnastics was published. Five years later, in 1954, the document was updated.

The 1954 Code of Points was a supplement to the 1949 Code, adding more detail about the evaluation of men’s optional exercises. It specified:

  • The breakdown of the 10.0
  • The number of required elements
  • The types of movements that should be included on each apparatus
  • The difficulty levels of various elements.

Assigning difficulty levels to elements was a request from the Soviet Union:

As the Russians proposed, a table of difficulties has been worked out, which can be used in Rome [at the World Championships].

Gazette de Lausanne, January 7, 1954

On a mis au point, sur proposition russe, une table des difficultés qui pourra être utilisée à Rome.

So, here’s a summary of the 1954 Code of Points, as well as the original French text, as printed in the magazine Le Gymnaste, May 1955. Thanks to the Bibliothèque nationale de France for providing the documents.

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1971 East Germany MAG North Korea

1971: The East Germans Defeat the North Koreans

North Korea was supposed to participate in the 1970 World Championships, but the team did not show. So, prior to the Munich Olympics, the gymnastics world did not know much about North Korean gymnasts. A 1971 dual meet with East Germany was one of the DPRK’s few international appearances.

What follows are the results and an article about the competition. Reportedly, Kim Song Zu performed a triple twist off rings.

Note: This competition was referenced repeatedly in East Germany’s coverage of the 1972 Olympic Games.

Li Song Sob, North Korea; Source: Neue Zeit, November 30, 1971
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1970 East Germany Interviews & Profiles WAG

1970: A Conflicted Portrait of Karin Janz

From 1956 until 1962, Larisa Latynina dominated the all-around at the major international gymnastics competitions. Then, it was Věra Čáslavská’s turn, and she won the major all-around titles from 1964 until 1968.

Once Čáslavská retired from the sport, there was a power vacuum. The title of the world’s best female gymnast was up for grabs. Who would win the all-around title in 1970? Would it be Karin Janz, who won the all-around at the European Championships in 1969?

The gymnastics world had its reservations about Karin Janz. Sure, she had tremendous difficulty, but she lacked “femininity and softness.” Words like “machine” and “mechanical” were often used to describe her gymnastics.

The following profile of Janz, printed in the Czechoslovak magazine Stadión before the 1970 World Championships, summarizes many conflicted sentiments about the East German teenager.

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1970 Czechoslovakia WAG

1970: An Interview with the Czechoslovak WAG Coaches before the World Championships

Between the Mexico City Olympics and the Ljubljana World Championships, the Czechoslovak coaching staff had changed. Luděk Martschini was coaching the Swiss women’s team, and long-time head coach Jaroslava Matlochová was coaching in Italy.

Alena Tintěrová was in charge of the women’s program in 1970, and at the training camp before the World Championships, each coach was responsible for a different event. Jaroslav Šťastný, for example, was responsible for floor, while Petr Kouba was responsible for bars.

Here’s what Tintěrová and the other coaches were thinking as they prepared the team for the World Championships in Ljubljana.

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1970 Interviews & Profiles MAG USSR

1970: Albert Azaryan Training His Son Eduard

Many expectations are foisted on the children of Olympic gold medalists. Albert Azaryan’s son, Eduard, was no exception. Already in 1970, there were media stories about Azaryan’s 11-year-old son.

Albert Azaryan was best known for his performances on rings, an event he won at the 1954 World Championships, the 1955 European Championships, the 1956 Olympic Games, the 1958 World Championships, and the 1960 Olympic Games.

Though Eduard did not end up winning as many major titles as his father, he was part of the Soviet team that won silver at the 1978 World Championships and gold at the 1980 Olympic Games.

Here’s an article from 1970 on the father-son duo.

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1970 Czechoslovakia MAG WAG

1970: The Czechoslovak Championships

1970 was a time of change for the Czechoslovak women’s team. The majority of the gymnasts who won gold at the 1966 World Championships had retired, including Čáslavská. Several of their coaches had also left. Luděk Martschini was coaching the Swiss women’s team, and long-time head coach Jaroslava Matlochová was coaching in Italy.

For the Czechoslovak men, there was some optimism ahead of the World Championships in Ljubljana. After the team finished fourth at the Mexico City Olympics — just 0.05 behind the East Germans — there was some optimism. That said, the Czechoslovak team was going to put together a young, inexperienced team for the 1970 Worlds.

Here’s what was reported in the pages of Stadión after the 1970 Czechoslovak Championships.

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1970 USSR

1970: The Buzz around the Voronin Family

Zinaida Voronina (née Druzhinina) and Mikhail Voronin were a gymnastics power couple. When they had a child in 1969, it was an exciting event in the sports world. The press was buzzing with questions, such as: What would the child of two Olympic gymnastics champions be like? Certainly, he would be a gymnast, right? And would Zinaida be able to get back into shape in time for the 1970 World Championships?

Let’s take a look at some of the excitement and speculation surrounding the Voronin family in 1970, both in the Soviet and Czechoslovak media.

Seen after their wedding in the Palace of weddings in Moscow are Soviet gymnasts Mikhail Voronin , all-round world champion, and Zinaida Druzhinina , silver medallist of the European Champsionships. They are seen viewing the capital from the Lenin Hills. 11 August 1967, Russia Federation Copyright: Topfoto
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1967 Interviews & Profiles MAG

1967: Miroslav Cerar, The Last of the Greats

By 1967, Miroslav Cerar had been a major player on the international gymnastics scene for nearly a decade. His first major international competition was the 1958 World Championships in Moscow, where he finished thirteenth in the all-around and third on pommel horse. He was 18 at the time, and as the 1960s progressed, he watched as many of his fellow competitors retired from the sport. In 1967, he was the last of the men’s artistic medalists from the 1958 World Championships to continue competing.

What follows is a translation of an interview that ran in Stadión, a weekly Czechoslovak sports magazine.

Note: The Mohicans were an indigenous tribe from the area that the present-day United States occupy. The title of this article comes from James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel by the same name, the last line of which is, “I have lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans,” referring to Chingachgook. Nowadays, the phrase “the last of the Mohicans” refers to the last survivor of a noble race. I recognize that it’s problematic to call a white European the “last of the Mohicans,” but I can’t go back and change the title of the piece.

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1948 1970 Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles WAG

1970: A Profile of Mother Zdena Honsová and Daughter Hana Lišková

Zdena Honsová was part of the Czechoslovak team that won gold at the 1948 Olympic Games. Had there been an all-around competition, Honsová would have won the gold medal in London. She was also part of the Czechoslovak team that took bronze at the 1954 Rome World Championships. (By then, she had married, and her surname was Lišková.)

Twenty years later, Honsová’s daughter, Hana Lišková, was part of the Czechoslovak team that won silver at the Mexico City Olympics and bronze at the Ljubljana World Championships. Her gym was so small that it could not fit a full-size floor exercise mat.

Here’s their story, as told by the Czechoslovak magazine Stadión.

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1967 Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles WAG

1967: A Profile of Marianna Krajčírová after Her Bronze Finish at Euros

Unlike much of the Czechoslovak team, Marianna Krajčírová was Slovak — not Czech. She was part of the 1964 Czechoslovak team in Tokyo, as well as the 1966 World Championships team that won gold. On a personal level, 1967 was her break-out year. At the 1967 European Championships, she finished third in the all-around and third on bars. Then, at the 1967 “Little Olympics” in Mexico City (essentially an Olympics Test Event), she finished second behind Soviet gymnast Natalia Kuchinskaya.

Here’s a 1967 profile from Stadión on Krajčírová, whose father built her a balance beam to train on at home. Plus, there’s a translation of a short interview with Krajčírová (Némethová at the time) from 1970.