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1968 Compulsories Olympics

1968: The Women’s Compulsory Routines for the Olympics

Let’s take a look at the compulsories for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, including the piano sheet music!

The bar routine turned out to be brutal. Every single team had at least one gymnast score in the 8s (or lower) — even the Soviet Union.

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1972 FIG on Social Issues

1972: The FIG President’s Response to Cathy Rigby’s Nude Photos in Sports Illustrated

Before the ESPN Body Issue existed, Cathy Rigby posed nude for Sports Illustrated. At the time, it was a big enough sensation that Arthur Gander, the FIG president, commented on the matter.

Let’s take a look at what he said…

Munich, Germany – 1972: Cathy Rigby competing in the Women’s gymnastics event at the 1972 Summer Olympics / Games of the XX Olympiad, Olympic Sports Hall. (Photo by Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Warning: This article will touch upon body image issues and eating disorders.

Note: This is part of a series of posts on the FIG leadership in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other posts include:

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1971 FIG on Social Issues

1971: The FIG President’s Response to Ole Bendiktsen’s Hair

As we saw with Villancher’s commentary on the 1968 women’s Code of Points, gymnastics does not happen in a vacuum. It interacts with the culture around it.

To help you understand where the FIG leadership stood on some social and cultural issues, the next two posts will be dedicated to the FIG president’s reaction to the worldwide counterculture movement (broadly defined) that whipped through the world in the 1960s and 1970s.

First up: The 1971 European Championships and Arthur Gander’s response to Ole Bendiktsen’s long hair.

Sadly, I couldn’t find a photo of Benediktsen’s hair. So, here’s a photo of Arthur Gander from 100 Years of the FIG.
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1968 Code of Points

1968: Villancher’s Commentary on the Women’s Code of Points

In 1968, the Women’s Technical Committee President Berthe Villancher visited the United States. During her tour, she explained the 1968 Code of Points. This included her unwritten rules and preferences.

Let’s take a look at what she said.

Note: Villancher’s comments have been filtered through Jackie Uphues, who chronicled Villancher’s time in the United States for Mademoiselle Gymnast May/June 1968. (Jackie Uphues might be better known as Jackie Fie to some readers.)

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from Mademoiselle Gymnast May/June 1968.

100 Years of the FIG
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1968 Code of Points

1968: The Women’s Code of Points

The 1968 Code of Points was to be ready by May 1, 1968. Opening ceremonies for the 1968 Olympics were set for October 12, 1968. That’s not a lot of time to read the Code and adjust routines.

Thankfully, compared to the men’s Code, the women’s Code was much shorter. Let’s take a look at some of the most salient parts.

The 1968 Women’s Code of Points
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1968 Compulsories

1968: The Men’s Compulsory Routines for the Olympics

Compulsories: The bane of some gymnasts’ existence, and the bane of some judges’ existence, as well.

Let’s take a look at the 1968 men’s compulsories and how they were judged…

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1968 Code of Points

1968: The Men’s Code of Points

The 1968 men’s Code of Points exploded. 

Gymnastics was quickly evolving, and the Men’s Technical Committee was trying to be more prescriptive on what they wanted to see and in which direction they wanted the sport to go.

I’ll do my best to give you the CliffsNotes version of a 194-page document.

The 1968 Code of Points
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1924 Olympics

1924: The First Perfect 10 in Gymnastics at the Olympic Games

In July of 1976, newspapers around the world reported that Nadia Comăneci scored the first 10 in Olympic history.

Nadia Comaneci, a 15‐year‐old Rumanian girl, scored the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastic history in the women’s uneven parallel bars competition.

New York Times, July 19, 1976

Nadia received a perfect score of 10.00 — the first perfect 10 in Olympic history.

The Daily Yomiuri, July 20, 1976

Unfortunately, what they reported was wrong.

Comăneci was the first female gymnast to score a 10 in Olympic history, but she was not the first gymnast to score a 10. (To be fair, information was much harder to come by in the 1970s.)

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1967 Japan Training

1967: Training MAG and WAG in Japan

What was it like training in Japan in the late 1960s? How many hours did they train? How was the Japanese gymnastics system set up? Did they use spotting belts?

Let’s take a look…

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 14: Kazue Hanyu competes in the Balance Beam during the Artistic Gymnastics Mexico Olympic Qualifying at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on July 14, 1968 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
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1967 Training USSR

1967: Training in the Soviet Union

What was it like to train in the Soviet Union in the 1960s? At what age did they start? What were their gyms like? What did their training manuals look like?

Let’s take a look at some documents from the archives to find out…