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1984 Floor Music Olympics

1984: The Floor Music of the Los Angeles Olympics

A big theme in 1984: American movies

Given that Los Angeles is the heart of American cinema, it makes sense. There were songs from movies like Night Shift, Indiana Jones, and James Bond.

Another theme: Americana.

In addition to the emphasis on American TV and films, there were plenty of other American moments — from Szabo’s routine to “Hooked on America” to Wu’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” to Bileck’s “Rodeo” montage. (Rodeo is a ballet composed by American composer Aaron Copland.) 

Ecaterina Szabo, Romania, gold medallist (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)
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1996 Floor Music Olympics WAG

1996: The Floor Music of the Atlanta Olympics

A Big Trend in 1996: Americana. 

Just as there was a lot of flamenco music during an Olympics held in Spain, there was a fair amount of U.S. music, particularly from the American gymnasts and the Romanian gymnasts. 

Another Big Trend: Songs from movie soundtracks. 

The French team pulled from recent movies like The Mask and Basic Instinct. But there were songs from older movies, including Galieva’s Charlie Chaplin tribute and Marinescu’s music from the Italian film Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion.

UNITED STATES – JULY 29: KUNSTTURNEN: BODEN/Frauen ATLANTA 1996 29.7.96, Lilia PODKPPAYEVA/UKR GOLD – MEDAILLE (Photo by Mark Sandten/Bongarts/Getty Images)
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1992 Floor Music Olympics WAG

1992: The Floor Music of the Barcelona Olympics

The big trend in floor music in 1992: Flamenco, flamenco, and more flamenco. 

For decades, flamenco music has been a constant during women’s floor exercise, but the trend perhaps hit its crescendo during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. (You can read a little about the politics of flamenco at the bottom of the page.)

Yello: In 2021, Billie Eilish was the big contemporary music sensation during floor routines. In 1992, it was Yello.

Throwbacks from 40ish years prior: The nostalgia machine is always alive during floor exercise, trying to target audience members and judges in their 40s and 50s and beyond. In 1992, it emerged in pieces like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “An American in Paris Ballet.”

BARCELONA – AUGUST 1: Henrietta Onodi of Hungary competes in the Floor Exercise on August 1, 1992 during the Women’s Gymnastics competition of the 1992 Summer Olympics held at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
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Compulsories Floor Music Olympics WAG World Championships

1958-1996: Compulsory Floor Music over the Decades

As far as FIG events are concerned, women’s individual floor exercise was first introduced at the 1950 World Championships, but at the time, gymnasts did not use floor music. In fact, at the 1950 FIG Congress, the delegates had to decide if gymnasts should perform to music at the 1952 Olympics, and they voted against it (eight votes to three).

It wasn’t until 1958 that music was introduced for individual floor routines, both compulsory and optional. 

Below, you’ll find recordings of the music for the compulsory routines from 1958 until 1996. For some of you, the music will bring back fond memories. For others, it’ll bring back nightmares. But hopefully, you’ll find a piece you enjoy listening to.

19 Sep 1988: Phoebe Mills does her floor exercise during the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Mandatory Credit: Billy Strickland /Allsport
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1962 Compulsories MAG WAG World Championships

1962: The Compulsory Routines for the World Championships

What were compulsory routines at the 1962 World Championships?

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there aren’t videos of the routines on YouTube. But in this post, you can find the English text for the men’s compulsories, as well as the English text and drawings for the women’s compulsories.

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1968 Olympics WAG

1968: Valerie Nagy’s Reaction to the Mexico City Olympics

What were the 1968 Olympics like from the perspective of a Women’s Technical Committee member? Well, the Vice President, Valerie Nagy of Hungary, wrote an article for Olympische Turnkunst, in which she summarized her views.

Not surprisingly, she pointed out that there was some “clever teamwork” among the judges. 

100 Years of the FIG
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Uncategorized

1962: Berthe Villancher’s Summary of the World Championships

After the 1962 World Championships in Prague, Berthe Villancher, the President of the Women’s Technical Committee, penned a summary for the French magazine Éducation physique et sport (November 1962). 

It’s a fascinating article, in which she calls the judges “combatants,” echoing something that Dr. Klinger wrote after the men’s competition at the 1934 World Championships.

You can find an English translation of Villancher’s article below.

100 Years of the FIG
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Evolution MAG Olympics World Championships

1896-1950: The Events of Men’s Gymnastics

Male gymnasts have always competed on floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar, right? 

Wrong.

Male gymnasts had quite the journey to today’s competitive format. Here’s a look at events in which the men competed in the early years of the Olympic Games and World Championships.

The Official Report, 1912
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1913 MAG World Championships

1913: The Last World Championships before World War I

During the 1913 International Tournament, the “Slavs vs. everyone else” mentality became further entrenched. The Slovenians and the Czechs felt disadvantaged because they were outnumbered on the judging panels. Plus, the text of the compulsory routine on rings changed, and the two Slavic teams were not notified of the change. Nevertheless, the Czech team won its third team title, defeating the French once again.

It’s unclear how diligent the judges were. Reportedly, one judge didn’t even watch some of the routines.

1913 also marks the (temporary) simplification of the scoring system. In Paris, all scores were out of a 10.0. Previously, the apparatus events were out of a 12.0 at the International Tournament, with 1 point for the mount, another point for the dismount, and 10 points for the routine. 

Similarly, the track and field events were also out of 10 points in 1913. Previously, the scoring system had been ever-changing at the International Tournament: 10 points in 1903, 20 points in 1905 and 1907, 15 points in 1909 and 1911.  

(Don’t worry, the scoring system would become complicated once again.)

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1911 MAG World Championships

1911: Competing in the Dark at the World Championships in Turin

The 1911 International Tournament was an unfortunate series of events.

Several gymnasts were injured during the competition, and despite their injuries, they continued to compete with broken limbs and bandaged heads. 

Rain pushed the apparatus portion of the competition indoors. When it came time for the athletics portion in the afternoon, Cupérus, the FIG President, wanted the athletes to compete in inclement weather rather than end the competition or finish it the next day.

Because of the rain delay, several gymnasts had to sprint 100 m in near darkness.

One more important note: Until the 1948 Olympic Games, teams could bring their own apparatus to competitions. That tradition started in 1911 with the Czech Sokols.