1968 Compulsories Olympics WAG

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.

You can listen to the floor music here:

The 1968 Compulsory Floor Music
Note: This is my own recording. There are probably some mistakes. I’m not a professional musician and haven’t played music regularly in 15+ years.

No more compulsory repetitions

Prior to 1968, gymnasts could repeat their compulsories on every event except floor. Granted, they had to decide to repeat the exercise before the judges flashed the score, but they could repeat it nonetheless.

In 1968, that changed. While gymnasts still had two vaults, gymnasts would no longer have the option to repeat their compulsories.

On Scoring Compulsories

According to the 1968 Code of Points, the compulsories were judged out of a 10.0.

4 points

Exactness and correctness of all parts of the exercise2.00
Exactness and precision of direction and the floor pattern0.50
Exactness of the rhythm of the exercise1.50

6 points

Elegance of the gymnast1.00
Sureness of the execution1.50
Amplitude of the movements1.50
Coordination of the movements1.00
Lightness of the jumps and acrobatics1.00

When a gymnast omitted a part of the routine

  • 1.0 deduction for a superior difficulty element
  • 0.50 point for a medium element

Other Deductions

Small changes that do not “facilitate” (i.e. make things easier) the exercise0.10
If the gymnasts performs an acrobatic element on the wrong side0.50
If the gymnast performs an “easy part” on the wrong side (i.e. right vs. left)0.20
If the music is too slow or pianist waits for the gymnast0.50

Seems simple to judge, right?

Well, there’s more. There were a slew of deductions on each event, for every single move. For example, if your heel touched during a pivot turn on floor, there was a 0.1 deduction. See the text for the individual deductions.

How side horse vault was judged

Out of a 10.0

Repulsion (Block)2.00
Stretch/Position of the Body2.00
Direction of the Vault0.50
General balance of the vault1.50

The compulsory vault was a cartwheel vault (¼ turn onto the horse with a sideways landing.) There were extremely specific deductions. For example, if the gymnast placed her hands simultaneously on the horse, she received a 0.40 deduction. (Again, see the text for the list of deductions.)

Note: The FIG was criticized for the cartwheel vault

At the time, gym nerds recognized that sideways landings on vault weren’t good for your knees.

Don Tonry, a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, in Modern Gymnast noted:

Shelly Cale, an up and coming All-Around competitor, underwent extensive surgery shortly after the 1968 Nationals as the result of the compulsory side landing on the horse vault. Shelly will never compete again.

Modern Gymnast, Jan. 1969

Modern Gymnast, Jan. 1969

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