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1934 MAG World Championships

1934: Math Problems and Two Perfect 10s during the Men’s Competition at the World Championships

Confusion bookended the 1934 World Championships in Budapest.

Before the competition started, Germany showed up at the FIG Congress, wanting to become a member of the FIG and participate in the 1934 World Championships.

That was not the typical protocol. Usually, countries didn’t seek admission just hours before a competition started. So, the FIG Congress had to answer the question: if the German federation becomes a member one day, can German gymnasts compete at the World Championships the next day?

That was the first source of confusion. After the competition ended, the second source of confusion cropped up. The gymnastics community realized that the initial results had been miscalculated, and all the results had to be recalculated.

Eugen Mack, Floor Exercise, Zürcher-Illustrierte

Results | Germany’s Sudden Entrance | Yugoslavia’s Absence | Competition Commentary | Judging Commentary

Program

Reminder: Here are the events that the men competed in.

Compulsory Routines:

  • Floor Exercise
  • Pommel Horse
  • Rings
  • Long Horse Vault
  • Parallel Bars
  • High Bar

Optional Routines:

  • Floor Exercise
  • Pommel Horse
  • Rings
  • Long Horse Vault
  • Parallel Bars
  • High Bar

Track and field:

  • 100 m — 10 points: 12 seconds
  • Pole vault — 10 points: 3 m
  • Shot put, alternating arms — 10 points: 19.20 m

You can read the rules here.


Results

During the women’s competition in 1934, the Czechoslovak team caught a calculation error. It turns out that there were several calculation problems during the men’s competition, as well, but most of those errors weren’t caught until later.

Here’s what the Swiss newspaper Der Bund wrote in August of 1934, two months after the competition ended:

But there were also a lot of minor calculation errors. According to the official ranking, world champion Mack achieved a total score of 138.95 and not just 138.50. With his current advantage of 1.20 points over the Italian Neri (who, however, also totaled 0.10 points more than originally calculated), he is now in an even better position than at the end of the competition. The Finn Savoleinen can swap his 5th place with the Czech Sládek, who had been fourth so far. Even in the German camp, the fact that not Beckert but Winter was the best German will cause shaking of heads at the Hungarians’ art of calculating.

Der Bund, August 17, 1934

Weltmeister Mack eine Totalpunktzahl von 138,95 erreicht und nicht nur 138,50. Er steht mit seinem nunmehrigen Vorsprung von 1,20 P. gegenüber dem Italiener Neri (der allerdings auch 0,10 P. mehr totalisierte, als ursprünglich errechnet) nun noch günstiger da, als beim Abschluß der Wettkämpfe. Der Finne Savoleinen kann seinen 5. Platz mit dem bisher Vierten dem Tschechen Sladek, tauschen. Auch im Lager der Deutschen wird die Tatjache, daß nicht Beckert, sondern doch Winter bester Deutscher war, Kopfschütteln über die Rechnungskunst der Ungarn erregen. 

Given the math errors, here’s how the results tables are constructed below:

  • I’ll include the correct, recalculated scores on the left.
  • On the right, I’ll include the initial (sometimes incorrect) scores printed in newspapers around the world.

That way, you know:

  • Who the rightful winners are (columns on the left)
  • What spectators thought the results were at the end of the competition (columns on the right).

Reminder: This wasn’t the first math error in the history of gymnastics. At the 1928 Olympics, a math error cost a gymnast a bronze medal.

Reminder: According to the rules, the top 6 teams and individuals received awards.

Team Results

Corrected
Ranking
Corrected
Score
Initial
Ranking
Initial
Score
1. Switzerland788.201. Switzerland787.30
2. Czechoslovakia772.902. Czechoslovakia772.90
3. Germany769.553. Germany769.50
4. Italy760.354. Italy 761.35
5. Hungary754.805. Hungary757.40
6. Finland754.456. Finland754.10
7. France730.357. France730.40*
8. Luxembourg623.008. Luxembourg623.10
9. Belgium592.809. Belgium595.35**
10. Netherlands595.5010. Poland589.80
11. Poland568.5011. Netherlands585.80
12. Bulgaria558.2012. Bulgaria555.30
13. Mexico427.1513. Mexico427.15
Throughout this section, the correct, recalculated scores will be based on results found in Olympische Turnkunst, February 1968, as well as Világ- és Európa-bajnokságok, 1893-1973.

The original scores are based on several newspaper reports, including: Sportkiadás (Hungary, June 1 and June 2, 1934); La Stampa (Italy, June 3, 1934); Badische Presse (Germany, June 4, 1934).

For the rest of the results section: C.R. = Corrected Ranking; C.S. = Corrected Score; I.R. = Initial Rankings; I.S. = Initial Score

*La Stampa had initially reported 730.10 for France.
**La Stampa had initially reported 595.30 for Belgium.

The Differences

CountryDifference in Calculation
1. Switzerland+0.9 point
2. Czechoslovakia
3. Germany+0.05 point
4. Italy-1.0 point
5. Hungary-2.6 points
6. Finland+0.35 point
7. France-0.05 point
8. Luxembourg-0.1 point
9. Belgium-2.55 points
10. Netherlands+9.7 points
+1 ranking
11. Poland-21.3 points
-1 ranking
12. Bulgaria+2.9 points
13. Mexico

The Biggest Loser: Poland came out the worst in the recalculation process. It lost one place and 21.3 points from its team score.

All-Around Results

C.R.Ctry.C.S.I.R.Ctry.I.S.
1. MackSUI138.951. MackSUI138.50
2. NeriITA137.752. NeriITA137.65*
3. LöfflerTCH136.153. LöfflerTCH136.15
4. SavolainenFIN135.754. SládekTCH134.90
5. SládekTCH134.905. SavolainenFIN134.25
6. GajdošTCH133.156. GajdošTCH133.15
7. MiezSUI132.457T. MiezSUI132.45
8. UosikkinenFIN131.957T. UosikkinenFIN132.45
9T. SarlósHUN131.909. BeckertGER132.30
9T. WinterGER131.9010. SarlósHUN131.60
11. BeckertGER131.8511. WinterGER131.40
12. WalterSUI130.9512. WalterSUI130.95
*La Stampa originally had Neri’s all-around score as 137.75 — the same as his corrected all-around score.

Reminder: C.R. = Corrected Ranking; C.S. = Corrected Score; I.R. = Initial Rankings; I.S. = Initial Score

Note: Originally, Neri was named the all-around champion, but someone had caught that error.

An official in the accounting office had made a mistake and the Italian Neri had been calculated as first in the individual classification with a lead of 1.1 points. But the mistake was soon discovered, and the Swiss team could finally enjoy their resounding success.

Der Bund, June 4, 1934

Im Rechnungsbureau war einem Beamten ein Fehler unterlaufen und der Italiener Neri war als Erster im Einzelklassement mit 1.1 Punkt Vorsprung ausgerechnet worden. Der Fehler war aber bald entdeckt und die Schweizermannschaft konnte sich jetzt ihres durchschlagenden Erfolges endgültig erfreuen.

Apparatus Results

Note: This was the first time that individual apparatus results were calculated at the World Championships (Olympische Turnkunst, February 1968).

Pommel Horse

C.R. Ctry. C.S. I.R. Ctry. I.S.
1. Mack SUI 19.25 1. Mack SUI 19.15
2. Steinemann SUI 18.90 2. Steinemann SUI 18.90
3. Sládek TCH 18.75 3. Sládek TCH 18.75
4. Bonoli ITA 18.70 4. Bonoli ITA 18.70
5. Neri ITA 18.60 5. Neri ITA 18.60
6. Pakarinen FIN 18.50 6. Pakarinen FIN 18.50
Only Mack’s score was changed.

Reminder: C.R. = Corrected Ranking; C.S. = Corrected Score; I.R. = Initial Rankings; I.S. = Initial Score

Still Rings

C.R.Ctry.C.S.I.R.Ctry.I.S.
1. HudecTCH19.451. HudecTCH19.45
2. MackSUI19.002T. KollingerTCH18.90
3T. KollingerTCH18.902T. LogelinLUX18.90
3T. LogelinLUX18.904. SarlósHUN18.75
5. SarlósHUN18.755. KugelerLUX18.70
6. KugelerLUX18.706. LöfflerTCH18.65
The top six changed significantly after the results had been recalculated. (Reminder: The left side = the correct, recalculated results.)

Vault

C.R.Ctry.C.S.I.R.Ctry.I.S.
1. MackSUI20.001. MackSUI20.00
2. SteinemannSUI19.402. SteinemannSUI19.40
3. SládekTCH19.203. NeriITA19.20
4. WalterSUI19.054. WalterSUI19.05
5. GuglielmettiITA19.005. GuglielmettiITA19.00
6. TóthHUN18.956. TóthHUN18.95
Sládek was the gymnast with a 19.20 — not Neri.

Parallel Bars

C.R.Ctry.C.S.I.R.Ctry.I.S.
1. MackSUI19.751. MackSUI19.75
2. WalterSUI19.252. WalterSUI19.25
3. BachSUI19.203. BachSUI19.20
4. SavolainenFIN18.904. SavolainenFIN18.90
5T. NeriITA18.805T. NeriITA18.80
5T. TukiainenFIN18.805T. TukiainenFIN18.80
No changes

High Bar

C.R.Ctry.C.S.I.R.Ctry.I.S.
1. WinterGER19.651. WinterGER19.65
2T. MiezSUI19.452T. MiezSUI19.45
2T. SandrockGER19.452T. SandrockGER19.45
4. MackSUI19.404. MackSUI19.40
5. SavolainenFIN19.155. SavolainenFIN19.15
6. SteffensGER19.106T. SteffensGER19.10
6T. SteinemannSUI19.10
Only change: Steinemann dropped from the top six.

Floor Exercise

There weren’t awards for the track and field events or floor exercise. Nevertheless, here were the top scorers on floor exercise.

C.R.CountryC.S.I.R.CountryI.S.
1. MiezSUI18.951. MiezSUI18.95
2. MackSUI18.352. MackSUI18.35
3. KrötzschGER18.253. TóthHUN18.30
4. WalterSUI18.104. KrötzschGER18.25
5. TóthHUN18.055. WalterSUI18.10
6. SandrockGER17.756. BachSUI17.65
Several changes: Tóth moved from third to fifth. Krötzsch moved from fourth to third. Walter moved up one place to fourth. Bach dropped from the top six.

Germany’s Sudden Entrance

During the FIG Congress before the World Championships, the German federation requested not only admittance to the FIG but also entry into the World Championships. This was unusual. Federations typically didn’t seek FIG affiliation hours before they wanted to compete.

Here’s how the Polish federation’s publication described it:

The most important points debated during the 21st Assembly, with the participation of delegates from 19 national federations, were the matters of admitting the “Deutsche Turnerschaft” to the FIG and the organization of a permanent women’s technical committee. The session was held in the premises of the Hungarian gymnastics federation.

The first case was so complicated that the “Deutsche Turnerschaft,” although it had not concealed its intention of appearing at the 10th international tournament in Budapest for over a year. German sports magazines wrote about it because the German organization neglected to submit a timely application for admission to the FIG. When this application finally arrived through diplomatic channels, the agenda for the 21st assembly had already been printed and sent out. Moreover, the form of the application was such that it was not clear what the “Deutsche Turnerschaft” was seeking: membership in the F. I. G. on a permanent basis, or to join it just to be able to be on the sports field in Budapest.

Therefore, even with the most favorable treatment of the matter, a dilemma arose: can the 21st Assembly decide at all on a matter that is not on the agenda? And especially: if the Germans are admitted one day, can they compete internationally the next day? A qualified majority (2/3) is required for the admission of a newly proclaimed federation.

The 21st Assembly of the FIG gave proof of great organizational liberality, prejudging both cases in favor of the “Deutsche Turnerschaft” and allowing the Germans to compete in the 10th tournament, in which they took 3rd place.

Przewodnik Gimnastyczny “Sokół,” 1934, nr 6

Najwaźniejszemi punktami, nad któremi w ciągu XXI zgromadzenia debatowano, przy uczestnictwie delegatów 19-stu federacyj narodowych, były sprawy’ przyjęcia do F. I. G. „Deutsche Turnerschaft” oraz zorganizowania stałej komisji technicznej kobiecej. Obrady odbywały się w lokalu Federacji gimnastycznej węgierskiej.

Pierwsza sprawa była o tyle skomplikowana, że ,,Deutsche Turnerschaft”, choć od roku przeszło nie kryła się z zamiarem wystąpienia na X turnieju międzynarodowym w Budapeszcie, o czem szeroko pisały pisma sportowe niemieckie, zaniedbała złożenia we właściwym czasie podania o przyjęcie do F. I. G. Gdy podanie to wreszcie w drodze dyplomatycznej nadeszło, porządek dzienny XXI zgromadzenia był już wydrukowany i rozesłany. Ponadto forma podania była tego rodzaju, że nie wiadomo było, o co „Deutsche Turnerschaft” zabiega: o należenie do F. I. G. na stałe, czy też o przyjęcie do niej dlatego tylko, aby móc znaleźć się na boisku w Budapeszcie.

Wynikł zatem, przy najprzychylniejszem nawet traktowaniu sprawy, dylemat: czy wogóle XXI zgromadzenie może decydować sprawę, nie będącą na porządku dziennym, a powtóre: czy wrazie przyjęcia Niemców jednego dnia, mogą oni już nazajutrz stanąć w szrankach współzawodnictwa międzynarodowego. Do przyjęcia nowozgłoszonej federacji wymagana jest przytem kwalifikowana większość (2/3).

XXI zgromadzenie F. I. G. dało dowód wielkiego liberalizmu organizacyjnego, przesądzając obie sprawy na korzyść „Deutsche Turnerschaft” i pozwalając Niemcom stanąć do X turnieju, w którym zajęli 3-cie miejsce.

This is what the German federation wrote in its annual yearbook:

The German Gymnastics Association did not belong to the International Gymnastics Federation — Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) — until Budapest. At the international congress on May 31, 1934 in Budapest, Germany was admitted to the International Gymnastics Federation with 12 to 3 votes. The infant Germany caused severe labor pains. Budapest was the first and only opportunity for the German Gymnastics Association to compete with other countries in artistic gymnastics before the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, but especially to gain the international experience that was absolutely necessary for participation in international events and to establish international relationships and friendships. Budapest has undoubtedly been a great success in this respect. I remember with fondness and gratitude the men of the International Gymnastics Federation who gave kind assistance to the DT in Budapest.

Jahrbuch der Turnkunst, 1935

Die Deutsche Turnerschaft gehörte bis Budapest dem Internationalen Turverband — Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) — noch nicht an. Bei dem internationalen Kongreß am 31. Mai 1934 in Budapest wurde die Aufnahme Deutschlands in den Internationalen Turnverband mit 12 zu 3 Stimmen vollzogen. Der Säugling Deutschland verursachte schwere Geburtswehen. Budapest war für die Deutsche Turnerschaft die erste und einzigste Möglichkeit, vor den Olympischen Spielen 1936 in Berlin sich mit den anderen Ländern im Gerätturnen zu messen, insbesondere aber die für eine Teilnahme an internationalen Veranstaltungen unbedingt erforderlichen internationalen Erfahrungen zu sammeln und internationale Beziehungen und freundschaften anzuknüpfen. Budapest ist in dieser Hinsicht zweifellos ein großer Erfolg gewesen. Ich gedenke gern und dankbar der Männer des Internationalen Turnverbandes, die der DT. in Budapest freundliche Hilfestellung geleistet haben.

As a result, the FIG updated its rules for the 1938 World Championships, specifying that national federations had to be members for at least 6 months:

Art. 2. — Participation in the tournament is open to all National Federations affiliated with the International Gymnastics Federation for at least six months before the date of the tournament.

Rulebook of the XI International Tournament (World Championships) of the FIG organized in Prague, June 30 – July 1, 1938

Art. 2. — La participation au tournoi est ouverte à toutes les Fédérations nationales affiliées à la Fédération internationale de gymnastique depuis au moins six mois avant le date du tournoi.

Yugoslavia’s Absence

Yugoslavia was one of the top teams at the time. The team had finished third at the 1928 Olympics and at the 1930 World Championships.

So, it was a big deal when Yugoslavia declined to attend the 1934 World Championships for political reasons. Here’s what the Polish federation wrote:

At the beginning of the assembly, a representative of the Czechoslovak Sokols read out, on behalf of the COS and Saveza Sokola Kraljevine Jugoslavije, a declaration justifying the non-arrival of the Yugoslavian Sokols in Budapest, and the solidarity of the Czechoslovak Sokols with them. In view of the purely political nature of this declaration, the assembly, on the motion of the representative of the Swiss Union, passed it over to the agenda.

Przewodnik Gimnastyczny “Sokół,” 1934, nr 6

Na wstępie zgromadzenia przedstawiciel sokolstwa czechosłowackiego odczytał imieniem C. O. S. i Saveza Sokola Kraljevine Jugoslavije deklarację, uzasadniającą nieprzybycie sokołów jugosłowiańskich do Budapesztu, oraz zsolidaryzowanie się z nimi sokołów czechosłowackich. Wobec charakteru czysto politycznego tej deklaracji, na wniosek przedstawiciela Związku szwajcarskiego zgromadzenie przeszło nad nią do porządku dziennego.

The Yugoslav federation’s publication wrote the following:

It is especially important for us that Yugoslavia did not participate in these competitions for the World Championships for well-known reasons, so others took the places of our previous world champions. But there will soon be another opportunity for our competitors to compete with the best in the world for the title of champion on a more pleasant and friendly soil.

Solski Glasnik, June 8, 1934

Za nas je naročito važno, što Ju­goslavija nije sudelovala na ovim utak micama za svetsko prvenstvo iz poznatih razloga, pa su tako na mesto naših dosadašnjih prvaka sveta, došli drugi. Ali če doči uskoro opet prilika, da se na prijatnijem i prijateljskijem tlu naši takmičari ogledaju s najboljima na svetu, za naslov prvaka.

More Historical Context: The situation between Hungary and Yugoslavia was tense in 1934. There were reports of Yugoslav border guards killing and kidnapping Hungarian border guards (NYTimes, February 27, 1934).

In addition, in March of 1934, there were talks of a Hapsburg restoration in Austria and Hungary. Yugoslavia’s Foreign Minister Bogoljub Jevtić stated:

“Attempts at a Hapsburg restoration must inevitably result in general bloodshed. History has pronounced its definitive verdict on the Hapsburgs. The policy of a Hapsburg restoration menaces the peace and stability of this country. Yugoslavia, which did not yield to the powerful Austro-Hungarian monarchy, would meet the reappearance of its ghostly shadow with perfect calm.”

NYTimes, March 13, 1934

Reminder: At the beginning of the 20th century, Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes were living in two empires—the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman—and in two independent nation-states—Serbia and Montenegro. So, the recreation of the Austro-Hungarian (i.e. Hapsburg) empire would be a step back in Yugoslav history.


Competition Commentary

The Swiss newspaper Der Bund covered the 1934 World Championships extensively. Here’s a day-by-day recap of the publication’s coverage.

June 2, 1934 Edition

Starting Order

Already in the first exercises, the Swiss, Germans, and Czechs clearly stand out. The Swiss start on high bar, as do the Poles, the Dutch on parallel bars, the Italians on pommel horse, and the Germans on floor exercise. The Poles rarely see a well-completed exercise on the horizontal bar, as do the Italians on the pommel horse, with few exceptions.

Schon in den ersten Uebungen stechen die Schweizer, Deutschen und Tschechen deutlich hervor. Die Schweizer beginnen am Reck, ebenso die Polen, die Holländer am Barren, die Italiener am Pferd und die Deutschen in den Freiübungen. Bei den Polen sieht man am Reck nur selten eine gut abgeschlossene Uebung, ebenso mit wenig Ausnadmen bei den Italienern am Pferd. 

Germany’s Krötzsch stood out on floor.

At noon the Germans finished their floor exercise. As expected, Krötzsch stood out with his well-known exercise. A few superfluous parts of the exercise may have contributed to this, however, since he only received the score 18.2.

Zur Mittagsstunde haben die Deutschen die Freiübungen beendigt. Erwartungsgemäß stach Klötzich mit seiner bekannten Uebung hervor. Einige überflüssige Uebungsteile dürften aber dazu beigetragen haben, dah er nur die Note 18,2 notierte.

Note: Krötzsch’s final score was an 18.25 on floor.

Czechoslovakia’s Hudec was the clear favorite on rings.

The Czechs are working on their favorite apparatus, the rings. Hudec proves to be the absolute best man here.

Die Tschechen arbeiten an ihrem Lieblingsgerät, den Ringen. Hudec erweist sich hier als unbedingt bester Mann.

Note: Hudec won the rings title.

Switzerland’s Walter struggled on high bar. He botched both attempts at the compulsory routine.

Only Walter had bad luck. He failed the compulsory exercise and also had to give up during the repetition, so that he only scored 5 points. 

Von Pech oerfolgt war einzig Walter, der in der obligatorischen Uebung versagte und auch die Wiederholung abb echen muhte, so da« er nur 5 Punkte buchte.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

June 3, 1934 Edition

Budapest was bustling.

The Magyar capital is under the spell of the gymnastics world championships. The main station is like a beehive. Almost every hour, special trains roll into the large hall from all directions, and on Thursday evening the Swiss special train with its 300 fans also arrived. The Swiss team had already arrived 24 hours in advance in order to be able to take part in the official welcome on Thursday.

Die magyariiche Hauptstadt steht ganz im Bann der Turner-Weltmeisterichaften. Der Hauptbahnhof gleicht einem Bienenhaus. Fast stündlich rollen Sonderzüge aus allen Richtungen in die große Halle und am Donnerstagabend traf auch der Schweizer Extrazug mit seinen 300 Schlachtenbummlern ein. Die Schweizermannschaft war bereits 24 Stunden vorher eingetroffen, um an der offiziellen Begrüßung vom Donnerstag teilnehmen zu können.

The all-around favorites included…

The world championship fights take up a lot of space in the Hungarian newspapers. Besides the Swiss Mack, the biggest favorites are the German Kurt Krötzsch, the Czech Hudec, the Finn Uosikkinen, and the Italian Neri.

In den ungarischen Blättern nehmen die Weltmeisterschastskämpfe einen breiten Raum ein. Neben dem Schweizer Mack gelten als größte Favoriten der Deutsche Kurt Krötzsch, der Tscheche Hudec, der Finne Uosikkinen und der Italiener Neri

Germany had a big cheering section.

The Germans, who are accompanied by around 1,500 fans, have the same confidence as the Swiss.

Die gleiche Zuversicht wie bei den Schweizern herrscht bei den Deutschen, die von rund 1500 Schlachtenbummlern begleitet sind.

Switzerland’s Hänggi had a knee injury.

With the exception of Hänggi, everything is fine. The Burgdorfer suffers from a knee injury, but will still compete in the competition.

Mit Ausnahme von Hänggi befindet sich alles wohlauf. Der Burgdorfer leidet an einer Knieverletzung, wird aber den Wettkampf dennoch bestreiten.

Hänggi pulled out of the competition after falling on rings.

Hänggi fell badly on the rings in the freely chosen part. As soon as he started, he had to give up the exercise and this mishap put him in a hopeless position. Due to fatigue, he gave up the competition.

Hänggi gibt aus an den Ringen fallierte Hänggi im freigewählten Teil ganz bös. Kaum begonnen, mußte er die Uebung einstellen und kam durch dieses Mißgeschick in aussichtslose Position. Er gab infolge Uebermüdung den Wettkamps aus. 

The Germans were fantastic on horizontal bar.

At the end of the morning work, the Germans shone with their work on the horizontal bar, where they showed exceptionally reliable performances. However, Krötzsch fell easily. Winter overtook the Swiss trio Mack-Miez-Steinemann with a score of 19.6 and is now the first world champion to be named.

Zu Ende der Vormittagsarbeit glänzten die Deutschen mit ihrer Arbeit am Reck, wo sie aussallend sichere Leistungen zeigten. Krötzsch fallierte allerdings leicht. Winter überholte das Schweizertrio Mack-Miez-Steinemann mit der Note 19.6 und dürste als erster Weltmeister anzusprechen sein.

Note: Winter’s score was actually a 19.65.

Krötzsch tore his hands on high bar and gave up.

Immediately afterward, the sensation of the day was heard. The German master gymnast Krötzsch tore his hands on the horizontal bar and finally had to give up.

Gleich darauf vernahm man die Sensation des Tages. Der deutsche Meisterturner Krötzsch riß sich am Reck die Hände auf und mußte endgültig aufgeben.

Mack scored two 10s on vault.

Vaulting was a sure thing for the Swiss. Although the review of the work of their fiercest rivals is still missing, Mack should be sure of the individual world championship. He got the maximum mark of 10 in both the optional and compulsory vault.

Das Pferdspringen war eine sichere Sache der Schweizer. Noch fehlt zwar der Ueberblick über die Arbeit ihrer schärfsten Rivalen, aber die Einzel-Weltmeisterschaft dürfte Mack sicher sein. Er holte sich sowohl im sreigcwählten wie im obligatorischen Sprung die Maximalnote 10.

The organization was terrible.

The organization is very bad. The Swiss had to wait in vain until 7 o’clock in the evening for 1 1/2 hours for the call to work on the parallel bars. The journalists haven’t seen the official results sheet for the whole day.

Die Organisation ist denkbar schlecht. Die Schweizcr mußten bis 7 Uhr abends während 1 1/2 Stunden vergeblich auf den Appell zur Arbeit am Barren warten. Die Journalisten haben während des ganzen Tages noch kein Blatt mit offiziellen Resultaten gesehen.

My thought bubble: It’s no surprise that there were so many scoring errors.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

June 4, 1934 Edition

The Swiss competed in the darkness.

The Swiss team completed their workload on parallel bars on Friday evening when darkness fell and showed performances that can hardly be surpassed. Other teams, such as the Finns, preferred to abandon their practice.

Die Schweizermannschaft hat noch am Freitagabend bei einbrechender Dunkelheit ihr Pensum am Barren absolviert und dabei Leistungen gezeigt, die kaum zu überbieten sind. Andere Mannschaften, wie die Finnen beispielsweise, zogen vor, ihre Uebungen abzubrechen.

The Swiss struggled in track and field

In the athletics part, however, our representatives did not show their best. Mack, Miez and Walter managed to get the maximum mark in the pole vault, but the Swiss didn’t even come close to their training performance in the shot put, and in the 100-meter dash, they clearly showed signs of fatigue. The Swiss lost important points against the Germans, but the Czechoslovaks were even better, who surpassed the German squad.

Im leichtathletischen Teil zeigten sich unsere Vertreter allerdings nicht von der besten Seite. Im Stabhochsprung gelang es zwar Mack, Miez und Walter die Maximalnote zu erobern, aber bereits im Kugelstoßen kamen die Schweizer nicht einmal an ihre Trainingsleistungen heran und im 100-Meter-Lauf machten sich deutlich Ermüdungserscheinungen bemerkbar. Gegenüber den Deutschen büßten die Schweizer wichtige Punkte ein, aber noch besser waren die Tschechoslowaken, die die deutsche Riege überflügelten.

There was a counting mistake that named Neri the all-around champion.

An official in the accounting office had made a mistake and the Italian Neri had been calculated as first in the individual classification with a lead of 1.1 points. But the mistake was soon discovered and the Swiss team could finally enjoy their resounding success.

Im Rechnungsbureau war einem Beamten ein Fehler unterlaufen und der Italiener Neri war als Erster im Einzelklassement mit 1.1 Punkt Vorsprung ausgerechnet worden. Der Fehler war aber bald entdeckt und die Schweizermannschaft konnte sich jetzt ihres durchschlagenden Erfolges endgültig erfreuen.

Note: As we saw, this counting error was discovered before the rest of the counting errors were discovered.

⁂ ⁂ ⁂

Based on the corrected scores, the Swiss would have crushed its competition without the track and field events.

This is what the Swiss newspaper Der Bund printed about the corrected scores:

The classification of Switzerland in the individual disciplines is interesting. Third place behind Germany and Finland on horizontal bar, first place on parallel bars, pommel horse, vault, and floor exercise, and second on rings. Our artistic gymnasts will probably be most happy about the last-named place, as their result is only 0.60 points behind the first-placed Czechs and they have thus reached the port to the world class. 10 years ago at the Olympic Games in Paris, the Swiss still had to count themselves among the beginners.

Another thing is the three athletic exercises. Here, Switzerland is only in 7th place. If Budapest had been an all-artistic gymnastics competition, our team would have won by more than 30 points over Germany, who would have taken 2nd place, and the Czechs who had placed second would have been relegated to 5th place behind Italy and Finland. In the individual competition, in actual artistic gymnastics, world champion Mack was at the top with a margin of more than 5 points, followed by his comrades Bach and Steinemann, and Neri would have come only in 4th place.

In summary, it can be stated that the victory of the Swiss gymnasts in Budapest would have been much clearer in a pure artistic gymnastics competition. Only the athletic exercises not cultivated by our gymnasts could have cost them 1st place.

Der Bund, August 17, 1934

Interessant ist die Klassierung der Schweiz in den einzelnen Disziplinen. Am Reck dritter hinter Deutschland und Finnland, am Barren, Pferd, im Pferdspringen und in der Freiübung erster und an den Ringen zweiter Rang. Wohl am meisten werden sich unsere Kunstturner über den letztgenannten Platz freuen, befinden sie sich mit ihrem Resultat doch nur noch 0,60 P. hinter den erstplacierten Tschechen und haben damit den Anschluß an die Weltklasse erreicht. Vor 10 Jahren an den olympischen Spielen in Paris mußten sich die Schweizer noch zu den Anfängern zählen. 

Eine andere Sache sind die drei leichtathlctischen Uebungen. Hier steht die Schweiz erst auf dem 7. Platz. Wäre in Budapest ein reiner Kunstturner-Wettkampf zur Durchführung gelangt, so hätte unsere Mannschaft mit einem Vorsprung von über 30 Punkten vor Deutschland, das den 2. Platz eingenommen hätte, gesiegt und die zweitplaeierten Tschechen wären hinter Italien und Finnland auf den 5. Platz verwiesen worden. Im Einzelwettkampf im eigentlichen Kunstturnen stände Weltmeister Mack mit einem Vorsprung von über 5 Punkten an der Spitze, gefolgt von seinen Kameraden Bach und Steinemann, und erst im 4. Rang käme der Italiener Neri.

Zusammengefaßt ist festzustellen, daß der Sieg der Schweizerturner in Budapest in einem reinen Kunstturner-Wettkampf noch viel deutlicher ausgefallen wäre. Nur die von unsern Kunstturnern nicht gepflegten leichtathletischen Uebungen hätten ihnen den 1. Plats kosten können.

Klinger’s Comments on Judging

Dr. Miroslav Klinger was one of the vice presidents of the Men’s Technical Committee. He eventually became the president of the MTC before politics forced him to resign his position.

After the 1934 World Championships, Klinger chose to write a long article about the judging in the Czechoslovak publication Sokol.

Here are a few excerpts from his article (Sokol, 1934, number 7/8).

In the rules, the FIG required that the judges’ “impartiality be beyond doubt.” That was not enough.

However, when the International Federation holds a world championship, it is only stipulated that each nation taking part in the event has the right to send two to three judges “whose impartiality is beyond doubt.”

By this provision of the competition rules, the competitors are to be protected against the judges’ will.

The practice of the last few international events has shown that this is not enough. 

Když však koná Mezinárodní Federace tělocvičná závod o prvenství světa, stanoví se pouze, že každý národ, který se účastní závodu má právo vyslati dva až trí soudce, »jejichž nestrannost je mimo pochybnost«.

Tímhle ustanovením závodního řádu mají závodníci být chráněni proti libovůli soudců.

Prakse několika posledních mezinárodních závodů ukázala, že to nestačí.

Gymnastics needed to be more specific. It was not enough to say that a 10.0, for example, was perfect. This gives the judges too much power.

In gymnastics, which is an art and a performance at the same time, but where it measures the eyes, beauty, conscience, judgment, and required impartiality, the method of judging is settled by stating in order which score belongs to the routine that is below the expectations, for the routine that is up to expectations, for the routine that is good, and finally for the exercise that is perfect!

At the same time, the score of ten points is divided into five and five. As I mentioned above, the first five points fall on execution, and the second five are to be evaluated: composition, grace, substance, and difficulty of the set.

Nowhere is it said how and which misdemeanors are punished [i.e. which deductions are taken]. Thus, the complete result of several months of effort of the competitor is left to the judge, who, if his qualification is not established, can seriously harm the competitor without anything other than the objection of non-professionalism.

V tělocviku, který je uměním i výkonem zároveň, kde však měří oči, krasocit, svědomí, úsudek a požadovaná nestrannost, je způsob soudcování vyřízen tím, že se v řádu uvádí, jaká známka přísluší za cvičení nepočaté, jaká známka za cvičení nedokonalé, jaká za cvičení dostatečné, jaká za cvičení dobré a konečně jaká za cvičení dokonalé!

Při tom kra ještě je známka deseti bodů dělena na pět a  pět. Prvých pět bodů připadá, jak jsem uvedl shora, na výkon, a druhými pěti má být ohodnocena: skladba, ladnost, vydatnost a obtížnost sestavy.

Nikde není řečeno, jak a které poklesky se trestají. Tím je tedy celý výsledek několikaměsíční námahy závodníka ponechán soudci, který když není dána mez jeho kvalifikaci, může závodníka těžce poškodit, aniž krom námitky neodbornictví se dá něco uplatnit

Sports results had become a symbol of a nation’s power, and the judges were waging war against one another.

Already in the last few international sports competitions we saw, they have been threatened by chauvinism, not least from the honors that nations have shown to winners, as the results achieved in an event or match have become – I always doubt rightly – a measure of a nation’s ability. And from that grew again the effort to win this trophy for its nation, an effort that made many judges’ companions’ combatants at any cost.

And so it happened that the weak attacked the strong. The attackers were not competitors but judges. Attacks would not be by people and not defend themselves when the order has been unchanged for many years and has not protected them.

The chauvinism and partisanship of one gave birth to the evil of the other.

Již na několika posledních mezinárodních závodech tělocvičných se ukázalo, že je ohrožuje šovinismus, který v neposlední řadě pramenil z poct, které národy vítězům prokazovaly, poněvadž dosažené výsledky v závodě nebo zápase staly se — pochybuji, že vždycky právem — měřítkem zdatnosti národů. A z toho opět vyrostla snaha získat svému národu tuto trofej, snaha, která z mnohých soudců učinila spolubojovníky závodníků stůj co stůj.

A tak se stalo, že slabí napadali silné. Útočníky nebyli borci, nýbrž soudci. Napadení by nebyly lidmi, aby se nebránili, když řád byl dlouhá léta beze změn a nechránil je.

Šovinismus a stranictví jedněch zplodilo zlo druhých.

The FIG had taken some steps to stop the war between judges.

In honor of those who played a decisive role in the technical management of the FIG, they realized this fact and sought redress.

All their care was taken to prevent any partisanship of the judges. First, it was stipulated that judges should not consult. It didn’t help much.

Then it turned out that there must be three judges so that two could balance the partisanship with their marks.

Finally, the three judges moved at least 10 m apart and should not exchange signs.

In Lausanne, we decided that there would be 3 judges, but one of them would rest. In principle, he must not judge his nationality. Other provisions, including the distance and the idea that judges do not consult, remained.

Budiž řečeno ke cti těch, kterým připadla rozhodující úloha v technickém vedení M. F. G., si tuto skutečnost uvědomili a hledali nápravu.

Všechna jejich péče se nesla k tomu, aby se znemožnila jakákoliv stranickost soudců. Nejprve se ustanovilo že soudci se nesmějí radit. Příliš to nepomáhalo.

Pak se sáhlo k tomu, že musí být soudci tři, aby dva vyvážili svojí známkou strannickost jednoho.

Konečně i tři soudci se museli od sebe vzdálit nejméně na 10 m a neměli si vzájemně sdělovat známky.

V Lausanne pak jsme se usnesli, že sice budou soudci 3, ale jeden z nich, že odpočívá. Zásadně nesmí soudcovat svoji národnost. Ostatní ustanovení o vzdálenosti, o tom, že soudci se neradí, zůstalo.

Those provisions weren’t enough. Even if judges weren’t judging their nations’ gymnasts, they were giving low scores to the gymnasts from other countries. The worst was a Finnish judge.

We thought that this would ensure that the judges did not give above-average marks to their country sportspeople.

If someone is terrible, they will always find a way, so those who thought they were going to fight with their country’s team and not judge as they should, gave low marks to their competitors, and the Finnish judge went so far that he had the marks of his team at hand so he can calculate how this will affect the competitors.

In Budapest, it turned out in practice that the commitment not to consult between the judges was not sustainable, so a short meeting of the first two competitors was allowed. The judges had to unify the standard.

All this and especially the particular case in Budapest, shows the efforts to secure the champion and a fair valuation of his performance must double.

Domnívali jsme se, že tak je aspoň zabezpečeno, že soudci nebudou vlastním závodníkům dávat nadprůměrné známky.

Je-li někdo zlý, najde vždycky cestu, a tak ti, kteří se domnívali, že jdou vlastně s družstvem svého státu bojovat a ne soudit, dávali nízké známky soupeřům a finský soudce šel tak daleko, že měl při ruce známky svých, aby tím jistěji mohl utlačit nebezpečné soky. 

V Budapešti pak se ukázalo v praksi, že závazek, aby se soudci neradili, není udržitelný, a tak se dovolila krátká porada při prvých dvou závodnících. Soudci si tím měli ujednotit měřítko.

Tohle všechno a zejména křiklavý případ v Budapešti ukazuje na to, úsilí o zabezpečení borce a o spravedlivé ocenění jeho výkonu se musí zdvojnásobit.

In Klinger’s opinion, there needed to be a judging test.

I see no other way than to have a list of judges who can judge in international competitions. The list would be supplemented based on tests. Anyone who has been coupled with their nationality would have to pass an examination before a strict technical committee.

Nevidím jiné cesty, než tu, že se musí zařídit seznam soudců, kteří mohou na mezinárodních závodech soudcovat. Ten kdo by byl svojí národností označen, musel by před užší technickou komisí složit zkoušky. Seznam by se na základě zkoušek doplňoval.

There needed to be a table of deductions for compulsory routines Everyone gets a say in the matter to hopefully prevent “sin.”

Furthermore, once the FIG Technical Committee has approved the compulsory routines, a scoring summary will be drawn up indicating how many tenths or whole points are deducted for each section so that the preferences or opinions of individual nationalities on the evaluation and composition of the exercise can be applied and prevent possible sin in affected hearts.

Dále, až by technická komise M. F. G. schválila sestavy určené pro závod, vypracoval by se přehled srážek s označením, kolik desetin, nebo celých bodů se sráží za jednotlivé poklesky, aby se tak mohl uplatnit vkus, nebo názor jednotlivých národností na ohodnocení i skladbu cvičení a zabránilo se možnému hřešení u srdcí ovlivněných.

The competition starts during the meetings before the competitions.

A similar innocent question was asked in the analysis of the assessment of vault in the case of touching the individual zones. A provision has been made that when the fingers are still in the zone with the higher score, the higher mark applies even if the whole palm was in the field with the lower score. It was supposed to be the step of such insurance for those who performed the vaults exemplary, but they lacked full touch. The next day in the judges’ meeting, we twisted this provision. Such innocent matters shall be submitted to the President at a meeting of the Judges, who shall have them put to the vote, even if he disagrees with them. And so the competition starts before the competition.

Podobná nevinná otázka byla položena při rozboru o posuzování skoků přes koně na dél, pokud šlo o srážky za dohmat do jednotlivých polí. Přijalo se ustanovení, že když prsty jsou ještě v poli s vyšší známkou, platí známka vyšší, i když celá dlaň byla v poli s nižší známkou. Mělo v tom být pojištění těch, kteří konali skoky vzorně, ale scházel jim plný dohmat. Druhý den ve schůzi soudců jsme toto ustanovení zvrtli. Takovéhle neviňoučké věci se na schůzi soudců předloží předsedovi a ten musí o nich dát hlasovat, i když by s nimi nesouhlasil. A tak vlastně závod začíná již před závodem.

There were inconsistencies in the compulsory floor routines in 1934. 

On floor exercise, it was found that due to a wrong text, and by the fact that the text did not agree with the pictures sent later, it is possible to make two performances, one easier, one more complex, it was determined that both versions are correct.

O prostných cvičeních, kde se zjistilo, že vinou špatného textu a tím, že dále text nesouhlasil s později zaslanými obrázky, je možné dvojí provedení, jedno snažší, jedno těžší, se stanovilo, že obojí provedení je správné.

In Budapest, the judging panel did not change between compulsories and optionals. That was a mistake because it allowed judges to cheat two times on the same event.

I consider it a great mistake to organize the event in Budapest that, pointing to the lack of judges, it was decided that both compulsory and optional routines should take place in front of one set of judges. It was the cleverness of those who had already formed a block before the event so that they could oppress their enemies twice over. It used to be that another group of judges was used for compulsories, another for optionals. It must remain so in the future because the injustice caused to one can be offset against the other. After all, it is possible to calculate how many judges will be needed before the competition, and the registered nations can know how many of them they can send. After all, when the judges were divided the next day, it turned out that there were enough judges.

Za velkou chybu organisace závodů v Budapešti pokládám to, že s poukazem na nedostatek soudců se rozhodlo, aby povinné i volné cvičení se konalo před jedněmi soudci. Bylo to chytráctví těch, kdo již před závodem utvořili blok, aby takhle mohli utlačovat ty, na které měli spadeno, dvakrát. Dříve to bylo tak, že jiná skupina soudců byla u povinných, jiná u volných cvičení. Musí to tak zůstat i v budoucnu, poněvadž křivda, způsobená u jedněch, dá se vyvážit na druhých. (Viz náš případ prostná volná a prostná povinná.) Vždyť se dá před závodem spočítati, kolik bude zapotřebí soudců a přihlášeným národům se může dát vědět, kolik jich nejméně mohou poslat. Ostatně při rozdělování soudců na druhý den se ukázalo, že soudců bylo dost.

Czechoslovak gymnasts needed to evolve to focus less on difficulty and more on precision. 

I had said before that there are entirely different valuation principles today than in the days when the Sokols won overwhelmingly over others. We entered the racetrack for the first time; we amazed our opponents in free formations with long formations with solid endurance and pull-up exercises, balancing them with a swing. Our absolute predominance has always approached this on floor exercise, which is still the case today, although as far as the event’s content is concerned, the importance of floor exercise has been intentionally diminished […].

Today, the international gymnastics world values ​​more precision and ease of performance than length, effort, and difficulty. So if we want to stay in the first place, then we must also cultivate more grace, ease of execution, flexibility, and precision before difficulty in domestic events, from which we grow international competitors.

Řekl jsem to již jednou, že dnes platí zcela jiné zásady oceňování, než v dobách, kdy sokolové vítězili drtivou převahou nad druhými. Byla doba, kdy vstoupivše po prvé na závodiště, jsme svoje soupeře ve volných sestavách ohromovali dlouhými sestavami se siláckými výdržemi a tahovými cviky, vyrovnávajíce se jim švihem. K tomu vždycky přistupovala naprostá naše převaha v prostém tělocviku, která je i dnes, ačkoliv pokud obsahu závodu se týče, byl záměrně význam prostého tělocviku zmenšen […].

Dnes mezinárodní tělocvičný svět více cení přesnost a lehkost provedení před délkou, námahou a obtížností. Chceme-li tedy zůstat v první řadě, pak musíme v domácích závodech, ze kterých nám rostou mezinárodní závodníci, také více pěstovat ladnost, lehkost provedení, pružnost a přesnost před obtížností.

There needed to be a uniform scale. Czechoslovak judges should set the standard by being stricter and gaining a reputation for being strict. 

Let us elevate the authority of the judge. This is only possible if everyone is professionally educated, strong in things, and the competitors do not see the enemy in them, but a machine that records what someone did. However, more competitors than judges have that in hand. They must approach the judge with confidence. In ball games, what the judge says should be sacred. At least in most cases. Why couldn’t it be in general gymnastics? It will be when the scale is uniform, even if it is strict. And if we want to win abroad, our judges must be stricter than judges of other nations. Let the competitors and judges base our Sokol pride on the fact that we are stricter than others. Let us be Protestants and Czech brothers among the churches of gymnasts.


In sum, FIG events had a long way to go — both in terms of judging and in terms of doing basic math.

One reply on “1934: Math Problems and Two Perfect 10s during the Men’s Competition at the World Championships”

Judging math errors: The problem endures. Luckily, with 2 D jurors, most math errors are caught these days before scores are published.

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