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The Perfect Scores before Nadia Comăneci and Nellie Kim

Before Nadia Comăneci’s and Nellie Kim’s perfect 10s at the 1976 Olympic Games, there was a long line of gymnasts who obtained perfect scores at the Olympic Games, the World Championships, or the European Championships. (Originally, the World Championships were called the International Tournament.)

Some of them even managed perfect totals, meaning that they received the maximum score for their compulsory and optional routines combined.

So, here’s a chronological list of the gymnasts who were “perfect” before Comăneci and Kim.

Kunstturn-WM in Basel 1950: Barren-Sieger Hans Eugster (Photo by RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Disclaimer: There certainly are more gymnasts whose scores have been lost to history or are gathering dust in an archive somewhere. If I ever find them, I will update this list.

1905 International Tournament

Perfect Total

GymnastTeam/NationTotalEvent
Marcel
Lalu
France36.0High Bar
At the time, gymnasts’s routines were out of a 12.0: 10 points for the routine, 1 point for the mount, and 1 point for the dismount.

That meant that Lalu scored a perfect 12.0 on his two compulsory routines, as well as his optional routine.

Additional Perfect Scores

In addition, Joseph Martinez of France scored a 35.75 on high bar, which meant that he scored 12.0s on two of his three routines.

GymnastTeam/CountryScoreEvent
Joseph
Martinez
France12.0
12.0
High Bar

Source: Olympische Turnkunst, July 1966
More here: 1905: The World Championships That Almost Didn’t Happen


1907 International Tournament

There were several perfect scores in Prague, and there was one perfect total.

Perfect Total

GymnastTeam/NationTotalEvent
François
Vidal
France24.0High Bar
Starting in 1907, the gymnasts dropped a compulsory routine, performing only one optional and one compulsory routine per event. As a result, the perfect total dropped from 36.0 to 24.0.

Additional Perfect Scores

During the preliminary calisthenic exercises, the following gymnasts received perfect 10s:

GymnastTeam/CountryScoreExercise
Josef
Seidl
Czech
Sokols
10.0Fifth
Josef
Čada
Czech
Sokols
10.0
10.0
First
Fifth
Joseph
Lux
France10.0
10.0
Second
Fifth
Louis
Ségura
France10.0
10.0
First
Fifth
Pol.
Giesenfeld
Belgium10.0
10.0
10.0
Second
Fourth
Fifth
Leo
Pauwels
Belgium10.0Fourth
There were five calisthenics exercises, and each exercise was worth 10 points.

In addition to the 10.0s above, there were perfect 12s on the apparatus:

GymnastTeam/CountryScoreEvent
František
Erben
Czech Sokols12.0Parallel Bars,
Optionals
František
Erben
Czech Sokols12.0High Bar,
Optionals
Georges
Charmoille
France12.0High Bar,
Optionals
Jules
Rolland
France12.0High Bar,
Optionals
Joseph
Lux
France12.0High Bar,
Optionals
Louis
Ségura
France12.0High Bar,
Optionals
Each routine was worth 10 points, with an additional point for the mount and an additional point for the dismount.

Source: V. slet všesokolský 1907: pamětní list vydaný péči
More here: 1907: Perfect Scores Abound at the World Championships in Prague


1909 International Tournament

Perfect Totals

GymnastTeam/CountryTotalEvent
Joseph
Martinez
France24.0Parallel Bars
Joseph
Martinez
France24.0High Bar
Each routine was out of a 10.0, with an additional point for the mount and another point for the dismount, making the perfect score a 12.0.

Additional Perfect Scores

To receive a 23.75 meant that the gymnast received a perfect 12 on one routine and an 11.75 on another routine. (Without the score sheets, it’s impossible to know whether the perfect routine was on compulsories or optionals.) The following gymnasts scored 23.75s:

GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Auguste
Castille
France12.0Parallel
Bars
Josef
Čada
Czech
Sokols
12.0Parallel
Bars
Josef
Čada
Czech
Sokols
12.0High Bar
František
Erben
Czech
Sokols
12.0High Bar
Karel
Fuks
Slovenian
Sokols
12.0High Bar
Guido
Romano
Italy12.0Rings
Marco
Torrès
France12.0Parallel
Bars
Marco
Torrès
France12.0Rings

Source: Olympische Turnkunst, March 1967
More here: 1909: French Algerian Gymnasts Dominate the World Championships


1911 International Tournament

Perfect Totals

GymnastTeam/CountryTotalExercise
Giorgio
Zampori
Italy24.0Parallel Bars
Josef
Czada
Czech
Sokols
24.0High Bar
Ferdinand
Steiner
Czech
Sokols
24.0Rings
Osvaldo
Palazzi
Italy24.0Pommel Horse
Each routine was worth 10 points, with an additional point for the mount and an additional point for the dismount.

Additional Perfect Scores

To receive a 23.75 meant that the gymnast received a perfect 12 on one routine and an 11.75 on another routine. The following gymnasts scored 23.75s:

GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Dominique
Follacci
France12.0Rings
Pietro
Bianchi
Italy12.0Rings
Antoine
Costa
France12.0Rings
Dominique
Follacci
France12.0Parallel
Bars
Marco
Torrès
France12.0High
Bar

Source: Olympische Turnkunst, August 1967


1913 International Tournament

Perfect Totals

GymnastCountry/TeamTotalEvent
Josef
Czada
Czech
Sokols
20.00High Bar
Marco
Torrès
France20.00High Bar
Giorgio
Zampori
Italy30.00Preliminary Calisthenics
Giorgio
Zampori
Italy20.00Parallel Bars
Guido
Boni
Italy20.00Parallel Bars
Vinko
Rabič
Slovenian
Sokols
30.00Preliminary Calisthenics
In 1913, the scoring system changed, dropping the additional points for the mounts and dismounts. As a result, the perfect score was a 10.0 on each apparatus. As for the preliminary calisthenics, there were three exercises, making 30 the maximum number of points.

Additional Perfect Scores

  • Given that Josef Sýkora of the Czech Sokols scored 29.50 during the preliminary calisthenics, he received at least one perfect 10.
  • Given that Marco Torrès of France scored 29.75, he received two perfect 10s during the preliminary calisthenics. 
GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Josef
Sýkora
Czech
Sokols
10.0Prelim.
Calisthenics
Marco
Torrès
France10.0
10.0
Prelim.
Calisthenics

The following gymnasts scored a 19.75 on an apparatus routine, which meant that they scored one 10.0 on either their compulsory or optional routines:

GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Laurent
Grech
France10.0Rings
Marco
Torrès
France10.0Rings
Giorgio
Zampori
Italy10.0Pommel
Horse
Giorgio
Zampori
Italy10.0Rings
Guido
Boni
Italy10.0Rings

Source: Sokol, 1913, 12


1922 World Championships

Perfect Totals

GymnastCountry/TeamTotalEvent
Stanislav
Jindruch
Czechoslovakia30.00Preliminary
Calisthenics
Leon
Štukelj
Yugoslavia20.00Parallel Bars
In 1922, there were three preliminary calisthenic exercises, making a perfect total of 30.0 for that event. The apparatus events were judged out of 10 points, with one compulsory and one optional routine, making 20.0 the maximum for each apparatus.

Additional Perfect Scores

Mathematically speaking, because Josef Malý, František Vaněček, and Peter Šumi scored 29.50s in the preliminary calisthenics, they received at least one 10.0.

And because Slavko Hlastan scored a 29.75 in the preliminary calisthenics, he received two 10.0s.

GymnastCountryScoreEvent
Slavko
Hlastan
Yugoslavia10.0
10.0
Prelim.
Calisthenics
Josef
Malý
Czechoslovakia10.0Prelim.
Calisthenics
František
Vaněček
Czechoslovakia10.0Prelim.
Calisthenics
Peter
Šumi
Yugoslavia10.0Prelim.
Calisthenics

To receive a 19.75 meant that the gymnast received a perfect 10 on one routine and a 9.75 on another routine. The following gymnasts scored 19.75s on an event:

GymnastCountryScoreEvent
Leon
Štukelj
Yugoslavia10.0High
Bar
Peter
Šumi
Yugoslavia10.0High
Bar
Dr. Miroslav
Klinger
Czechoslovakia10.0High
Bar
Leon
Štukelj
Yugoslavia10.0Rings
Peter
Šumi
Yugoslavia10.0Rings
Miroslav
Karásek
Czechoslovakia10.0Rings
Josef
Malý
Czechoslovakia10.0Rings

Source: Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj


1924 Olympics

Perfect Scores

GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Albert
Séguin
France10.0Side Horse Vault,
Compulsory
Giorgio
Zampori
Italy11.0Parallel Bars,
Optionals
Leon
Štukelj
Yugoslavia11.0Rings,
Optionals
Ladislav
Vácha
Czechoslovakia11.0Rings,
Optionals
In 1924, some routines were out of a 10.0 while others were out of a 10 with 0.5 for the mount and another 0.5 for the dismount, making the perfect score an 11.0.

Source: Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj
More: 1924: The First Perfect 10 in Gymnastics at the Olympic Games


1926 International Tournament

Perfect Score

GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Leon ŠtukeljYugoslavia16.0Rings
Optionals
There were three judges. Each judge gave the score a score from 0 to 10. The sum of the scores was divided by two, so a perfect score for the routine portion was 15. On top of that, there was an additional point for the approach and departure from the equipment, making a 16.0 the perfect score.

Note: Leon Štukelj received three 10s for his optional routine on high bar. However, he received only 0.90 for his mount and dismount. So, his final score of 15.90 was not quite perfect.

Source: Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj


1928 Olympics

Perfect Score

GymnastCountry/TeamScoreEvent
Eugen
Mack
Switzerland30.0Vault,
Compulsories
Eugen Mack received three 10s for his compulsory vault.

The compulsory and optional vaults were averaged together. Eugen Mack scored 27.50 for his optional vault, resulting in an average of 28.75 points (and a gold medal).

Source: Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj
More: 1928: A Costly Math Error during the Men’s Competition at the Amsterdam Olympics


1930: World Championships

Perfect Totals

GymnastTeam/CountryTotalEvent
István
Pelle
Hungary32.0High Bar
Emanuel
Löffler
Czechoslovakia32.0Rings
As was the case in 1926, there were three judges. Each judge gave the score a score from 0 to 10. The sum of the scores was divided by two, so a perfect score for the routine portion was 15. On top of that, there was an additional point for the approach and departure from the equipment, making a 16.0 the perfect score.

Additional Perfect Scores

GymnastTeam/CountryTotalEvent
Nikolaus
Péter
Hungary16.0High Bar,
Optionals
Leon
Štukelj
Yugoslavia16.0High Bar,
Optionals
Josip
Primožič
Yugoslavia16.0Pommel Horse,
Compulsories

Source: Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj


1934 World Championships

Perfect Total

GymnastTeam/CountryTotalEvent
Eugen
Mack
Switzerland20.0Vault
Mack scored a perfect 10.0 on both his compulsory and optional vaults.

Source: Olympische Turnkunst, February 1968; Világ- és Európa-bajnokságok, 1893-1973; Der Bund, June 3, 1934

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


1938 World Championships

Perfect Score

GymnastTeam/CountryScoreEvent
Eugen
Mack
Switzerland10.0Vault,
Optionals

Source: Neue Zürcher Nachrichten, July 2, 1938; Sokol (Czechoslovakia), 1938, 6-8
More: 1938: Another Perfect 10 and Shot Put Struggles during the Men’s Competition at the World Championships


1950 World Championships

Perfect Score

GymnastTeam/CountryScoreEvent
Hans
Eugster
Switzerland10.0Parallel Bars,
Compulsories

Source: Gazette de Lausanne, July 17, 1950.
More: 1950: A Perfect 10 in the Men’s Competition at the World Championships


1967 European Championships

Perfect Scores

GymnastTeam/CountryScoreEvent
Věra
Čáslavská
Czechoslovakia10.0Beam,
Event Finals
Věra
Čáslavská
Czechoslovakia10.0Floor,
Event Finals
Reminder: The European Championships were under the direct purview of the FIG at the time.

Source: U.S. Gymnast, August 1967
More: 1967: Čáslavská’s 10.0s at the Women’s European Championships


Note

There were more perfect scores at national and smaller international competitions. For example, between 1964 and 1968, there was a flurry of 10.0s at women’s national competitions, including:

  • Grossfeld — Floor — 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials
  • Čáslavská – Floor – 1966 Czechoslovak Nationals
  • Zuchold – Floor – 1968 East German Championships
  • Zuchold – Vault – 1968 East German Championships
  • Janz – Vault – 1968 East German Championships
  • Petrik – Vault – 1968 Soviet Nationals
  • Petrik – Floor – 1968 Soviet Nationals
  • Kuchinskaya – Bars – 1968 Soviet Nationals
  • Voronina – Floor – 1968 USSR Cup

Another example: During the qualification process for the 1976 Olympics, Comăneci scored 10.0s on six of her eight routines in Ontario, Canada (Source: De Volkskrant, February 28, 1976).

Note #2

The 10.0 system had been in question long before the 1976 Olympics. You can read a few articles here:

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