Categories
1922 MAG World Championships

1922: The First World All-Around Champion in Men’s Gymnastics

Prior to 1922, the World Championships (originally called the International Tournament) were team-only events. But in Ljubljana, an individual all-around champion was finally named. Actually, there were co-champions: Šumi of Yugoslavia and Pecháček of Czechoslovakia.

Another major storyline: France almost missed the competition, arriving on the second day of the International Tournament.

Let’s dive into what happened…

Peter Šumi on parallel bars, Muzej novejše zgodovine Slovenije

Historical Context | Events & Rule Changes | Results | Competition Commentary | Appendix: All-Around Results – 11-30

Historical Context

The 1922 International Tournament was the first World Championships after World War I. Needless to say, the war impacted gymnastics training across Europe. Here’s a very quick summary of what happened with the competing countries during the war:

The Trigger for the War: On Sunday, June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Serb, assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. Ferdinand was the heir to the Habsburg thrones.

From there, World War I broke out. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire formed the Central Powers. Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States were the Principal Allies.

The Czechs: Before World War I, the Czechs were part of the Austro-Hungarian (i.e. Habsburg) Empire.

During World War I, strict limitations were placed on the press and on public gatherings in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the Czech lands, and Habsburg generals were suspicious that Czech and other Slavic citizens sympathized with the Slavic enemies, Serbia and Russia. 

At the end of World War I, Czechoslovakia was formed.

Note: In its recap of the 1922 International Tournament, the Sokol publication did not refer to its competitors as Czechoslovaks. Rather, it still used the term for the Czech gymnastics federation: Česká obec sokolská – Czech Sokol Community. 

Belgium: The German Empire besieged France by passing through Luxembourg and Belgium. Germany occupied the vast majority of Belgium, starting with an invasion on August 4, 1914. (A small area around Ypres remained under Belgian control.) During the war, the Belgian government sat at Le Havre, France.

German occupation officially ended with the armistice of November 1918.

France: As part of the Allied Powers, France was on the frontlines of World War I. Some historians break France into three territories during this time period: the territory occupied by German Empire, the front line, and behind-the-lines France.

Luxembourg: As mentioned above, Luxembourg was under full occupation by the German Empire from August 1914 until November 1918.

Slovenia: Before World War I, the Slovenian lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

During the war, one of the bloodiest battles took place on Slovenian territory (the Soča). 

After World War I, in February 1919, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, better known as the Kingdom of SHS, was recognized as a sovereign state by the United States. In June of the same year, Great Britain and France also recognized the sovereignty of the Kingdom of SHS.

Note: While Yugoslavia did not formally exist in 1922, the name was often used for the Kingdom of SHS. I will use Yugoslavia in this article.

Note #2: The 1922 gymnastics team was entirely Slovenian.

Economic Challenges: Many European countries were heavily in debt after World War I:

After World War I, all the European nations that had been allied with the United States owed substantial sums to America – sums much too large to be paid out of their shattered economies. That was one of the main reasons the Allies had insisted on demanding reparations from Germany and Austria after the war – to provide them with a way of repaying their own debts to the United States.

Brinkley, The Tocqueville Review, 30.2 (2009)

The Events

On August 11-12, 1922, the gymnasts gathered in Ljubljana to compete in the following events:

Compulsory Routines (10 points per routine):

  • Pommel Horse
  • Rings
  • Parallel Bars
  • High Bar

Optional Routines (1o points per routine):

  • Pommel Horse
  • Rings
  • Parallel Bars
  • High Bar

Track and Field: 

  • 100 m
    • 10 points: 12 seconds
  • High jump with a tremplin dur
    • 10 points: 1.65 m
  • Shot put (7.257 kg), alternating arms
    • 10 points for 9 m (average)

Other:

  • 50m freestyle swim
    • 10 points for 44 seconds

A Bit More about the Rules

The apparatus gymnastics followed this norm: on the pommel horse only swing with circles, scissors, and traveling; on the other apparatus, a combination of swing, strength, and holds, namely swing on high bar, a little more strength on parallel bars, and primarily strength on rings. — If a gymnast fell off the apparatus, he was allowed to repeat his exercise and only the second execution was counted.

Olympische Turnkunst, August 1967

Das Gerätturnen war auf folgende Norm abgestimmt: am Seitpferd ausschließlich Schwung mit Kreisen, Scheren und Wandern; an den andern Geräten eine Verbindung von Schwung, Kraft und Halten, und zwar am Reck vorwiegend Schwung, am Barren etwas mehr Kraftteile, an den Ringen vorwiegend Kraft. — Fiel ein Turner vom Gerät, so durfte er seine Übung wiederholen und nur die zweite Ausführung wurde gewertet.

Swimming?

Štukelj, a competitor at the 1922 International Tournament, wrote about the 1922 competition in his autobiography. According to him, the gymnasts swam in the Ljubljanica River next to the college swimming pool.

The gymnasts swam in groups of three:

The race is in groups of 3. The first three of ours had to return because the starter gave the wrong signal. When Brother Vaníček took over the start, the race went forward smoothly.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Závodí se po 3. První trojice našich musila se vrátiti, poněvadž startér dal špatně znamení. Když převzal startování br. Vaníček, šel závod hladce kupředu.

Some gymnasts opted not to swim:

Two competitors from the Belgian team did not swim, one from the Luxembourg team.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Z družstva belgického dva závodníci neplovali, z družstva lucemburského jeden.

Results

The Team Results

The Czechoslovak team won for the third-straight time.

1. TCH2. YUG3. FRA4. BEL5. LUX
Prelim.
Calisthenics
174.50174.75163.50165.25149.25
Behavior1.752.001.251.751.00
Total176.25176.75164.75167.00150.25
Parallel
Bars
107.25112.0092.0087.7584.25
Behavior2.002.001.002.002.00
Total109.25114.0093.0089.7586.25
High Bar112.25108.0099.2599.0080.25
Behavior2.002.002.002.001.25
Total114.25110.00101.25101.0081.50
Pommel
Horse
110.75109.5082.7587.5081.00
Behavior1.751.751.251.501.50
Total112.50111.25102.7589.0082.50
Rings117.00110.75101.00106.2578.50
Behavior2.001.751.752.001.00
Total119.00112.50102.75108.2579.50
High Jump27.0032.0021.0021.0015.00
Shot Put31.2529.0011.756.5017.50
100 m31.0020.0017.5024.0016.50
50 m
Swim
52.558.5040.0021.5030.75
Total773.00764.00636.00628.00559.75

There was a clear differentiation between the top two teams and the rest of the teams:

Until the last moment, it was not clear who would be in first — ours or the Yugoslavs — and who would be third — the Belgians or the French. They only won third place by swimming, as the Belgians lost two competitors. Thus, an honest and tough match ended victoriously, this time only between two Slavic tribes. When will the other Slavic tribes enter the international arena?

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Do posledního okamžiku nebylo jisto, kdo bude prvním, zda naši nebo Jihoslované a kdo třetí, zda Belgičané nebo Francouzi. Tito získali. třetí místo teprve plováním, poněvadž Belgičanům dva závodníci odpadli. Tak vítězně skončen poctivý a tuhý zápas, tentokráte již jen mezi dvěma kmeny slovanskými. Kdy i ostatní kmeny slovanské vstoupí na kolbiště mezinárodní?

The All-Around Results

For the first time, an all-around champion was named in 1922:

For the first time, an official ranking list was drawn up for the gymnasts, only as a general ranking for the 15 exercises, but not for the individual apparatus.

Zum ersten Male wurde auch für die Turner eine offizielle Rangliste aufgestellt, zwar nur als Generalklassemtn über die 15 Übungen, nicht aber für die einzelnen Geräte.

Olympische Turnkunst, August 1967

Note: In The Story Goes On: 125 Years of the FIG, the FIG has chosen to retroactively recognize all-around winners for the World Championships prior to 1922.

Prelim.
Exercises
Parallel
Bars
High
Bar
Pommel
Horse
RingsHigh
Jump
Shot
Put
100 mSwimTotal
1T. Šumi,
Peter
YUG29.5018.7519.7519.0019.757.006.005.5010.00135.25
1T. Pecháček,
František
TCH28.2518.0019.0018.5019.007.0010.008.007.50135.25
3. Derganc,
Stane
YUG29.2519.0019.2518.0017.255.0010.004.5010.00132.25
4. Klinger,
Miroslav
TCH29.0019.0019.7519.2519.505.004.505.0010.00131.00
5. Vidmar,
Stane
YUG29.2519.0019.0018.5018.255.005.004.0010.00128.00
6. Jindruch,
Stanislav
TCH30.0019.0018.5019.0019.503.004.003.009.50125.50
7. Malý,
Josef
TCH29.5016.5018.2517.5019.754.007.756.006.00125.25
8. Štukelj,
Leon
YUG27.7520.0019.7519.0019.755.000.003.509.50124.25
9. Karásek,
Miroslav
TCH28.2518.0019.2518.7519.754.001.254.5010.00123.75
10. Vaneček,
František
TCH29.5016.7517.5017.7519.504.003.754.509.50122.75
For the rest of the results, jump to the bottom of the page

Note: In his autobiography, Štukelj places Derganc in second, Klinger in third, etc. I have changed the ranking system to match the system used in the official reports for the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games.

According to Štukelj, only the first-place finisher received a gold medal:

As can be seen from the table of the final results and rankings of all the individuals, first place among the individuals with 135.25 points was taken by Peter Šumi and František Pecháček of the Czech Republic, ex aequo at that time, who were thus the winners of the all-around and the winners of this seventh competition of the International Gymnastics Federation.

Only the winner of the all-around was awarded a gold medal by the International Gymnastics Federation, otherwise no other.

Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj

Kot vidimo iz tabele o končnem uspehu in uvrstitvi vseh posameznikov, sta bila med posamezniki na prvem mestu s 135,25 točkami Peter Šumi in Čeh František Pechaček, tedaj ex aeguo in sta s tem postala zmagovalca v mnogoboju in zmagovalca tega sedmega tekmovanja Mednarodne telovadne zveze.

Le vsakokratnega zmagovalca v mnogoboju je nagrajevala Mednarodna telovadna zveza z zlato kolajno, sicer pa nobenega drugega.

The Perfect Scores

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

For more perfect scores, head over to this post.


Competition Commentary

The Judging Assignments

On Thursday, August 10 at 8 p.m., the judiciary met to discuss the competition. The chairman of the International Gymnastics Association, Mr. Cupérus, was unable to attend due to various obstacles. He sent a letter proposing Brother Jindra Vaníček, who was also elected unanimously, as chairman of the judiciary and competition leader. The French judges did not show up, their team appeared only on Friday, August 11 at noon.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Ve čtvrtek dne 10. srpna o 8.-hod. večerní sešel se soudcovský sbor ku poradě o závodu. Předseda Mezinárodního Svazu Tělocvičného p. Cupérus nemohli se pro různé překážky dostaviti. Zaslal list, v němž navrhl za předsedu sboru soudců a vůdce závodu bra. Jindru Vaníčka, jenž také jednomyslně byl zvolen. Francouzští soudci se nedostavili, družstvo jejich ohlášeno teprve na pátek dne 11. srpna v poledne. Rozhodnuto, že začne se, jak určeno, v pátek ráno o 8. hodině na cvičišti.

Preliminary Exercises: Athletes: Gailler (Belgium), Hentgès (Luxembourg), Müller (ČOS.), Smertnek (Yugolsavia), Wilmet (Belgium), Čobal (Yugloslavia), Substitutes: Kummer (Luxembourg), Havel (ČOS.)

Reminder: Each team could have two substitutes. Hence the distinction between athletes and substitutes.

Interplay and behavior: Dr. Vaníček.

Parallel Bars: Čobal, Kummer.

Horizontal Bar: Smertnik, Gailler.

Pommel Horse: Havel, Hentgès.

Rings: Wilmet, Müller.

High Jump: Čobal, Havel, Kummer.

Shot Put: Smertnik, Gailler, Hentgès.

Sprint: Wilmet, Müller, Kummer, Havel.

Starter: Dr. Vaníček

Swim: Smertnik, Kummer, Gailler, Havel, Hentgès, Müller.

Starter: Dr. Vaníček

Source: Sokol, 1922, 8-9


Commentary and Impressions

The Belgians

According to the Czechs, the Belgians and Luxembourgers weren’t spectacular, but some of them stood out.

The Belgians are also bravely holding on to their well-known black tight-fitting garments, but the influence of several years of decline during the war and the German occupation can still be seen. They have three good guys. Luxembourg’s seem to have a little hardy, pale skin and weaker construction; and with 2 competitors they are promising.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Belgičané ve svých známých černých přilehavých úborech drží se též statečně, jest viděti přece jen vliv několikaletého úpadku za války a za okupace německé. Tři borce mají dobré. Lucemburgové mají borce dle všeho málo otužilé, bledé pleti a slabší konstrukce; as 2 borci jsou nadějní.

Reminder: As noted above, Germany occupied both Belgium and Luxembourg during World War I.

The French

The Delay

An unexpected difficulty arose from the fact that the French team could only arrive in Ljubljana a day late. There was a comradely understanding for this excusable special case: the team was allowed to compete in the late afternoon of August 11th, and they in turn spontaneously gave up a seat on the judging panel, although one was held ready for them.

Olympische Turnkunst, August 1967

Eine unerwartete Schwierigkeit war dadurch entstanden, daß die französische Mannschaft erst mit einem Tag Verspätung in Ljubljana eintreffen konnte. Man hatte kameradschaftliches Verständnis für diesen entschuldbaren Sonderfall: es wurde der Mannschaft gestattet, am Spätnachmittag des 11. August anzutreten, und sie ihrerseits verzichtete spontan auf einen Sitz im Kampfgericht, trotzdem ihr ein solcher bereitgehalten war.

Štukelj thought that the French were old.

When I watched the French doing high bar, they seemed to me to be older gymnasts themselves, except for one whom I met two years later at the Olympic Games in Paris and then again at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928, that is Jean Gounot, a great gymnast.

Some of them had long mustaches, twisted upwards, which made them look particularly elderly.

[…]

They must have been the pre-World War II generation of gymnasts because apart from Gounot, none of them are to be found in the list of the French line-up two years later in Paris.

Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj

Ko sem gledal Francoze pri razgibavanju na drogu, so se mi zdeli, da so sami starejši telovadci, razen enega, s katerim sem se srečal dve leti kasneje na olimpijskih tekmah v Parizu in nato še enkrat na olimpijskih tekmah v Amsterdamu leta 1928, to je z Jeanom Gounotom, odličnim telovadcem.

Nekateri med njimi so imeli dolge brke, zasukane navzgor, kar jih je še posebej delalo starejše.

[…]

Bržkone so bili ti telovadci še generacija telovadcev izpred svetovne vojne, ker razen Gounota ne najdemo v seznamu francoske vrste dve leti kasneje v Parizu nobenega od teh.
The French Team, Muzej novejše zgodovine Slovenije

The Czechs

As you can see by the scores, the Czechs struggled on parallel bars.

Ours did not do well on the parallel bars at the beginning, but then they picked themselves up because they were losing by 4.75 points to the Yugoslavs.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Našim z počátku na bradlech se nedaří, pak ale se sbírají a tak, že ztrácejí proti Jihoslovanům 4.75 bodu.

The team had other problems, including a knee injury.

Our competitors are not doing well. Brother Jindruch drops out due to a knee injury during the fourth jump, gaining only 3 points.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Našim borcům nedaří se dobře. Br. Jindruch pro poranění na koleně odpadá již při čtvrtém skoku, získávaje jen 3 body.

And an injured palm.

Brother Vaněček, who underwent the competition even though he had an injured palm, pulled his palm under his bandage again, fortunately only at the end of the optional exercises. He finished perfectly.

Sokol, 1922, 8-9

Br. Vaněček, který podstoupil závod, ačkoliv měl poraněnou dlaň, strhl si pod obvazem dlaň znovu na štěstí teprve ku konci volné sestavy. Dokončil bezvadně.

The Yugoslavs

On the Team’s Second-Place Finish:

Dr. Murnik was very satisfied with our overall performance and promised me great success at the next Olympics when there will be no competition in athletics.

Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj

Dr. Murnik je bil z našim celotnim nastopom zelo zadovoljen, meni pa je obetal na bodočih olimpijskih igrah, ko ne bo tekmovanja tudi v atletiki, velik uspeh.

On Štukelj’s poor showing in athletics:

I practiced all athletics disciplines for the first time in Ljubljana in a joint training session because in Novo Mesto there were no proper conditions for such training.

Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj

Vse atletske discipline sem vadil prvič v Ljubljani pri skupni vadbi, ker v Novem Mestu za takšno vadbo ni bilo pravih pogojev.

On the importance of Šumi’s victory + a funny story about Fux (sometimes spelled Fukhs):

For Yugoslav gymnastics, this was the first great success of an individual, but for Slovene gymnastics, it can be said to be the second if we remember the All-Slavic Sokol competition in Prague in 1912, when Stane Vidmar and Karel Fux, members of the Metlika Sokol Club, came first and third respectively in the difficult competition.

I remember well the enthusiasm of the Novo Mesto Sokols at these two victories; the talk in the gym was all about this success, especially because Karel Fux was a member of a society that was affiliated with the Novo Mesto Sokol District.

I did not know Karel Fux personally and I never saw him working out, but our older gymnasts spoke a lot about him. He was said to be tall and heavy, so much so that he once bent a high bar while doing giant swings in the gym in Novo Mesto.

Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj

Za jugoslovansko telovadbo je bil to prvi veliki uspeh posameznika, za slovensko pa lahko rečemo že drugi, če se spomnimo vseslovanskega sokolskega tekmovanja v Pragi leta 1912, ko sta se v zahtevnem tekmovanju povzpela na prvo mesto Stane Vidmar, na tretje pa Karel Fux, član sokolskega društva v Metliki.

Dobro se spominjam navdušenja novomeških sokolov ob teh dveh zmagah; v telovadnici se je govorilo samo o tem uspehu, zlasti pa še zato, ker je bil Karel Fux član društva, ki je bilo včlanjeno v novomeško sokolsko župo.

Karla Fuxa nisem osebno poznal in ga tudi nisem nikoli videl telovaditi; mnogo pa So o njem govorili naši starejši telovadci. Bil je menda visoke postave in težak, tako da je nekoč celo pri veletočih v novomeški telovadnici ukrivil drog.
The Yugoslav team. First row from L to R: 1. Leon Štukelj (Sokol Novo mesto), 2. Peter Šumi (Ljub.Sokol), 3. dr. Viktor Murnik, vodnik vrste (Ljub.Sokol), 4. Stane Derganc (Sokol Lj.I.Tabor), 5. Vlado Simončič (Ljub.Sokol). Second row from L to R: 6. Stane Vidmar (Sokolj Lj.I.Tabor), 7. Miha Oswald (Ljub.Sokol), 8. Slavko Hlastan (Sokol Trbovlje), 9. Janez Porenta (Sokolj Lj.I.Tabor).

Appendix: The Rest of the Individual All-Around Results

Prelim
Exercises
Parallel
Bars
High
Bar
Pommel
Horse
RingsHigh
Jump
Shot
Put
100 m50 m
Swim
Total
11. Hlastan,
Slavko
YUG29.7516.2518.2517.7518.255.005.251.009.50121.00
12. Gounot,
Jean
FRA29.2516.2518.5018.0017.756.002.252.506.50117.00
13. Pannetier,
Alex
FRA18.5017.0017.5015.5016.507.000.004.509.50116.00
14. Simončič,
Vlado
YUG29.2519.0012.0017.2517.505.002.751.509.50113.75
15. Verboven,
Francois
BEL26.5013.7517.7516.0018.004.002.504.008.00110.50
16. Torrès,
Marco
FRA28.0016.0018.7515.0018.503.000.004.007.00110.25
17. Verboven,
Jean
BEL28.5015.7512.0015.0017.003.001.755.507.50106.00
18. De Winter,
Louis
BEL28.2514.0018.5014.7518.753.002.255.500.00105.00
19. Münhofen,
Emil
LUX28.0014.5016.0013.5013.255.0010.004.500.00104.75
20. Gibens,
Jean
BEL24.2516.2516.0017.5018.251.000.001.506.00100.75
21T. Verstraeten,
Gust.
BEL29.0015.2518.5010.7517.755.000.002.500.0098.75
21T. Marty,
Louis
FRA23.75172516.7514.7515.751.002.001.006.5098.75
23. Moser,
Jacques
FRA27.0014.0015.0014.0017.251.001.501.507.0098.25
24. Gyselinck,
Gust.
BEL28.7512.7516.2513.5016.505.000.005.000.0097.75
25. Roeser,
Nicolas
LUX23.5013.0016.0016.5013.253.003.504.500.0093.25
26. François,
Emil
LUX23.7513.008.5015.2514.753.000.002.0010.0090.25
27. Leroy,
Robert
LUX26.7513.7513.758.5014.252.002.001.507.0089.50
28. Zuang,
François
LUX22.0017.5011.7516.258.752.002.003.005.7589.00
29. Morin,
Robert
FRA27.0011.5012.755.5015.253.006.004.003.5088.50
30. Knepper,
Jos.
LUX25.2512.5014.2511.0014.250.000.001.008.0086.25

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.