The results of the gymnastics competition at the 1963 University Games in Porto Alegre, Brazil, were quite unexpected.
At the 1962 World Championships, Yuri Titov and Larisa Latynina won the all-around titles. One year later, at the Universiade in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Titov finished off the podium, and the Japanese men swept the top three places in the all-around. On the women’s side, Latynina, who had won every World and Olympic all-around title since 1956, had to share first place with Hungary’s Katalin Makray. On top of that, Hungary beat the Soviet Union, which had won team gold at every World Championships or Olympic Games since 1952.
Granted, there were some fundamental differences between the University Games and other major competitions. No compulsory routines, for example. Only four gymnasts per team. No event finals. Nevertheless, the results were surprising.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to track down information about this competition. So, this post relies on the book Unversíade 1963: História e resultados dos Jogos Mundiais Universitários de Porto Alegre by Rodrigo Koch.
|2. Soviet Union||173.05|
|3. West Germany||163.60|
|2. Soviet Union||116.25|
Here’s what Koch includes in his book:
Katalin Makray and coach Valerie Nagy Herpich met the Folha Esportiva reporter the day after the competitions. In the September 4, 1963 edition, Makray revealed that she was studying Physical Education and had been practicing gymnastics since she was ten years old. Herpich — who was also one of the judges of the tournament — talked about the judging: “The committee of judges was quite complex. The Cuban judge handing out points easily, me trying to ration them, and the Brazilian and Russian were in the middle ground; but nothing exceptional happened.”
[My view: The quote seems to suggest that some questioned the results. How could Hungary beat the Soviet Union? And how could Makray tie with Latynina? According to Valerie Nagy, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary that happened among the judges.]
Invited by the Gymnastics Society of Novo Hamburgo, a good part of the gymnasts who competed in the U-63 did a show in Vale dos Sinos. The shoe capital, besides welcoming the delegations, presented them with several pairs of shoes. The Santa Rosa Stadium, still owned by the former Floriano, was packed for the show of gymnasts Yuri Titov, Katalin Makray, Kornélia Csapó, Åge Storhaus, Monique Baelden, Kurt Friedrich, and Yolanda William.
Days later, the head of the Japanese delegation, Mr. Kitazawa, also spoke about the competitions and pointed out that “the greatest success obtained at Universiade ’63 by Japan was undoubtedly in gymnastics, where the country won all three medals [in the all-around], supplanting the excellent team of the Soviet Union.”Katalin Makray e a técnica Valerie Nagy Harpid atenderam a reportagem da Folha Esportiva no dia seguinte das competições. Na edição de 4 se setembro de 1963, Makray revelou que estava cursando Educação Física e desde os dez anos de idades praticava ginástica. Já Harpid — que foi também uma das juízas do torneio — falou sobre a questão da arbitragem: “A comissão de juízes era bastante complexa. A juíza cubana distribuindo pontos facilmente, eu procurando racioná-los, e a brasileira e a russa ficaram no meio-termo; mas nada de excepcional se passou.”
Convidados pela Sociedade Ginástica de Novo Hamburgo, boa parte dos ginastas que competiu na U-63 fez uma apresentação de demonstração no Vale dos Sinos. A capital do calçado, além de recepcionar as delegações, presenteou as mesmas com diversos pares de sapatos. As dependências do Estádio Santa Rosa, ainda de propriedade do extinto Floriano, estiveram lotadas para a apresentação dos ginastas Yuri Titov, Katalin Makray, Kornélia Csapó, Age Atorhaus, Monique Baelden, Kurt Friedrich e Yolanda William.
Dias depois, o chefe da delegação japonesa, Sr. Kitazawa, também se pronunciou sobre as competições e destacou que “o maior êxito obtido na Universíade 63 pelo Japão foi, sem dúvida, na ginástica, onde o país conquistou as três medalhas, suplantando a excelente equipe da União Soviética.”
Note: If I ever come across more newspaper articles about the competition, I will update this page.
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