1967 MAG Universiade

1967: The Men’s Competition at the University Games

At the 1967 University Games, the Japanese men were able to repeat the results of the 1963 University Games, where they won every medal possible — the team gold medal and all three all-around medals. But there was one difference in 1967: the Eastern bloc countries boycotted the 1967 University Games in support of North Korea:

The Tokyo 1967 Summer Universiade certainly had its challenges even before the competition started, with the Eastern bloc nations such as the Soviet Union, East Germany, North Korea, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, and Cuba boycotting the Games because of the political dynamics at the time. The first to boycott was North Korea, who demanded that it be referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea during the Universiade, a request that was denied. The countries from the East then rallied around their communist ally and also pulled out.

Source:  Spotlight: Remembering the Tokyo 1967 Summer Universiade

Reminder: At other competitions, there was controversy over referring to the German Democratic Republic as East Germany.

In other words, Japan’s biggest opponent, the Soviet Union, was not present. Nevertheless, the competition was important partly because it gave the world a glimpse at Kato Sawao, who would go on to win the all-around at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics.

What follows are the results and a translation of Japan’s Official Report on the competition.



1. JPN28.7028.9029.0528.8529.329.1173.90
2. USA28.0027.8028.5027.9528.328.75169.30
3. KOR26.8527.9028.3027.0528.327.95166.35
4. FIN27.1028.2527.9527.4527.8527.3165.90
5. FRG27.1526.6527.8527.2527.927.1163.90
6. SWE27.0024.7027.8528.0527.2528.2163.05
7. ITA26.2023.4526.3526.0526.8525.35154.25
8. FRA24.4525.0025.7025.9526.5523.9151.55

The All-Around

1. Nakayama
2. Kato
3. Kato
4. Miki
5. Sakamoto
6. Nissinen
7. Allen
8. Freudenstein
9. Jönsson
10T. Aliesch
10T. Lascari
12. Kerzmann
13. Gang (Kang)
14. Gim (Kim)
15. Illi
16. Booth
17. Johannesson
18. Gim (Kim)
19. Sappinen
20. Höpfner
21. Laiho
22. Höpfner
23. Savolainen
24. I (Lee)
25. Rosengren
26. Leguet
27. Adler
28. Siligo
29. Pinna
30. Colombera
31. Batini
32. Dampenon
33. Bourgeois
34. Comte
35. Danielson
*Note: One section of Japan’s Official Report lists Lascari’s all-around total as 55.35. Another section of the results lists Lascari’s all-around total as 55.40. Both sections list Aliesch’s all-around total as 55.35, but in one section he is listed as the 10th-place finisher while in another he is listed as a 11th-place finisher.

The Schedule

September 1, 1967


Note: The mixed group (MIX) had gymnasts from Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and Great Britain.

September 3, 1967

Note: There is an error in the schedule printed in Japan’s Official Report. It has France competing simultaneously on vault and parallel bars at 18:00, and it has Finland competing on vault and high bar simultaneously at 17:45. I have corrected the schedule above.

Competition Commentary

From Japan’s Official Report:

The men’s competition was held on September 1 and 3, according to the above schedule. Since eight countries participated as a team and five athletes participated as individuals, the men’s competition was divided into three groups, A, B, and C, and was held under the international format, with the Japanese team competing in Group A along with the Swedish and American teams.

On September 1, the first day of the men’s competition, the Japanese team started the competition on pommel horse. Unlike the women’s team, the Japanese team included top-level performers in Japan, and with only a minor error by Miki, Kato Takeshi, Nakayama, and Kato Sawao all gave good and solid performances to get off to a good start. On pommel horse, which is prone to errors due to a slight lapse of focus, they finished pommel horse smoothly, and on rings, they gradually increased their scores, starting with Miki, and Nakayama at the end with the highest score of 9.80. The team score was 29.05 points, surpassing the goal of 29 points in all disciplines, which had been a challenge before the competition. In the last event of the first day of the competition, floor exercise, the promising Kato Sawao unfortunately had an error, but everyone worked well together and scored a total of 86.65 points in the first three events, 2.35 points ahead of the second-place American team. In the individual all-around, Nakayama came out on top with a score of 29.20, followed by Kato Takeshi and Kato Sawao in second place with the same score of 28.65 points.

After the Group A competition, the Group B and C competitions were held, and the difference in team scores between Finland and Korea was only 0.25, so there was much interest in the battle for third place in the latter three team events. In the individual competition, Laiho (Finland) and Kim (Korea), as expected, gave excellent performances on pommel horse with a high difficulty level, scoring the highest of 9.75 points. Also, Freudenstein’s (USA) tumbling on floor exercise and Sakamoto’s (USA) and Nissinen’s (Finland) good performances on rings were remarkable, and made the audience excited.

On September 3, the second day of competition, the Japanese team started the competition on parallel bars after the B and C groups’ performances. Kato Takeshi, the top competitor, showed a wonderful performance, landing perfectly on the backward somersault with a full twist at the finish, scoring a high 9.70. The team was less tense, and the stiffness from the first day was completely gone. Kato Sawao, the second performer, scored 9.70, then Miki, the third performer, showed a great performance, scoring 9.80, and Nakayama, the last performer, scored 9.80. The team score of 29.30 was high and a good start to the competition. In the next event, horizontal bar, the team also gave a very impressive performance with a score of 29.10. During the final event, vault, Miki made a mistake on his landing, but the team was overwhelmingly strong, scoring 28.85 points to win their third-straight Universiade team championship. Meanwhile, in the individual all-around championships, Nakayama extended his lead from the first day to win with a high score of 58.30, his second consecutive individual victory, following Budapest. In the battle for second place, both Katos were tied with a score of 48.05 until the last vault, which excited the audience, but Kato Takeshi won second place with the highest score of 9.70, with a wonderful Yamashita and a perfect landing in the last performance on vault. Miki, who was led by Sakamoto (USA) on the first day, showed great performance on his specialty, parallel bars and horizontal bar, and reversed his position to finish in 4th place, which was very well deserved. The battle for third place in the team competition between Finland and the Korean team in Group B was interesting and exciting, but the Korean team, which had done well on horizontal bar, was crowned with the bronze medal, finishing in third place.

男子競技は,前記の競技時程にしたがい, 9月1日と9月3日の2日間に競技が行なわれた。男子は団体として8ヵ国, 個人として5名の選手が参加したので, A・B・Cの3グループに分け, インターナショナル方式で行なわれ, 日本チームはAグループで, スウェーデン, アメリカチームと一緒に競技を行なった。

9月1日, 男子競技第1日, 日本チームは鞍馬から競技に入ったが, 女子チームと異なり、日本のトップレベルにある選手を含むだけに、三木選手が小過失を見せただけで, 加藤武, 中山,加藤沢選手と,堅実な良い演技で,好調なすべり出しを見せた。 僅かな心のすきから, 過失の起きやすい鞍馬の演技を順調に終え、波にのったつり輪の演技は,トップの三木選手から,次第に得点を高め, 最後の中山選手が9.80の最高得点で演技を終わり,チーム得点 29.05点と,競技会前に課題としていた, 全種目29点台という目標を突破してくれた。 競技第1日目の最後の演技であるゆか運動では, 期待の加藤沢選手に過失がでたのは残念なとりこぼしであったが,全員よく協力して健闘し, 前半3種目のチーム得点はトータルで 86.65点をとり, 2位アメリカチームに2.35点の差をつけ, また個人総合でも,中山選手が 29.20 と好調にトップに立ち,加藤武,加藤沢の両選手が28.65点の同点数で2位につづいた。

Aグループの競技が終わり, つづいてB・Cのグループの競技が行なわれたが、フィンランドと韓国のチーム得点の差が0.25と小差で後半3種目の団体競技での, 3位争いに興味がもたれ, 個人では, ライホー選手 (フィンランド)とキム選手(韓国)が,鞍馬の競技で予想どおり高難度のすばらしい演技を見せて, 9.75点の最高点をマークし、 またフロイデンスタイン選手 (米国) のゆか運動でのタンブリングや、 サカモト選手 (米国), ニシネン選手 (フィンランド) の, つり輪における好演技が目立ち、会場をわかせた。

9月3日, 競技第2日目, 日本チームはB・Cグループの演技のあと、平行棒の競技から入った。トップの加藤武選手がすばらしい演技を見せ, フィニッシュの後方宙返り1回ひねりでもピタリと着地をきめて,いきなり 9.70 の高得点を出し,チームの緊張もほぐれ、初日にあった堅さもすっかりとれて、つづく加藤沢選手も9.70と続き, 3番手の三木選手が絶好調の演技で 9.80, 最後の中山選手も 9.80 と, チーム得点29.30 の高得点で、 良いスタートをきった。つづく鉄棒にも, 見ごたえのある演技で29.10最後の跳馬は、 三木選手が着地に失敗をしたが、チーム得点28.85 点と、 圧倒的な強さを発揮して, ユニバーシアード団体3連勝を飾ることができた。 一方, 個人総合選手権は, 中山選手が初日のリードをのばし, 58.30 の高得点で優勝,ブダペスト大会につづいて, 個人2連勝の偉業をなしとげた。 2位争いは最後の跳馬まで48.05の同点で,両加藤がならび, 会場をわかせたが,加藤武選手が跳馬の最後の演技に, すばらしい山下とびで着地もきめ, 9.70の最高点を出して2位を獲得した。 また初日サカモト選手(米国)にリードされていた三木選手は、得意の平行棒,鉄棒に絶好調の演技を見せ, 逆転して4位に入賞したことは立派であった。 その他Bグループのフィンランドと韓国チームとの団体3位争いが興味深く会場をわかせたが, 鉄棒で健闘した韓国チームに凱歌があがり3位をしめて, 銅メダルを獲得した。

According to Ron Barak, the U.S. team’s head coach, this was the strongest international performance by the U.S. men:

When you realize that only the top three of the four scores count on each event, Finland and South Korea really had strong teams enough so that we weren’t favorites over them in anyone’s eyes. It took a 9.40 team average on our part to beat them – probably the best international performance that United States gymnastics has ever made. Of the other teams there, the Swedes were particularly good, but they lacked a fourth man which made it impossible for them to really do well.

Modern Gymnast, Oct. 1967, emphasis in the original

Japan Looks Ahead

Japan’s Official Report, written by Fukai Ichizo, looked at the team’s weaknesses with an eye toward the future. The Japanese men’s team felt they needed to improve on pommel horse and vault in order to continue to be the best in the world, and it looked like the U.S. men were surpassing them in terms of tumbling on floor.

Although it was unfortunate that the strong gymnastics nations such as the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia did not participate in the 1967 Universiade in Tokyo due to the national name issue, the participation of 12 men’s and 5 women’s teams provided an atmosphere of international competition and excitement, and was a sufficient opportunity for the next generation of Japanese student gymnasts to test themselves. Gymnastics is not a sport in which gymnasts compete directly with their opponents, but rather a competition in which gymnasts compete for the ability to beautifully express the advanced skills they have acquired through daily devotion in any given situation, and in other words, it is a battle against themselves, including their daily training. In this sense, I am pleased to see that, despite the fact that the strong Soviet team did not participate in this year’s competition, the Japanese athletes did not think of it as a throwaway competition, but rather positively applied their best skills, succeeded, and won the competition with a high score.

The image of the Tokyo Olympics was so strong that it was easy to think that the Universiade was a quiet event, but from the current state of student sports around the world, it was not a quiet event at all, but rather a testament to the high level of Japanese students in gymnastics, and I felt proud of them. Especially, the excellent performances of the male athletes on the last day of the competition on the last three events (parallel bars, horizontal bar, and vault) were unquestionable victories, and I believe that the competition was as good as any international competitions. Even when we were informed of the non-participation of strong opponents such as the Soviet Union, our coaches’ policy remained the same: to win the competition with excellent performances, and to be satisfied with our own performance. For this reason, we have focused on efficient practice and teamwork with the belief that young athletes can fully demonstrate their abilities on the basis of team harmony. It is easy to think mainly of the ace, but if the team demonstrates sufficient ability on the basis of team harmony, and if the team score is high, then naturally one of them will win the individual overall championship. The results of the cooperation and daily training efforts of Coach Tagawa, Men’s Team Leader Watanabe, and Women’s Team Leader Chiba, have led to this glory, and I sincerely thank them for their hard work. As a host country of the competition, and the face of Japan’s gymnastics, the athletes had a great burden and a lot of hard work, but they were able to win three consecutive men’s team titles, four consecutive individual all-around titles, the first women’s team title, and the first women’s individual all-around title, and they met everyone’s expectations with their graceful and complete victory. I am happy to see that these victories were not the result of suffering training, but rather the result of harmony born from the enjoyable training camp where we had a lot of fun and laughter in spite of the rigorous training.

The competition ended with both the men’s and women’s teams winning, due in part to the absence of strong opponents, but in the women’s competition, the U.S. team did very well, and their quality tumbling and routines on floor exercise were excellent, and their physical strength as gymnasts and their willing attitude, which had not been seen before, as well as the seriousness of the coaches, showed that they will surely grow to be a strong opponent of Japan in the future.

In the men’s competition, the Japanese team, as good as they are, gave a full and enthusiastic performance, and the U.S., Korea, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and other countries had some difficulties in the all-around, but their individual skills were excellent, especially Laiho, Nissinen (Finland), Sakamoto, Allen, Freudenstein, and others gave good performances.

One of the challenges of Japanese gymnastics is to improve its technique on pommel horse, and at this year’s competition, Laiho and Kim (Korea) beat Japanese gymnasts with a high score of 9.75 to take the top position. We have been trying to win the men’s competition by solving the two challenges of pommel horse and vault, and we have succeeded in our efforts. However, in order to maintain Japan’s current position in the world of gymnastics, I realized that further efforts are needed to improve the quality of pommel horse technique and to solve the problem of stable performances.

Another challenge is the problem of originality in performance in general. The 1950 Japan-U.S. Games was the first international competition after the war, where Japan learned the speedy and dynamic tumbling that is practiced today for the first time. The creative combination of tumbling shown by the U.S. athletes at this year’s competition gave me a strong sense that they are ahead of us again, and this is something we should reflect on. It was in the car on the way back to Tokyo from Kyoto during the Japan-U.S. Games. While the Japanese athletes were making paper cranes, the Americans made some modifications to the paper cranes and made their wings move. I recall with deep emotion that we, who had only been thinking of making paper cranes, were taught by their attitude of thinking of ways to change things, and I hope that they will bring this attitude and way of thinking to their daily training, not only to imitate the gymnastic skills of foreign competitors, but to develop them into something original on this basis.

1967年ユニバーシアード東京大会の体操競技は,国名問題にからみ, ソ連, チェコなど体操強国の不参加は残念なことであったが, 男子12ヵ国, 女子5ヵ国の参加で,国際競技のふんいきや盛り上がりも出来て、次代をになう日本の学生代表選手とっては自己試錬の場として十分であったと思う。 体操競技は、直接相手と組んで技能を競うスポーツではなく, 日頃精進して体得した高度な技術を、如何なる場でもとりこぼしなく美しく表現する能力を競う、言葉をかえれば、日頃のトレーニングを含めて, 自分自身との闘いと考える、この意味から今回の大会に, 強敵ソ連チームが不参加という条件にもかかわらず, 日本選手が消極的な勝負を考えず,前向きに自己の持つ最高の技術にいどみ,立派に成功して高い得点で優勝したことに満足している。

東京オリンピックのイメージが、あまりにも強烈であったため、ユニバーシアードは淋しい大会であったと考えられやすいが, 世界の学生スポーツの現状からは、 決して淋しいものでなく、この程度のもので、むしろ体操については日本学生のレベルの高さを物語り、誇らしい気持であった。 特に男子選手が競技最終日の, 後半3種目 (平行棒 鉄棒、跳馬) に見せたすばらしい演技は, 文句のない完勝で, どんな国際競技会にも負けない, 内容のある立派な競技会であったと信じている。 ソ連など強敵の不参加という情報が入った時も、立派な演技で、自分自身満足した勝ち方をしようと, コーチ陣の方針はかわらず, このために,チームの和の上に、若い選手の力が十二分に発揮できその信念で、能率的な練習とチームワークに力を入れてきた。 ともすればエースを中心に考えやすいが,チームの和の上に十分に実力を発揮して、チームの得点が高い得点であれば, 自然に誰れかが個人総合優勝できると, この方針に, 田川コーチ,渡辺男子チームリーダー, 千葉女子チームリーダーが協力一致,日頃のトレ ニングに努力してくれた結果が、この栄光に結びついたもので,そのご苦労に心から感謝している。 “立派に勝つ” しかもホストの国であり、 体操日本の面目にかけてと、選手達にも大きな重荷と, 相当な苦労をかけたが, 男子団体3連勝,個人総合4連勝, 女子団体初優勝, 個人総合初優勝と, かがやかしい完全優勝で皆様のご期待点こたえることが出来た。 しかもその原因が、決して苦しい練習のたまものといった印象でなく, きびしさの中にも笑いのある楽しい合宿練習から生まれた, 和の勝利であったことに喜びを感じている。

競技の内容は、 強敵の不参加もあり、男女とも優勝で終わったが, 女子競技ではアメリカチームの健闘が目立ち, ゆか運動で見せた、 質の良いタンブリングや、 そのコンビネーションは優秀なもので、 体操選手としての体力もあり、今まで見られなかった意欲的な態度や, コーチ陣の真剣な姿は、将来日本の強敵として必ず成長してくることが予想された。

男子競技は,日本チームが実力どおり, 充実した意欲的な演技で、競技会をもりあげたが,アメリカ,韓国,フィンランド, スウェーデン,スイスなどオールランドに難点はあるが,個々の技術にはすばらしいものを持ち、特にライホー, ニシネン (フィンランド), サカモト, アレン, フロイデンスタインなどが好演技で会場をわかせた。

日本体操界の課題の一つは、 鞍馬における技術の向上であるが, 今回の競技会でも, ライホー, キム(韓国)の2選手が 9.75点の高得点で,日本選手を破り上位をしめた。 男子競技の勝利は,鞍馬, 跳馬の二つの課題を解決することによって, 獲得できると方針から, 今日まで努力して来たことが、一応成功しているのであるが,体操日本の現在の地位を確実に保持するには,鞍馬技術の質の向上と安定した演技という課題の解決のため、一層の研究努力が必要であることを痛感した。

いま一つの課題は、演技全般についての, 独創性の問題である。 昭和25年の日米対抗, 戦後初の国際競技であったが, 現在行なわれているスピード豊かな, ダイナミックなタンブリングを日本が学んだのは,このときである。 今回の大会で、アメリカ選手が見せたタンブリングの独創的なコンビネーションには、 またまた彼等に先を行かれた感が強く, 反省すべきことだと考えさせられた。 日米対抗の際, 京都から東京に帰る車中でのことである。 日本選手がオリヅルを作っていたところ, アメリカ選手がオリヅルに手を加え, 羽が動くようにして見せた。オリヅルを作ることしか考えなかった私達に、何か変化させる方法はないかと考える彼等の態度に、すっかり教えられたことを, 今しみじみと思い出すのであるが, 外国選手の体操技術を模倣するだけでなく,これを土台に独創的なものに発展させようとする, 態度や考え方を日頃のトレーニングの場に持ち込んでほしいものである。

Catching up with the Savolainens

Japan’s Official Report on the competition includes a few sidebars. One of them pertains to the Savolainen family.

Catching up: Heikki Savolainen was a Finnish gymnast who won a total of 9 Olympic medals between 1928 and 1952. His son, Timo, competed at the Universiade in 1967.

Keep up with his father

Mr. Savolainen in gymnastics

(August 25 / Daily)

…Heikki Savolainen of Finland is a famous gymnast who participated in five consecutive Olympic Games from Amsterdam to Helsinki. His son, Timo Savolainen, is also participating in this year’s games in the same gymnastics event. On the 24th, Timo visited Mr. Ten Kondo, the leader of the Japanese delegation. “I was told to meet Mr. Kondo when I go to Japan,” he said, and Mr. Kondo was surprised by the unexpected visitor.  “I’ve missed you so much. How is your father?” “Heikki-san is a benefactor of the Japanese gymnastics world. I was with him in Los Angeles, and when I went to Helsinki in 1951, he took good care of me by coaching me on the rules. I hope you will do your best to keep up with your father,” Kondo said as he shared some of his own stories.

(8月25日 ・ デイリー)
… フィンランドのヘイキ・サボライネンといえばアムステルダムからヘルシンキまでオリンピックに5回連続出場した体操の名選手。今度の大会にはそのむすこのチモ・サボライネン選手が同じ体操で参加している。 親子2代の体操選手というわけだが,チモ選手が24日, 日本選手団の近藤天団長を訪くれた。 「日本に行ったら近藤さんに会えといわれました」という突然の珍客に近藤さんはビックリ。「やあ、なつかしい。 おとうさんは元気ですか」と感激の対面。 「ヘイキさんは日本体操界の恩人です。 私はロサンゼルスのとき一緒でしたし, 1951年にヘルシンキに行ったときは規定問題をコーチしてくれるなど親身になって世話をしてくれました。 あなたもおとうさんに負けないようにがんばってください」と近藤さんはエピソードをまじえながら話し込んでいた。

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