1973 European Championships MAG

1973: Klimenko Wins the All-Around at the European Championships

At the 1971 European Championships, Viktor Klimenko won the all-around. Then, while warming up for the event finals on floor, he tore his Achilles tendon. He managed to recover in time to win gold on pommel horse, silver on vault, and a silver with the Soviet team in Munich. One year later, in 1973, Klimenko once again found himself on top of the all-around podium at the European Championships in Grenoble, France.

But it was his teammate Nikolai Andrianov who pushed the sport’s difficulty level forward by debuting new elements: a double pike on floor as well as a full-twisting double back off rings. (Reminder: Tsukahara had competed a full-twisting double back off high bar in 1972, and one year later, Andrianov was doing the same dismount off rings.)

Also of note: Bernd Effing performed an Arabian 1 ¾ on floor in Grenoble, helping to usher in decades of roll-out skills (and concussions). And Eberhard Gienger added his own spin to Tsukahara’s full-twisting double back off high bar by performing the twist on the first flip.

While the gymnastics was exciting at the men’s European Championships, the organization of the competition left much to be desired. For example, they played the wrong national anthem for Eberhard Gienger. It happened during a historic medal ceremony where Gienger from West Germany and Klaus Köste from East Germany stood side by side on the podium.

Here’s a bit more about the 1973 European Championships in Grenoble.

Eberhard Gienger (BR Deutschland) mit einem Skelett Eberhard Gienger BR Germany with a Skeleton

Note: I was looking for photos of the historic medal ceremony, but I couldn’t locate any. This is what I found instead.

Quick Links: All-Around | Event Finals

The All-Around

The Results – Top 15

1. Klimenko
2. Andrianov
3. Köste
4. Thüne
5. Marchenko
6. Szajna
7. Kubica
8T. Gienger
8T. Kubica
10. Grecu
11. Bretscher
12. Molnár
13. Effing
14. Mack
15. Netušil


Here’s how Sovietsky Sport, the main sports newspaper of the Soviet Union, described the all-around:

…After a short welcoming speech from Arthur Gander, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation from Switzerland, the judges took their places. Boris Shakhlin was evaluating the pommel horse performances, Valery Kerdemelidi was the judge for floor exercise, and the head coach of the USSR national team, Leonid Arkaev, evaluated the performance on parallel bars.

There were 54 athletes representing twenty countries. Our gymnasts started with floor exercise. All three performances were good. Klimenko scored 9.4, Andrianov, although his final tumbling run wasn’t perfect, scored 9.35, Marchenko got 9.25. Had Volodya not touched the carpet with his hands after his double salto, the score would have been higher. Köste and Thüne got 9.35 and 9.3 on parallel bars. Szajna’s score on rings was 9.25.

Surprises began after the second apparatus. Köste and Thüne scored 9.6 each on horizontal bar. Our scores on pommel horse were more modest: 9.4 for Klimenko, 9.3 for Andrianov and 9.2 for Marchenko. Nikolai’s dismount once again was lacking accuracy. Andrianov’s dismount let him down four times that evening. “This has never happened to me before,” the gymnast said later. No wonder, Andrianov’s current program is the most difficult one in Europe and, perhaps, in the world. It still needs polishing.

Rings allowed Klimenko and Andrianov to regain their leading positions. The judges, with the Japanese A. Kaneko, at its head strictly judged the vaults of the European gymnastics leaders. The silver medalist of the Munich Olympics Klimenko got no more than 9.2 points for his vault with a 360-degree turn or, as they call it a “screw.” He didn’t make it to the final. At the end of the evening, the Olympic champion on vault, Köste, scored only 9.1 points and did not make it to the top six either. Before the fifth apparatus, the gaps between the leaders from the national USSR and GDR teams were again very small: Klimenko’s score was 37.45 while Köste’s – 37.4, Andrianov and Thüne had 37.35 each.

The all-around requires great efforts from gymnasts! Just as he was preparing to perform on horizontal bar, Klimenko’s leg cramped. Only with the help of a highly experienced massage therapist V. Schuster was it possible to eliminate this serious obstacle. Szajna was so tired that his pommel horse performance at the end of the evening scored only 8.8 points.

In the last third of the all-around, which included parallel bars and horizontal bar, all three Soviet athletes were triumphant. Andrianov received the highest score of the evening of 9.7 points for his fantastic routine on horizontal bar, completed by an original dismount with a double back salto and a 360-degree turn.

Klimenko and Andrianov won the highest awards they were supposed to get. Marchenko, having beaten half a dozen rivals, won fifth place, only 0.15 points separated him from the bronze medal.

“At first I was very nervous,” Volodya said on our way to the hotel from the Sports Palace. “The hall is so huge, and I felt so small.”

“Marchenko has made significant progress over the past few months,” L. Arkaev said. “He coped with heavy pressure and work load at international competitions in Riga and Leningrad and at the first stage of the National Cup in Chelyabinsk.”

Sovetsky Sport, 111, May 15, 1973

…После короткого приветственного слова президента Международной федерации гимнастики швейцарца Артура Гандера заняли свои места судейские бригады, Борис Шахлин сел в кресло арбитра на коне, Валерий Кердемелиди судил вольные упражнения, старший тренер сборной СССР Леонид Аркаев оценивал гимнастов на брусьях.
Выступали 54 спортсмена, представляющие два десятка стран. Наши начали с вольных упражнений. Все трое неплохо показали себя на ковре: Клименко — 9,4, Андрианов, хотя и не попал в «доскок»,— 9,35, Марченко — 9,25. Не коснись Володя руками ковра после двойного сальто, оценка была бы выше. Кёсте и Тюне на брусьях имели 9,35 и 9,3. Шайна на кольцах — 9,25.
Сюрпризы начались после второго снаряда. Кёсте и Тюне на перекладине получили по 9,6. У наших на коне оценки скромнее: Клименко — 9,4, Андрианов — 9,3, Марченко — 9,2. Николай опять нечетко исполнил соскок. Четыре раза в этот вечер Андрианова подводила концовка. «Такого со мной не бывало», — заметил позже сам гимнаст. Ничего удивительного, у Андрианова сейчас самая сложная среди гимнастов Европы и, пожалуй, и мира программа, не все еще отшлифовано.
После колец Клименко и Андрианов возвратили себе позиции лидеров. Бригада под руководством японца А. Канеко строго отнеслась к лидерам европейской гимнастики во время выполнения прыжков. Серебряный призер мюнхенской Олимпиады Клименко удостоился за прыжок переворот с поворотом на 360 градусов или, как говорят, «винтом» всего 9,2 балла. И он не попал в финал. В конце вечера и олимпийский чемпион в прыжках Кёсте получил здесь 9,1 балла ин тоже не вошел в «шестерку». Перед пятым снарядом лидеров из сборных СССР и ГДР опять разделяли совсем небольшие расстояния: Клименко — 37,45, Кёсте — 37,4, Андрианов и Тюне — по 37,35.
Сколько все-таки сил требует от гимнастов многоборье! Перед выходом к перекладине у Клименко свело ногу. Лишь с помощью многоопытного массажиста В. Шустера удалось устранить возникшее серьезное препятствие. Шайна так устал, что в самом конце вечера оседлал коня и имел здесь оценку лишь 8,8.
Последнюю треть многоборья — брусья и перекладину все три советских спортсмена прошли триумфально. Андрианов за свою фантастическую комбинацию на
турнике, завершенную уникальным соскоком с двойным сальто назад и поворотом на 360 градусов, удостоился высшей оценки вечера — 9,7.
Клименко и Андрианов забрали «предназначавшиеся» им высшие награды. Марченко, обойдя полдюжины соперников, стал пятым, лишь на 0,15 балла недотянув до «бронзы».
«Вначале я сильно волновался, — рассказывал Володя, когда мы ехали из Дворца спорта в гостиницу. — Зал такой громадный, а я себе показался таким маленьким».
«Марченко добился значительного прогресса за последние несколько месяцев, — сказал Л. Аркаев. — Выдержал большие нагрузки на международных соревнованиях в Риге и Ленинграде и на первом этапе розыгрыша Кубка страны в Челябинске».

The Swiss felt that the judges were playing favorites by giving “celebrity tenths.”

The fact that the competition was rather lacking in atmosphere despite sporadic highlights was partly due to the judges, who lacked a uniform line. Celebrity tenths were distributed liberally, especially when the gymnasts were from the USSR or East Germany. These additions were by no means necessary because the gymnasts from the East clearly dominated the scene even without them.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 219, 14 May 1973

Daß der Wettkampf trotz sporadischen Höhepunkten recht stimmungslos verlief, ist zum Teil den Kampfrichtern zuzuschreiben, die eine einheitliche Linie vermissen ließen. Die Berühmtheitszehntel wurden freigiebig verteilt, besonders, wenn die Turner aus der UdSSR oder Ostdeutschland stammten. Diese Zugaben waren keineswegs nötig, denn die Turner aus dem Osten beherrschten auch ohne sie die Szene deutlich.

A bit more on Andrianov’s struggles.

Andrianov did not have his best day: all his routines had deductions for unusual uncertainties, for example, when he had to bend down and support himself on the floor on floor exercise after the first double pike performed by a gymnast. On pommel horse, after a brilliant performance, he failed the dismount, and on vault, he did not stick the handspring with 1 ½ turns. Even with the highest score of the whole competition on high bar (9.70), where he catapulted off the bar with the brilliantly controlled “Tsukahara,” he was not able to oust Klimenko from the top. Further world novelties were performed by Andrianov on rings with the stretched somersault to the front lever and the double somersault with two half turns [i.e. a half-in, half-out].

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 219, 14 May 1973

Andrianow hatte nicht seinen besten Tag: alle seine Uebungen wurden durch ungewohnte Unsicherheiten abgewertet, so, als er im Bodenturnen nach dem erstmals von einem Turner gezeigten Doppelsalto gebückt sich am Boden abstützen mußte. Am Pferd mißlang ihm nach einer brillanten Vorstellung der Abgang, und im Pferdsprung brachte er den Salto mit 1 ½  Drehung nicht zum stillen Stand. Selbst mit der Höchstnote des ganzen Wettkampfes am Reck (9,70), an dem er sich mit dem glänzend beherrschten «Tsukahara» von der Stange katapultierte, vermochte er Klimenko nicht mehr von der Spitze zu verdrängen. Weitere Weltneuheiten brachte Andrianow an den Ringen mit dem gestreckten Ueberschlag zur Waage vorlings und dem Doppelsalto mit zweimal einer halben Schraube. 

Note: Just weeks prior, Andrianov had performed the double pike on floor at the Riga International.

Meanwhile, the Swiss felt that Klimenko was elegant.

Klimenko’s gymnastics was a little less spectacular, but all performances bore the stamp of the highest elegance and security. 

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 219, 14 May 1973

Klimenko turnte etwas weniger spektakulär, doch alle Darbietungen trugen den Stempel höchster Eleganz und Sicherheit.

A few quotes from judges and members of the FIG:

Ivan Ivančević from Yugoslavia, President of the Technical Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation:

“After the Olympics, the gymnastics in certain European countries took a step forward. The gold medals, which went to the young and little known before athletes such as Magyar from Hungary and Gienger from Germany, prove this point. However, Soviet gymnasts remain the best. Klimenko and Andrianov demonstrated the most advanced gymnastics of the highest world class. Marchenko is a true talent. I am sure he will get a place on the USSR national team.”

Akimoto Kaneko from Japan, member of the FIG Technical Committee.

“Klimenko and Andrianov impressed me the most. Andrianov’s floor exercise was even better than what he showed in Munich. I still have before my eyes his great landing from the high bar. Marchenko is very promising; his parallel bars routine is very original. Over the year, European gymnastics has stepped forward. Along with the Soviet leaders, I would also distinguish Thüne, Gienger, and Szajna. Especially Thüne. I won’t make any predictions whether my compatriots will be able to perform at the World Championships in Varna next autumn as well as they did three years ago in Ljubljana.

Dmitry Iordanov from Bulgaria, judge of the international category.

“Andrianov has smitten me. In terms of complexity and original elements intensity, his program is now the first in the world. The only thing he has to do is to polish it. Klimenko knows how to get hold of himself at the right moment. Marchenko proved himself as a fighter, he did not give up after the first failures, he fought to the end both on the first day and on the second, when he stumbled out of the blue on parallel bars. In my opinion, European gymnastics made visible progress. Surely, the Japanese didn’t not waste their time either. Therefore, I’m looking forward to the 1974 World Cup!”

111, May 15, 1973

Иван Иванчевич (Югославия), президент технического комитета Международной федерации гимнастики.
— После Олимпиады гимнастика в ряде европейских стран сделала шаг вперед. Об этом свидетельствуют и золотые медали мало доселе известных молодых спортсменов, таких, как Мадьяр (Венгрия) и Гингер (ФРГ). Однако выше всех по-прежнему советские мастера. Клименко и Андрианов продемонстрировали самую современную гимнастику высшего мирового класса. Марченко — талант. Он, уверен, займет место в сборной СССР.
Акимото Канеко (Япония), член технического комитета ФИЖ.
— Самое лучшее впечатление на меня произвели Клименко и Андрианов. По сравнению с мюнхенской Олимпиадой Андрианов ещелучше выступил в вольных упражнениях. Не могу забыть его великолепный соскок с перекладины. Марченко весьма перспективен и имеет оригинальную программу на брусьях. Европейская гимнастика шагнула за год вперед. Наряду с советскими лидерами отметил бы Тюне, Гингера, Шайну. Особенно Тюне. Не возьмусь сейчас предсказать, удастся ли моим соотечественникам так же успешно выступить на чемпионате мира в Варне будущей осенью, как это они сделали три года назад в Любляне.
Дмитрий Иорданов (Болгария}, судья международной категории.
— Меня покорил Андрианов. По сложности, насыщенности оригинальными элементами его программа сейчас первая в мире. Надо только ее тщательно отшлифовать. Клименко импонирует тем, что умеет собраться в самый нужный момент. Марченко показал себя бойцом, не скис после первых неудач, сражался до конца и в первый день, и во второй, когда на брусьях споткнулся на «ровном месте». В европейской гимнастике, на мой взгляд, наметился очевидный прогресс. Правда, думаю, что и японцы время даром не теряют. Поэтому с огромным интересом жду чемпионата мира 1974 года.

Event Finals


Effing and his Arabian 1 3/4
1. Andrianov
2. Klimenko
3. Köste
4. Effing
5. Hristov
6. Oprescu

The general consensus: Andrianov deserved to win, and his double pike in event finals was excellent.

When looking back at the finals we must mention how sublime Andrianov went from 9.35 the first day to 9.50 the next, in floor exercise. The blond Russian gave his all with an almost perfect double piked back somersault and ended his repertoire with a double twisting back somersault that was equally as good.

Gymnast, Dec. 1973

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, a Swiss newspaper, echoed that sentiment:

There was nothing to object to Andrianov’s 9.50 p. With the amazing novelty, double back pike, and the further tumbling sequences with great height, he earned the gold medal.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Gegen die 9,50 P. Andrianows war nichts einzuwenden. Mit der verblüffenden Neuheit, Doppelsalto rückwärts gebückt, und den weiteren in großer Höhe gedrehten Sprungfolgen verdiente er die Goldmedaille.

A Swiss newspaper felt that Effing was scored too low.

Effing (FRG) held his own with a gymnastically excellent performance from which the spectacular Arabian roll-out stood out; 9.20 points were only a meager yield: with this misjudgement Effing was pushed out of third place.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Ausgezeichnet hielt sich Effing (BRD) mit einer gymnastisch vortrefflichen Vorführung aus der der spektakuläre Twist zum Abrollen herausragte; 9,20 P. waren nur eine magere Ausbeute: mit diesem Fehlurteil wurde Effing um den dritten Platz geprellt.

Pommel Horse

1. Magyar
2. Kubica
3. Klimenko
4. Andrianov
5. Thüne
6. Kubica

Pommel horse was spectacular, but the judging was particularly fraught.

On pommel horse, the enthusiastic spectators experienced artistic gymnastics in perfection, which even the tug-of-war of the judges could not diminish in its effect.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Am Pauschenpferd erlebten die begeisterten Zuschauer Kunstturnen in Vollendung, das selbst durch das Tauziehen der Kampfrichter in seiner Wirkung nicht geschmälert werden konnte.

Afterward, there was a call for splitting difficulty and execution judging.

In the final events, only judges who didn’t have athletes from their own countries competing in that event were called upon. This did not avoid, however, time consuming deliberations over points. The idea of William Duquet, who did an excellent job as photographer, of considering on one side difficulty and combinations and on the other execution sounds  feasible. This would be especially good for pommel horse where it is very difficult to evaluate the exact degree of difficulty as the work on this apparatus goes so fast.

Gymnast, Dec. 1973

Just as there was a sense that Doris Fuchs had changed uneven bars in 1966, there was a sense that Magyar had changed pommel horse in 1973.

This event was handily taken care of by the young Magyar. He also illustrated a new technique, the revelation of these championships. This Hungarian “Cerar” brought new life to pommel horse and once seen, everyone else looked old fashioned. The variation of his movements were simply amazing. The exercise seemed to entirely consist of work on one pommel and in support between the two.

Gymnast, Dec. 1973

Magyar reportedly had a total of seven C parts. (C was the highest level of difficulty.)

The winner was deservedly the 20-year-old Zoltán Magyar, who will not be easily surpassed in difficulty (9.55 p.). Seven C-parts could be counted: among others the walking from one horse end to the other in cross support over both pommels. The silver medal was awarded to Wilhelm Kubica, who still knows how to make profit from his old standard exercise. Klimenko came in third, with the double rear (kehr) in cross support being particularly eye-catching.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Sieger wurde verdientermaßen der 20jährige Zoltan Magyar, der in der Schwierigkeit nicht leicht zu übertreffen sein wird (9,55 P.). Sieben C-Teile konnten gezählt werden: unter anderem das Wandern von einem Pferdende zum andern im Querstütz über beide Pauschen. Die Silbermedaille erhielt Wilhelm Kubica, der aus seiner alten Standardübung immer noch Gewinn zu schlagen versteht Dritter wurde Klimenko, bei dem besonders die Kreiskehre zum Kreisen beider Beine im Querstütz in die Augen stach.


1. Klimenko
2T. Andrianov
2T. Grecu
4. Borș
5T. Thüne
5T. Spies

Gymnast was surprised that Grecu tied Andrianov.

We wondered how it was possible that Grecu (Romania) finished in the same place as Andrianov with what seemed to be a rather static and unflowing exercise.

Gymnast, Dec. 1973

But there were those who admired Grecu’s strength.

If you want to be a contender on rings today, you have to master the swing parts with outstretched arms. All six finalists demonstrated this in a textbook manner; Andrianov, who was the first gymnast to attempt the “Tsukahara” [i.e. full-twisting double back] on this apparatus, particularly clearly. He achieved 9.45 points, with which, however, he was not able to surpass the result from Klimenko’s all-around, which was the target. The latter gymnast performed less strikingly, but more confidently. On par with Andrianov was the Romanian Grecu, a real strength gymnast.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Wer heute im Ringturnen noch mitreden will, muß die Schwungteile mit gestreckten Armen beherrschen. Das demonstrierten alle sechs Finalisten schulbuchmäßig; Andrianow, der als erster Turner den «Tsukahara» an diesem Gerät wagte, besonders deutlich. Er erreichte 9,45 P., mit denen er aber das als Vorgabe angerechnete Ergebnis aus dem Mehrkampf Klimenkos nicht zu übertreffen vermochte. Dieser turnte weniger auffallend, aber sicherer. Gleichauf mit Andrianow placierte sich der Rumäne Grecu, ein ausgesprochener Kraftturner.

Note: The emphasis on strength would be a topic among Japanese gymnasts at the University Games later in the year.

The Romanian press highlighted the country’s progress in men’s gymnastics.

[…] DAN GRECU won the first medal in a men’s competition of such magnitude – “silver” on rings. Mihai Borș also performed remarkably well in this event, finishing fourth. We also highlight Nicolae Oprescu’s sixth place in the spectacular and difficult floor event. Finally, we highlight the tenth place obtained by Grecu in the all-around on Saturday night, a very valuable position, considering the strength of the competition.

Sportul, April 14, 1973

[…] DAN GRECU a cîştigat prima medalie intr-o confruntare masculină de o asemenea amploare — „argint” la inele. De altfel, la această probă, o comportare remarcabilă a avut-o şi Mihai Borş situat pe locul patru. De asemenea, subliniem locul şase realizat de Nicolae Oprescu în spectaculoasa şi dificila probă a solului. în fine, evidenţiem locul zece obţinut de Grecu la individual compus, în concursul de sîmbătă noaptea, poziţie foarte valoroasă, avînd în vedere tăria competiţiei. 


1. Andrianov
2. Szajna
3. Molnár
4. Kubica
5. Gienger
6. Miens

Most of the top gymnasts performed the same vaults, and the top two places were determined largely based on landings.

During the vault final, two different vaults were required of the gymnasts. Even now this discipline became more of a lottery, in which not always the most proficient won. Andrianov benefited from the misfortune of his biggest rival, Szajna. Both vaulted a handspring front as the first attempt (9.50 p.); Szajna needed two more steps than the Russian on his second vault (Yamashita with a full twist). The difference of one tenth of a point cost Szajna the victory. Third place went to Molnár (also with a handspring front and a full-twisting handspring).

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Im Pferdsprungfinal wurden von den Turnern zwei verschiedene Sprünge verlangt. Auch jetzt wurde diese Disziplin eher zu einer Lotterie, in der nicht immer der Tüchtigste gewann. Andrianow profitierte vom Mißgeschick seines größten Rivalen, Szajna. Beide sprangen im ersten Versuch den Doppelsalto (9,50 P.); im zweiten Sprung (Bücküberschlag mit ganzer Schraube) benötigte Szajna zwei Nachschritte mehr als der Russe. Die Differenz von einem Zehntelpunkt kostete Szajna den Sieg. Dritter wurde Molnar (ebenfalls mit Doppelsalto und Schraubenüberschlag).

Parallel Bars

1. Klimenko
2T. Andrianov
2T. Nissinen
4. Köste
5. Marchenko
6. Gienger

Here’s how the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung described the final on parallel bars:

Gienger (FRG) had to learn that strategy also plays an important role in gymnastics. After a promising performance in the all-around, he was once again doomed on parallel bars because of the “Diomidov”, which he had not mastered with confidence. When the Soviet Russian Marchenko also failed on the risky basket forward, the way was clear for Klimenko. With the tremendous basket to handstand with half turn, the “Diamidov,” and the twisting toss, he was again the best. Surprisingly strong was the Finn Nissinen, who was the first gymnast from the West to win a silver medal. He tied with Andrianov, whose brilliant front toss in the middle of the routine and the final double somersault stood out.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Daß auch im Turnen der Taktik eine wichtige Rolle zukommt, mußte Gienger (BRD) erfahren, dem nach einer erfolgverheißenden Vorgabe aus dem Mehrkampf einmal mehr im Barrenturnen der nicht sicher beherrschte «Diamidow» zum Verhängnis wurde. Als auch der Sowjetrusse Martschenko in der riskanten Felge vorwärts zum Durchgrätschen scheiterte, war der Weg für Klimenko frei. Mit der gewaltigen unteren Flugrolle mit halber Drehung, dem «Diamidow» und dem Schraubenüberschlag war er erneut der Beste. Ueberraschend stark war der Finne Nissinen, der als erster Turner aus dem Westen zu einer silbernen Auszeichnung kam. Er teilte sich mit Andrianow in den Rang, dessen glänzender Ueberschlag vorwärts mitten in der Uebung und der abschließende Doppelsalto herausragten. 

High Bar

1T. Gienger
1T. Köste
3. Thüne
4. Marchenko
5. Szajna
6. Andrianov

Gienger looked fantastic on high bar. Meanwhile, Andrianov came off the bar, taking him out of the running for a medal despite his 9.70 in qualifying.

The European Championships came to an unusual conclusion on horizontal bar. The West German Gienger put all his eggs in one basket in his special discipline. From the L-grip giant, he went into a full turn into the undergrip giant and completed the masterly routine with the laid-out full twist followed by a somersault (9.65 p.). The same score was given to the East German Köste, so both gymnasts took the first place. Marchenko saved the honor of the Soviet Russians with the bronze medal, while the favored Andrianov did not succeed once again: he was torn from the bar.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Mit dem Reckturnen fanden die Europameisterschaften einen ungewöhnlichen Abschluß. Der Westdeutsche Gienger setzte in seiner Spezialdisziplin alles auf eine Karte. Aus dem Ellriesen wechselte er mit einer ganzen Drehung in den Kammriesen und schloß das meisterliche Pensum mit dem Schraubenfleurier mit anschließendem Salto ab (9,65 P.). Die gleiche Note erhielt auch der Ostdeutsche Koste, so daß beide Turner den ersten Platz belegten. Martschenko rettete die Ehre der Sowjetrussen mit der bronzenen Auszeichnung, während der favorisierte Andrianow ein weiteres Mal nicht reüssierte: im Einbücken nach dem Stecher riß es ihn von der Stange.

Note: At the 1972 Olympics, Tsukahara competed a full-twisting double back dismount off high bar, but he did it with a half twist on the first flip and a half twist on the second. Months later at the European Championships, Gienger performed a full-twisting double back with a full twist on the first somersault.

East and West Germans shared a space on the podium, but they played the wrong national anthem for Gienger of West Germany.

 For the first time, a West German and an East German stood next to each other on the podium. The fact that the wrong national anthem was played first for Gienger was the last of the many dissonances at the 10th European Championships in Grenoble.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 220, May 14, 1973

Auf dem Siegespodest standen erstmals ein West- und ein Ostdeutscher nebeneinander. Daß für Gienger zuerst die falsche Nationalhymne intoniert wurde, war der letzte der vielen Mißtöne an den 10. Europameisterschaften in Grenoble. 

On the Disorganization

At the occasion of the 100nd [sic] anniversary of the French Gymnastics Federation, Grenoble—the Olympic City — was given the organization of the 10th European Men’s Championships. But whether the French organizers have gained the confidence of the FIG is quite another thing! Unbelievable, but even so unwarranted were all the improvisons made by the organizing committee from beginning to end.

The international press was negelcted almost totally. Also any information published after each round was generally incorrect and one just couldn’t count on them. Also, in the official program which one had to pay $1.25, the numbers of the competitors were one after the other uncorrectly printed and thus a nonspecialist had an impossible time identifying the gymnasts. Finally, in the city of Grenoble itself, a minimum of publicity was given and due to this poor advertisement the beautiful “Palais des Sports” that can hold minimum 7,000 people was only partially filled with as little as 2,000.

Gymnast, December 1973

And from Neue Zürcher Zeitung out of Switzerland:

The French Gymnastics Federation, in conjunction with the International Gymnastics Federation, worked enthusiastically to organize the competition, but as was soon to become clear, the efforts were not enough to cope with all the critical situations. For the organizers, the focus was on a rather bombastic ceremonial that severely tried the patience of the gymnasts and the spectators. The organizers seem to lack the experience for a speedy and correct handling of a major gymnastics event. The number of spectators was disappointing, but for the expert among the 3,000 visitors the performance offered some surprises; it showed how positively the Olympic Games of Munich could affect the gymnasts’ imagination. On the other hand, there were also many disappointments, numerous failures, even among the top gymnasts.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 219, 14 May 1973

Mit Begeisterung setzte sich der französische Turnverband in Verbindung mit dem internationalen Turnerbund für die Durchführung der Wettbewerbe ein, doch genügten, wie sich bald zeigen sollte, die Anstrengungen nicht, um alle kritischen Situationen meistern zu können. Im Mittelpunkt standen für die Organisatoren ein eher bombastisches Zeremoniell, das die Geduld der Turner und der Zuschauer arg strapazierte. Den Veranstaltern scheinen die Erfahrungen für eine speditive und korrekte Abwicklung eines turnerischen Großanlasses zu fehlen. Die Zuschauerkulisse war enttäuschend, doch den fachkundigen unter den 3000 Besuchern bot die Vorstellung einige Ueberraschungen; es zeigte sich, wie positiv sich die Olympischen Spiele von München auf die Phantasie der Turner auszuwirken vermochten. Anderseits gab es auch viele Enttäuschungen, zahlreiche Versager, selbst unter den Spitzenturnern.

As we’ll see, many had complaints about the disorganization during the 1973 WAG European Championships, as well.

More on 1973

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