1973 MAG Universiade

1973: The Men’s Competition at the University Games

Japan’s winning streak at the University Games ended in 1973. From 1961 until 1970, they won every all-around title in men’s gymnastics, and when team awards were added to the gymnastics competition in 1963, they won four consecutive Universiade team titles.

But in Moscow in 1973, the Soviet Union won the Universiade team title and swept the all-around podium. In fact, Japan went home without a single gold medal — not even in the event finals. (Event finals and the all-around final were new to the Universiade in 1973.) As you’ll see below, the Japanese delegation thought that there was some suspicious judging at play.

Setting aside the question of judging for a moment, there was a lot of exciting gymnastics in 1973.

Nishikii performed an Arabian 1¾ to a roll-out. (Effing had done one earlier in the year at the 1973 European Championships.)

Cuervo did his eponymous vault (a handspring with a ½ twist and a back tuck out.)

And Safronov (USSR) did a Kasamatsu on vault before Kasamatsu did it at the 1974 World Championships. (So, should we start referring to those vaults as Safronovs? 🙃)

Here’s a rundown of what happened during the team competition, the all-around competition, and the event finals.

The Soviet men’s team
Source: Sovetsky Sport, no. 194, 1973

Quick Links: Team | All-Around | Event Finals (with videos)


1. URS28.5028.1028.4027.9528.5528.55170.05
2. JPN27.7527.7527.7027.2028.6528.25167.35*
3. ROU27.3026.8528.2526.3027.2028.05163.95
4. GDR27.0027.5527.6526.7027.0027.70163.60
5. FRG27.3026.7027.9026.8527.1527.10163.00
6. USA27.4026.4027.3526.0027.1027.25161.50
7. CUB26.8026.1027.1527.5525.9526.85160.40
8. HUN26.2026.4526.9026.1526.8027.20159.70
9. TCH26.3526.0027.2526.3025.8026.05157.75
10. ITA26.3024.9027.0526.1026.0026.45156.80
11T. GBR26.6024.8027.0526.2024.9526.65156.25
11T. POL26.5524.4525.4526.9526.1026.75156.25
13. FRA26.5025.8526.1025.3525.5026.55155.85
14. CAN26.0023.8526.9025.4025.2027.00154.35
15. SWE25.7524.8025.6525.7025.6026.30153.75*
16. BUL26.1526.3523.8025.9524.2526.75153.25
17. SUI25.3523.8026.3526.2026.6024.10152.40
18. FIN26.3021.3525.6025.3026.0025.50150.10*
19. YUG25.0523.8522.5025.8023.2525.30145.75
20. IRN22.8511.6521.3524.7520.4516.25117.30
21. KUW21.9013.7017.1025.5518.1519.40115.80
*An asterisk indicates that the event scores do not properly add up to the final team total, as listed in Gymnast (Oct. 1973) magazine.

Below, you can find a translation of what Japan’s Official Report stated. Two points of interest:

  • Many know about Fujimoto’s dismount in 1976 onto a broken kneecap. At the 1973 Universiade, he also dismounted from rings and parallel bars on an injured leg.
  • There was a confrontation between the Japanese gymnasts and the Soviet judges on rings. The Japanese athletes felt as if the Soviet judges had been much harsher with them than they had with the Soviet athletes.

Same as the women’s team, the teams were divided into two groups by drawing lots, with Japan in group 1 and the Soviet Union in group 2.

(1) Horizontal bar

The team started against the U.S. and seemed to be scoring well, but Honma made a mistake when he changed hands after a kip, and he got tripped up.

(2) Floor exercise

An unexpected accident occurred in this event. Fujimoto pulled a muscle during the preparation exercise, he said “I was feeling good, so I stepped on it as hard as I could.” He had injured his knee on landing on high bar during practice two days prior, and he had been so preoccupied with it that he had forgotten all about the muscle fatigue he had been suffering from. After that, they felt as if they had to continue the competition with only three athletes. The other athletes must have been quite concerned about this.

(3) Pommel horse

Fujimoto performed despite his injury. His performance was satisfactory, and his score was good enough to remain in the event. Honma made a mistake. Japanese athletes use many skills in rear support [e.g. Kehr or double rear], but not so many in other countries. It is hoped that more rear-support skills will be considered in the future.

(4) Rings

After the competition, the chief judge of the rings made the following excuse: “Not in the Soviet Union! You don’t listen to us, so you should give up too.” The athletes also seemed to be dissatisfied with the Soviet Union’s refusal to deduct points for their own athletes’ mistakes. However, considering the high scores given to the Romanian athletes, and the fact that many of their performances seemed to show off their strength, they were probably not good enough. Fujimoto also performed on the rings, though he missed the landing, but he contributed to the team by scoring a point to cover Nishikii’s landing mistake.

(5) Vault

This is an event that was already considered as a weak point at the Munich Olympics, and the feeling has been further reinforced. Japan needs to change its way of thinking about the vault. Especially, the explosive vault by the athlete from Cuba showed us how far behind Japan is.

(6) Parallel bars

Even the Soviet Union’s athletes have not yet mastered such a lightweight performance as the Japanese athletes have. However, the performances showed that the Soviet Union and other countries are trying to develop new skills.

When Fujimoto started the final event, parallel bars, with a limp, the whole audience seemed to be praying. He had to change to an easier skill to lighten the burden of his landing, but the rest of his performance was wonderful.

Honma, too, closed the competition with a 9.65, the highest score of the competition.

Japan, due to Honma’s poor performance and Fujimoto’s injury, had to mentally ease the way for the Soviet Union, who performed later in the group 2.

The Japanese team did not have skills that appealed to the judges, and its athletes were not well-known, so they could only compete based on their performance that day.

Additionally, I must report here that there was a fundamental error in thinking in that we only adjusted based on the assumption that we could easily win the team championship.

On the other hand, the Soviets had been training for the Universiade since early spring, and we learned upon our return to Japan that they had already shown a perfect finish before we arrived in Moscow. The winner had already been decided before the competition.

Japan’s Official Report on the 1973 Universiade


(1) 鉄棒

アメリカと組んでの開始, 順調な得点を重ねているかに思えたが,本間が,け上がりのあとの手を持ち換えるところでミスを出し, つまづいてしまった。

(2) ゆか

この種目で思わぬ事故が起きてしまった。 藤本が準備運動中「調子が良かったので, 思い切り踏み切ったら」 肉離れを起してしまった。 2日前の練習中に鉄棒の着地で膝を痛めていたので, それに気を取られ以前からの筋疲労をすっかり忘れていたところであった。以後気持の上では3名で試合を続けるような形になってしまった。 他の選手も、このことをかなり気にしたのではないだろうか。

(3) あん馬

藤本がケガをおして演技をしている。 満足すべきもので,得点は種目別に残れるほどであった。 本間はミス。日本選手は上向き体勢の技を多く取り入れているが,まだ他の国では多いとはいえない,今後さらに上向き系の変化技を考慮して構成することが望まれる。

(4) つり輪

つり輪の主任審判員が試合のあとで 「ソ連では,だめだ! 言うことを聞かないのだから, おまえもあきらめろ」と弁解していた。 選手達も、ソ連のミスを減点しないという不満を持っていたようである。しかし, ルーマニアの選手に高得点が出ていること,また力を誇示するような演技が多く見られたことなどを考えると,やはり力不足だったのではないだろうか。 このつり輪にも藤本が演技をした, 着地をすてたものであったが錦井の着地のミスをうめる得点で,チームに貢献している。

(5) 跳馬

すでに, ミュンヘンオリンピック大会で弱点として考えられた種目であるが, さらに,その感が強まった。 日本の跳馬に対する考え方を改める必要がある。 特に, キューバの黒人選手が見せた爆発的な跳躍は日本の遅れを倍にして見せつけられる思いであった。

(6) 平行棒

日本のような軽々とした演技は,まだまだソ連でも習得できないところである。 しかし, ソ連を初め各国とも、 新しい技の開発に頭を使っていることが演技に現われていた。

藤本が片足を引きずりながら、 最終種目の平行棒の演技を開始すると全観衆が祈るような雰囲気に変った。 着地の負担を軽くするために, より易しい技に変えただけで, あとはすばらしい演技を見せてくれた。


一方, ソ連は春先からユニバーシアードのために強化を進めて来て、 すでに我々がモスクワ入りする以前に,完璧な仕上がりを見せていたことが帰国後知らされた。 試合前に勝負は決まっていたことになる。

And here’s what Sovetsky Sport, the sports newspaper of record for the Soviet Union, reported:

Before we dive into the conversation about the men’s team gymnastics championship, let us talk about the following circumstances. Naturally, the competition between the USSR and Japan teams attracted the biggest attention. In all previous University World Games, Japanese athletes were constant winners. Our team was the youngest among the leading ones. Only V. Safronov had already turned 22, while all the others were no older than 21. The Japanese athletes were on average one year older.

The competition was somewhat remote. The Japanese performed in the first group whereas our team was in the second one. They started with high bar, performed, as always, some bold flights and sophisticated dismounts, when suddenly their leading Olympic athlete F. Honma failed the total score with his only 9.05 result. He got “tied up” as they say in gymnastics. Soon we found out that he had not been in his best shape. People’s attention moved to their second leader – S. Fujimoto. However, during the warmup before the floor he injured his foot. Despite the pain, the brave gymnast, wholeheartedly supported by our spectators, performed on pommel horse, rings and parallel bars, scoring on every event.

On the floor and with vaults the Japanese had quite a tough situation. The team score included all three results. T. Nishikii showed a wonderful result on the floor – he performed a unique element – a jump backwards with half twist and one-and-a-half front somersault [i.e. an Arabian 1 ¾ roll-out]. The leader of the first group became another Japanese athlete S. Kajiyama who succeeded in every event. The Japanese team with their score 165.3 was also the leading one, ahead of GDR team by 1.8 points.

Our athletes started with parallel bars. And straight away Safronov scored 9.6 for the routine with two “Diamidovs” on top! In gymnastics, there is an implicit rule of “the first one,” whose score is generally the lowest, but the further it goes, the better it gets. Here it worked the other way round – our team’s result for the most artistic performance was the best, V. Schukin scored 9.55 points, V. Marchenko 9.4, while N. Andrianov, who apprehended Fujimoto the most, scored only 9.3. Perhaps the fact that his opponent could no longer compete caused him to lose his concentration, which resulted in a weak landing.

On high bar, Schukin – a modest man with a very strong technician’s mentality, showed an outstanding performance. Finishing the routine with a perfect pike double somersault he scored 9.6 points – 0.1 more than Andrianov, who was spinning in turns in different directions, but who committed some mistakes on the way.

Andrianov, the Olympic champion on floor exercise, got for his thrilling routine the highest score of the team – 9.6 points. Other guys from our team showed a lot of confidence during their performance too.

The gymnastics championship ended late night. The team competition brought a confident victory to the USSR student team. N. Adrianov, V. Schukin, V. Marchenko and V. Safronov – proud members of the team, scored in total 170.05 points and won gold at the University World Games. The Japanese athletes who lost to our team by 4.75 points followed after.

Sovetsky Sport, No. 193, August 18, 1973

Прежде чем начать разговор о мужском командном турнире гимнастов, — оговорим следующие обстоятельства. Наибольший интерес вызывал, конечно, поединок сборных СССР и Японии. На всех предыдущих Универсиадах японцы неизменно побеждали. Наша команда — самая молодая из ведущих: только В. Сафронову уже исполнилось 22 года, остальным по 21. Средний возраст японцев примерно на год старше.
Поединок был отчасти заочным: Японцы выступали в первом потоке, наши — во втором. Японцы начали с перекладины, показали, как всегда, отважные перелеты и хитроумные соскоки, и тут же их лидер — олимпиец Ф. Хонма с оценкой 9,05 не дал зачет: «Завязался», как говорят гимнасты. В дальнейшем выяснилось, что Хонма вообще не в лучшей форме. Внимание публики перешло к второму лидеру — С. Фудзимото. Но на разминке перед вольными упражнениями он получил ‘травму ноги. Превознемогая боль, мужественный спортсмен, которого горячо поддерживала наша публика, все-таки выступал на коне, кольцах и брусьях. И везде, кстати, дал зачет.
В вольных упражнениях и на прыжках положение японцев — было критическое — в командную сумму плюсовались все три результата. В вольных блеснул Т. Нисикии, показавший уникальный элемент — прыжок вверх с поворотом на 180 и полтора сальто вперед. А в лидеры первого потока вышел другой японец — С. Кадзияма, ровно — прошедший все соревнования. Лидировали японцы и командой — 165,3, опережал спортсменов ГДР на 1,8 балла.
Наши начали с брусьев. И тут же Сафронов за комбинацию, украшенную двумя диомидовскими вертушками, заработал 9,6. Есть в гимнастике неписаный кон наката» — первый, как правило, получает наименьшую оценку, а дальше — больше. Здесь получилось наоборот — результат самой художественной натуры нашей сборной был высшим, а у В. Щукина — 9,55, у В. Марченко — 9,4. Н. Андрианов больше всего опасался
Фудзимото — как знать, может быть, то, что соперник выбыл из борьбы, его несколько расслабило: неудачное приземление — 9,3.
На перекладине отличился скромный человек технического склада ума — Щукин. Закончив упражнение прекрасным двойным сальто согнувшись, он имел 9,6—
на 0,1 больше Андрианова, который летел, вращаясь во всех плоскостях попеременно, но имел ошибки в ходе комбинации.
Андрианов — олимпийский чемпион в вольных упражнениях — имел здесь за свою остросюжетную комбинацию высшую оценку в команде, опять 9,6. И другие наши парни здесь выглядели уверенно.
Соревнования по гимнастике закончилсь [sic] поздно вечером. Командный турнир увенчался уверенной победой студенческой сборной СССР. Команда в составе Н. Андрианова, В. Щукина, В. Марченко и В. Сафронова набрала 170,05 очка и завоевала золотые медали Универсиады. На втором месте гимнасты Японии, отставшие от нашей команды на 4.75.

Additional note: John Crosby (USA) had to be hospitalized for appendicitis.

This detail was published in many newspaper articles when Crosby went to competitions in the Soviet Union in 1974.

The World University Games are history now. The American gymnastics teams did an excellent job, and even without John Crosby who spent some time in a Soviet hospital with appendicitis, the men’s team managed to place sixth and the women fifth.

USGF News, Oct. 1973

The All-Around

All-Around – Top 10

1. Andrianov
2. Schukin
3. Safronov
4. Kajiyama
5. Gienger
6. Marchenko
7. Honma
8. Grecu
9. Nishikii
10. Netušil
*An asterisk indicates that the event scores do not properly add up to the final team total, as listed in Gymnast (Oct. 1973) magazine.

If there had been new life, Kajiyama would have finished on the podium, but he couldn’t overcome the qualifying scores of the Soviets.

In the individual championships, Kajiyama made a small mistake on the pommel horse, but he made full use of his small physique and performed with ease, scoring high points. In the individual championships alone, Kajiyama placed second. However, he could not overcome the three top ranks of the Soviet Union in the team competition and finished only in fourth place.

Japan’s Official Report on the 1973 Universiade

個人選手権でも梶山は, あん馬で小さなミスを見せたが小柄な身体をフルに生かし, 軽々と演技をし高得点を重ねた。 個人選手権の成績だけでは2位であった。 しかし, 団体で得たソ連の上位3選手の地位は、 厚く壁となりどうすることもできず, 4位にとどまった。

Meanwhile, the other Japanese gymnasts suffered from a case of the falls.

Honma was not in perfect shape, and he made a mistake on the pommel horse, as well as on the parallel bars, he could not land on the ground and ended up falling on his back. He came as close as 7th place but could not reach the prize.

 Nishikii also failed badly on the pommel horse, finishing one step back in 9th place with 7.65.

Gienger from West Germany was 7th in the qualifying round, but his steady performance earned him a 5th-place finish. His ability is far from this level, and like the Japanese athletes, he is a formidable athlete, as one can imagine from the fact that he did not have a perfect competition this time.

Andrianov from the Soviet Union is still a great athlete, considering that he had to reduce the difficulty level of his performances on horizontal bar and vault to win the championships.

Japan’s Official Report on the 1973 Universiade

本間は, 完調とは言えず, あん馬でつまり, 平行棒では着地ができず, うしろ回りをするほどの失敗をしてしまった。 7位までせまったが入賞には手が届かなかった。

錦井もあん馬で大失敗, 7.65で一歩後退9位に終った。

西ドイツのギンガーは予選7位であったが、着実な演技で5位に入賞した。 この選手の実力はこの程度ではなく,今回は日本選手と同様, 完全な試合でなかったことから想像すると恐ろしい選手である。

また, ソ連のアンドリアノフは,鉄棒・跳馬などで優勝を考慮して難度を落して演技をしていたことを考えると, まだまだ強い選手である。

And here’s what Sovetsky Sport reported:

First, several words on the events from the day before yesterday, which are tightly connected to what happened yesterday. For the first time in many years, our athletes defeated the Japanese team in the competition of such a high level, with quite an impressive margin of 2.7 points (we made a hasty mistake in the last issue).

The Japanese had no luck, no doubt about that, but their team was still strong, there are no weak athletes on this level. Another thing was striking – the quality of our gymnasts’ performance. A very high quality. Just before our eyes, came unnoticed a sudden change in the national gymnastics school, not only among the athletes but also among the coaches. Andrianov is trained by N. Tolkachev, Schukin’s coach is A. Ovsiak and K. Vasserman trains Marchenko. All these names are new; all these people have new and fresh visions of the sport. The comeback on the big stage of Chukarin in his new role of Safronov’s coach is particularly stunning – his past training load remains legendary until this day. No wonder our young champions during their practice before the University World Games were walking through with the apparatus two or three full routines every day – the previous generation (and it was often written on) was not so hard working.

This also contributed to yesterday’s success. All the team members were standing on the award stand. First place was taken by Nikolai Andrianov (Vladimir), second place went to Vladimir Schukin (Minsk), Vladimir Safronov (Lviv) won third place, and sixth place went to Vladimir Marchenko (Grozny).

The day before, Schukin was leading ahead of Andrianov with a small margin of 0.05 points. On Saturday, with the first apparatus, Andrianov leveled up with Schukin after scored 9.45 for high bar (which is very impressive considering the harsh previous score of 9.7). After floor exercise, he went ahead by 0.2 points – he is an Olympic champion after all, and confidently went to finish. His performance of the “Voronin” giant swings [i.e. with straight arms] and dismount on the rings was particularly excellent, in gymnastics, it is called double somersault with a twist on the second – its structure makes one think about a sandwich. Here he scored 9.6 points – one of the two highest scores of the competition – the same score that got E. Gienger on high bar – the European champion from West Germany. Andrianov finished the championship with his performance on parallel bars and the second that he stretched out after the dismount (double tuck somersault), his nose proudly in the air, it was clear that he was already the winner.

The championship passed without any misfortunes for the others too, except perhaps Marchenko, who was competing fiercely with Gienger and who failed his floor exercises by sitting on the mat.

Sovetsky Sport, No. 194

Вначале коротко вернусь к позавчерашним событиям. Тем более что они тесно связаны со вчерашними. Впервые за много лет на соревнованиях такого ранга наши гимнасты победили японцев, причем с солидным отрывом — 2,7 балла (в прошлом номере мы второпях ошиблись).
Японцам, конечно, не везло, но команда их не была слабой — на этом уровне у них слабых гимнастов не бывает. Бросалось в глаза еще одно — качество выступления наших спортсменов. Высокое качество. Буквально на глазах незаметно в отечествен гимнастической школе произошло резкое обновление, причем не только в среде спортсменов, но и в тренерской среде. Н. Толкачев — тренер Андрианова, А. Овсяк -— тренер Щукина, К. Вассерман — тренер Марченко. Все это имена новые, это люди передовых взглядов на спорт, ну, а возвращение на большой помост в новом качестве В. Чукарина, тренера Сафронова, человека, о чьих былых тренировочных нагрузках до сих пор слагают легенды, вдвойне знаменательно. Не случайно наши молодые чемпионы в период подготовки к Универсиаде ежедневно делали на снаряде по две-три полные комбинации: предыдущее поколение: (и об этом не раз писали) особым трудолюбием не отличалось.
Это о слагаемых позавчерашнего успеха и вчерашнего тоже. Вся команда стояла на пьедестале. Чемпион — Николай Андрианов (Владимир), второй призер Владимир Щукин (Минск), третий — Владимир Сафронов (Львов) и шестым был Владимир Марченко (Грозный).
Накануне лидировал Щукин. Правда, всего на 0,05 балла впереди Андрианова.
В субботу на первом же снаряде Андрианов его нагнал, получив за перекладину 9,45
(при жестком вчерашнем судействе из 9,7 балла… это очень прилично), и после вольных, где он как-никак олимпийский. чемпион, ушел вперед на 0,2 балла и уверенно зашагал к финишу. Особенно хорош он был на кольцах в воронинских больших оборотах прямыми руками и в соскоке, называемом, по-гимнастически  двойное сальто с пируэтом во втором —- эдакий бутерброд. Здесь он получил 9,6 балла — одну из двух высших онечок соревнований — столько же имел на перекладине чемпион Европы Э. Гингер из ФРГ. Андрианов завершал турнир на брусьях, и когда он после соскока (двойное сальто в группировке) вытянулся, гордо задрав и без того вздернутый нос, был он уже чемпион.
Без приключений миновали, турнир и остальные, разве, что Марченко, ведший
отчаянную борьбу с Гингером, все испортил в  вольных, присев на ковер.

Event Finals


Order of athletes

Floor: Gienger, Schukin, Kajiyama, Marchenko Andrianov, Safronov
Pommel horse: Thüne, Jäger, Kajiyama, Safronov, Schukin, Andrianov
Rings: Safronov, Andrianov, Borș, Grecu, Schukin, Gienger
Vault: Kajiyama, Rodríguez, Schukin, Safronov, Cuervo, Andrianov
Parallel Bars: Kajiyama, Gienger, Marchenko, Honma, Schukin, Safronov
High Bar: Safronov, Jäger, Nishikii, Andrianov, Grecu, Schukin


1. Andrianov
2. Kajiyama
3. Safronov
4. Schukin
5. Marchenko
6. Gienger

The U.S. felt that both Andrianov and Safronov were overscored.

Andrianov (U.S.S.R.) mounted with a double back piked but was short on the landing and put his hands down on the floor. His second pass was a front step out, front handspring, front dive full twist executed very well. Andrianov still lacks good fl ex ibility. His splits are a good six inches off the floor. His dismount was a very weak full twist. Score 9.5. Heavily overscored, probably should have been a 9.2.

Safronov (U.S.S.R.) competed last. His routine opened with a front step out, round-off back handspring into a very high double back. He kicked out early and fell forward on his hands. All his tumbling was very good, but all transitions were weak and did not fit the routine. His press handstand was not held long enough, but the judges forgot about that when he dismounted with very-well-executed double full. Score 9.4. Again very much overscored.

Gymnast, October 1973

Pommel Horse

1. Andrianov
2. Kajiyama
3. Schukin
4. Safronov
5. Jäger
6. Thüne

Again, the Americans felt that the Soviets were overscored.

Scukin [sic] (U.S.S.R .) did not work behind his back at air and almost came off on a loop around, stockli up. He was definitely overscored. Score 9.2. Andrianov (U.S.S.R.) competed last and worked very extended, comparable to Kajiyama; but his set contained too many extra circles to warrant the high score he received. Score 9.5.

Gymnast, October 1973


1. Grecu
2. Schukin
3. Borș
4. Andrianov
5. Gienger
6. Safronov

Grecu had a routine full of strength elements.

Grecu (Romania) was up next and completely astounded everyone by executing one of the most powerful ring sets I have seen performed by an all-around man. He mounted with a flex pull to planche, Maltese, cross, “L” cross, pullout to “L” support. After the press he executed a backward giant and a forward giant, both straight arm. Just before his full twist dismount he lowers from a handstand through a Maltese, back lever, pull cross. His dismount was a little weak considering the difficulty of the set but still very impressive. Score 9.65.

Gymnast, Oct. 1973

The Japanese saw that rings were heading in the direction of more strength, and they were a bit concerned:

The results of the rings in this competition were reminiscent of those of 10 years ago, with performances centering on strength skills occupying the top three places, which was a sign of the weakness of the Japanese athletes who excel in swinging. No matter who the judges are, both strength and swinging techniques must be excellent.

Japan’s Official Report on the 1973 University Games

今大会のつり輪は10年前を思わせるような, 力技を中心にした演技が3位までを占めたのが特徴で, 振動を得意とする日本選手の弱点を示めされたようなものであった。どんな審判員構成であっても,やはり, 力と振動の技の両方がすばらしいものであることが前提となろう。


1. Cuervo
2. Andrianov
3. Safronov
4. Schukin
5. Kajiyama
6. Rodriguez

*Note: Gymnast reported that Cuervo finished second, but both Japan’s Official Report and Sovetsky Sport noted that Cuervo finished first on vault.

Here’s how Sovetsky Sport explained it:

I’ll tell you why at first he got the second prize. The judges didn’t see his vault number and lowered his score due to the lack of discipline. Soon it was found out that Cuervo did press the right button, it was the machine that failed. This error was fixed.

Sovetsky Sport, No. 195, 1973

Объясню кстати, почему сперва ему присудили «серебро». Судьи не увидели на табло номер его прыжка и за недисциплинированность снизили оценку. Но выяснилось, что Куэрво нажал нужную кнопку,  а автоматика почему-то не сработала. Ошибка была исправлена.

People were astounded by Safronov’s round-off back tuck with a full twist (what we call a Kasamatsu today).

Safronov (U.S.S.R.) did a super high round-off back piked with fair form on his first jump. Score 9.25. Then came the bomb. On his second vault Safronov did a round-off back with a full twist and stood it up with only one small step back. Score 9.35. They should have given him the horse for trying it. This was the vault we were expecting Andrianov to do since we had seen him practicing it earlier.

Gymnast, October 1973

Historical context: Hal Shaw performed a Tsukahara vault at the 1968 NCAA Championships before Tsukahara debuted his eponymous vault in international competition in 1970. Three years later, Safronov was doing a full-twisting Tsukahara.

Andrianov may have been overscored again.

The last vaulter was Andrianov (U.S.S.R.), and everyone was expecting something very phenomenal, but it just didn’t happen. By this point in the meet he had injured his foot, and it was obvious he was hurting. His first vault was a handspring full twist which was short on the twist. Score 9.2. Gift time again. His second vault was a handspring front from the near end, although it was very high he stuck the landing in a squat position. Probably trying to protect his foot. Score 9.45. Good enough to win.

Gymnast, October 1973

Parallel Bars

1. Schukin
2. Gienger
3. Safronov
4. Kajiyama
5. Marchenko
6. Honma

While Gienger and Schukin tied for the highest score, Gienger technically was the silver medalist. Here is how Sovetsky Sport explained it:

Another clarification. Many were surprised why with similar results on parallel bars, Schukin came first and Gienger – the athlete from FRG, came the second. According to the FIG rules, both of them would be champions. However, according to paragraph 116 of FISU rules, the champion title goes to the gymnast with the highest all-round score.

Sovetsky Sport, No. 195, 1973
Еще одно пояснение. Многих удивило, почему при равных результатах на брусьях у Щукина: и Гингера из ФРГ наш гимнаст стал первым, а соперник — вторым. По правилам ФИЖ оба считались бы чемпионами. Но есть параграф 116 регламента ФИСУ, и согласно ему чемпионское  звание в этом случае присуждается гимнасту, у которого лучшая сумма многоборья.

Here’s what paragraph 116 stated:

The individual separate championship will be decided in a final contest — competition No. 3, in which six competitors with the best results in each of the exercises in the competition No. 1 shall be admitted. The decision will be taken by adding together the points gained in competitions No. 1 and No. 3. In the case of two or more competitors having equal totals of poins [sic], preference will be given to those with the best result in the combined programme. If these results are equal, the championships will be decided by using the method mentioned in competition No. 2.

117 — If the best competitors in competitions No. 2 [i.e. all-around] and No. 3 [i.e. event finals] show equal results, they all will be given the highest reward.

General Technical Regulations, FISU, Moscow, 1973

It was rumored that Gienger was going to perform a double pike at the 1974 World Championships.

Gienger (West Germany) was up next and did a super set. His mount was a cast catch, front over bar, cut catch “L” . About that time Mitchell mumbled something about Gienger copying one of his old routines, and I almost dropped my camera. [In other words, it was a joke.] After the press Gienger threw everything but the kitchen sink. Diamidov, stutz, under cast one-half turn, front uprise pirouette, back toss, double back dismount. Everything to a handstand. Rumor has it that Gienger is going to do his double back piked in the World Games next year. Score 9.45.

Gymnast, October 1973

High Bar

1. Schukin
2. Nishikii
3. Safronov
4. Grecu
5. Jäger
6. Andrianov
Note: Grecu and Safronov had the same score, but because of the FISU rules in 1973, Safronov would have been the bronze medalist.

Schukin closed out the meet, and his routine was exciting:

Scukin (U.S.S.R.) was the last competitor on high bar, and he came on very strong. He mo unts with a straight arm stem three-quarter giant, “jam” Takamoto. The Takamoto is executed behind the bar, and his swing carries him to a perfect handstand. The way he executes the stunt it looks like a Diamidov on parallel bars. Out of the Takamoto he does a “Kris-Kehr,” stalder. His next unique combination starts with an “Ono” executed from a full “eagle” grip. He now swings under the bar with a mixed grip and does a one-half turn which puts him in a cross arm position. On the up swing he does a ” whip” change to a front support and then a free hip circle. Confusing, isn’t it!!! His dismount was a very good double fly-a-way piked. What a way to end the meet? Score 9.35.

Gymnast, October 1973

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