1973 FIG Bulletin

1973: Two per Country

In 1973, the IOC Programming Commission and the FIG engaged in a delicate dance in which the IOC presented a list of concerns and the FIG had to come up with solutions that appeased the IOC. (This wasn’t new. For example, in 1957, this dance led to the elimination of group rhythmic exercises in women’s gymnastics and the creation of event finals.)

In 1973, one of the IOC’s concerns was the number of gymnasts per country in the all-around and event finals. The FIG’s solution allowed only three gymnasts per country into the all-around finals and two gymnasts per country into the apparatus finals. 

Keep in mind that the apparatus finals, in particular, were heavily dominated by the top teams. For example, at the 1972 Olympics, there were four Soviet gymnasts in the women’s vault finals, four Japanese gymnasts in the men’s floor finals, and five Japanese gymnasts in the men’s high bar finals. (There were only six gymnasts per final.)

Another interesting tidbit: The IOC was already pushing to reduce team sizes to five members in 1973.

Below, you will find the letter that the FIG published in its Bulletin of Information in December 1973 (issue no. 4). 

Gymnastics Programme at the Next Olympic Games

Dear sirs,

The extracts of minutes published in the FIG Bulletin and information appearing in the Press will undoubtedly have drawn your attention to the efforts being made by the IOC with a view to introducing a certain degree of limitation into various sports, disciplines, and the competitors therein participating in the next Olympic Games. Similarly, the major organs of the press will certainly have informed you about the definitive decisions taken in this regard by the IOC at its meeting in Varna.

We are writing today to inform you about the proposal submitted to the IOC which takes into account as far as possible the demands of this latter instance. This proposal has been drawn up by a FIG presidential commission consisting of the president himself, the secretary-general, and the two presidents of the Technical Committees.

In the table given below, to the left, you will find the demands of the IOC according to the letter dated 8.2.1973 [i.e. February 2, 1973] and, to the right, our proposals transmitted in the letter of the 4th May 1973:

[Note: The internet does not like tables and columns, so the original formatting has not been preserved below. You can see the original formatting in the image at the end of this page.]

Demands of the IOC:

1. A possibility should be sought of limiting, to an acceptable degree, the number of medals which can be obtained by one and the same athlete.

Proposals made by the FIG presidential commission

Point 3 below offers a possibility of this kind within the framework of the limitation of admission, according to country, to the individual finals, and to the 6 or 4 apparatus, as the case may be (competitions 2 and 3).

Demands of the IOC:

2. Limitations of the competitions and reduction of the number of teams or reduction of the number of competitors per team to 5 gymnasts instead of 6 with 4 valid results per team.

Proposals made by the FIG presidential commission

Any limitation of the competition in the form of a reduction of the number of gymnasts per team is unthinkable in gymnastics for fundamental reasons. But we are prepared, in accordance with the decision taken by the IOC at Munich in 1972, which envisaged a limit of 12 teams for all the competitions, to acceptt [sic] this reduction, but only on condition that 4 supplementary groups of 6 individuels gymnastes [sic] each be engaged.

Demands of the IOC:

3. Limitation of the number of gymnasts admitted per country and final competition with 2 gymnasts (men or women).

Proposals made by the FIG presidential commission

Number of gymnasts admitted per country to the final competitions:

  1. Final multiple [i.e. all-around] competition: 3 gymnasts.
  2. Final at the apparatus: 2 gymnasts.

Demands of the IOC:

4. Preparation and implementation of a special system of qualification for the admission of individual gymnasts

Proposals made by the FIG presidential commission

The Olympic Games in Munich demonstrated that the system of qualification for the individual gymnasts should differ from that for the teams. We agree witht he demand of the IOC.

The above proposals have been transmitted to the IOC or to its programming commission, with the following reservations:

1. Approval by the Executive Committee at its meeting held between 12th and 16th June 1973 in Stuttgart

2. Approval by the assembly general at the 52nd FIG Congress held on 13th November 1973 in Rotterdam.

3. In as far as the 25 other international sports federations recognized by the IOC also accept the demands formulated in their regard.*

Our proposals enumerated [sic] under para. 1-4 have been entirely accepted by the executive organs of the IOC and also by the IOC itself on the occasion of its meetings held between 5th und [sic] 7th October at Varna, with the request that the FIG Congress act similarly in Rotterdam.

With all good wishes, yours sincerely
International Gymnastics Federation
The president: Arthur Gander

Bulletin of Information, no. 4, 1973

*Note: A better translation from the french for the final provision is: Provided that the 25 other international sports federations recognized by the IOC also accept the demands made of them.

Note: These rules were not in effect at the 1974 World Championships. They went into effect at the 1976 Olympics.

Reminder: In other sports, countries could not have, say, five athletes in the finals. According to the 1972 rules for track and field, countries could have a maximum of three athletes in each individual event:

2.2.1. Individual Events

Every country is entitled to enter one competitor for each event regardless of the required minimum standards as mentioned below.

In addition, every country can enter two more competitors but in this case all participants, including the first one, shall have attained the required minimum standards.

Each country may enter up to three participants in the marathon race and in the 20 km and 50 km walks; minimum standards are not required.

München 1972: Athlétisme: Règlement
Here is the formatting of the table, as printed in the Bulletin.

More on 1973

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