1974 WAG World Championships

1974: The Women’s Team Competition at the World Championships

The 1974 World Championships maintained the status quo. In Munich in 1972, the Soviet team came in first, the East German team in second, and the Hungarian team in third. The same was true in Varna in 1974.

But there were some surprises, primarily from the Romanian team. At the 1972 Olympics, they were sixth, finishing 7.55 points behind the third-place Hungarians. Two years later, they were fourth, finishing only 1.30 points behind the third-place Hungarians. And, as the European gymnastics community knew full well, the Romanians were going to pose a challenge in the future thanks to a young group of rising stars led by Nadia Comăneci. (You may have heard of her.)

Another surprise: Two years after Olga Korbut and Nancy Thies did standing back tucks on beam, the world saw one of the first layout stepouts — as performed by Romania’s Aurelia Dobre (Unfortunately, the news reports did not record the skill, but Hardy Fink got it on video. You can see it below.)

There were also accusations of score-fixing both by the Soviets and the president of the Women’s Technical Committee. (As we’ll see in the post about event finals, Korbut also alleged that the Soviet leadership engaged in behind-the-scenes machinations.) Even the audience was upset about the scoring. After a piked Tsukahara by U.S. gymnast Ann Carr, they protested her 9.4 for roughly several minutes.

Here’s what happened on Monday, October 21 (compulsories/competition 1a), and Wednesday, October 23 (optionals/competition 1b).

Hungary’s team, Source: Képes Sport, October 29, 1974

Note: Quality photos are hard to find for these World Championships


1. USSR47.1547.6547.5048.50190.80
2. GDR46.1547.3546.0046.70186.20
3. HUN45.9046.7546.2045.80184.65
4. ROU45.7544.9544.7045.45180.85
5. TCH46.1045.3545.1546.20182.80
6. JPN44.8044.7544.4546.05180.05
7. USA45.1044.3044.6546.25180.30
8. FRG45.8044.3543.6044.60178.35
9. BUL43.6043.4543.1544.20174.40
10. POL43.8043.8542.7044.65175.00
11. CAN44.1543.4042.1544.25173.95
12. NED43.4544.0042.0042.90172.35
13. ITA42.9043.4042.4042.95171.65
14. FRA42.6041.5542.7542.20169.10
15. SUI42.9542.0542.5542.70170.25
16. NOR43.0040.7041.8542.35167.90
17. GBR42.2541.8042.6041.15167.80
18. YUG41.5541.5540.8540.65164.60
19. BEL38.2040.9041.4542.25162.80
20. ESP41.1540.3039.4540.55161.45
21. AUS38.6541.2539.9541.35161.20
22. SWE38.5038.8543.3040.65161.30
Note: For every team, the compulsories are listed in the first row and optionals are listed in the second row. Final totals are listed under each country code in the first column.

Sources used: Olympische Turnkunst, no. 12, 1974 and Neues Deutsches Turnen, no. 12, 1974


URS | GDR | HUN | ROU | USA | AUS | Appendix: Evaluations of Every Country

Reminder: The compulsories were the same as the ones used in 1972. Instead of having a set routine, each country had to design their own routines using a set of skills performed in a specific order.

Soviet Union

Even before the competition started, it was clear that the Soviet team looked quite strong, and the judges took note.

Among the last to leave the sports palace yesterday was the Honored Master of Sports and Vice-President of the FIG Technical Committee, Taisiya Antonovna Demidenko. On that day, she served as the head judge for floor exercise.

“The judge must keep her emotions in check, yet I can’t help but single out our girls,” remarked T. Demidenko. “Their performance was simply excellent. This remarkable sport seems to be getting younger every year. Nowadays, it’s no longer a surprise to see champions or medalists of the championship who are only 15 or 16 years old.”

Izvestia, No. 250, October 22, 1974

Одной из последних покидала вчера дворец спорта заслуженный мастер спорта, вице-президент технической комиссии ФИЖ Таисия Антоновна Демиденко. В этот день она была главным арбитром на вольных упражнениях.
— Арбитру нужно сдерживать свои эмоции, и все же я не могу удержаться, чтобы не отметить наших девчат,— заметила Т. Демиденко, — они выступали просто отлично. — С каждым годом молодеет этот замечательный вид спорта. Сейчас уже никого не удивит, если чемпионке или призеру первенства будет 15—16 лет.

Though they performed the same routines, the Soviet gymnasts’ different styles and personalities were evident during compulsories.

Our girls are all different; each of them has her own individuality, her own style and character, her own soul. What if that does us no good? After all, these are compulsory exercises; what if the sameness is exactly what the judges expect?

Sovetsky Sport, No. 249, Oct. 23, 1974
А сердце все-таки щемило перед последней, перед нашей сменой: они-то как раз все непохожие, каждая на особицу — свой стиль, свой почерк, своя душа — вдруг это не на пользу окажется? В конце концов обязательные — это обязательные, может быть, одинаковость как раз и нужна?…

The Soviets had a rough warm-up on vault, but during the competition, they hit their vaults.

Our team also started with vault. During the warm-up, they were quite obviously nervous—not a single accurate landing. The team itself is quite young. Then an uncontrollable roll of tenths began again, and their dismounts improved. Korbut was landing with her back in a sharp arch, spreading her arms like wings. Flags in the hands of Soviet tourists were fluttering on the stands, and she was casting in their direction a sly and triumphant glance. Tourischeva was not looking around; her gaze was fixed on one point only—that distant one, where her coach Rastorotsky was sitting. His silent, mysterious sign he was showing with his huge palms was enough for her to feel calm and confident and get a high score. The play of Rastorotsky’s palms was a spectacular and expressive scene to see. He put everything in it. His palms demanded readiness, consoled, and showed rage and despair. When the judges took their time to discuss her uneven bars score, his fists were beating one another. However, being the stern man, he didn’t rejoice for her, even though there was every reason to.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 249, Oct. 23, 1974

Начинали наши тоже с прыжка, и на разминке волновались довольно явно — ни одного точного приземления. Команда в общем молодежная. Но дальше пошел вновь неудержимый накат десятых долей, и доскоки наладились, и Корбут, приземляясь, круто выгибалась назад, крылышками разводя руки; на трибунах взвивались флаги в руках советских туристов, и она кидала туда лукавый и торжествующий взгляд.  Турищева не смотрела по сторонам, одна точка зала привлекала ее внимание — та дальняя точка, где сидел ее тренер Растороцкий, и безмолвный загадочный знак, — который изображали его огромные ладони, был ей достаточен для спокойствия, для уверенности, для высокого балла. Выразительнейшее это зрелище — игра ладоней Растороцкого. Что он ими только не изображал: и требовал готовности, и утешал, и гневался, и отчаивался, когда потом судьи долго обсуждали еe оценку на брусьях, и он лупил кулаком в кулак… Вот только неё ликовал он, суровый человек, а ведь, было от чего…

The Soviet gymnasts were masterful on floor exercise.

Time for floor exercise. Again, it is the same set of elements, the same melody (this time it is Glier). But how different was their interpretation! Dronova made them tender and honest; Kim showed them as mysterious and impenetrable, Sikharulidze’s performance was languid and passionate, Saadi’s was sophisticated, Korbut’s was sharp and heated; Tourischeva was stormy, bold and strong; at the end she made a wide smile, perhaps for the first time that evening. Even through the applause, one could hear Rastorotsky sighing noisily with relief.

Here are our floor exercise scores: 9.45 – 9.55 – 9.65 – 9.7 – 9.75 – 9.85. Sitting next to me was Violetta Shushmanova, the coach of the victorious Bulgarian gymnastics team. “Bravo,” – she was repeating ceaselessly.

In the end, everyone performed well, maybe apart from Saadi, who was particularly nervous and fell off the beam. Her 9.0 points score turned out to be our lowest of the evening.

The diversity of characters, the difference in styles with the expressive individuality of each gymnast are our team’s main strength as of today. You can be highly trained, you can master the technique, but individuality and personality in modern women’s gymnastics are still awarded with the highest score.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 249, Oct. 23, 1974

И вот вольные — вновь, по идее, один и тот же набор. движений, одна и та же мелодия — на этот раз это Глиер. Но как же по-разному они трактовались! Нежно и непосредственно звучали они у Дроновой; таинственно, непроницаемо — у Ким; томно и страстно — у Сихарулидзе; изысканно — у Саади; хлестко и азартно — у Корбут; бурно, смело и сильно — у Турищевой, которая в концовке широко улыбнулась, пожалуй, впервые за вечер. Даже среди оваций, кажется, слышно было в этот миг, как облегченно и шумно вздохнул Растороцкий.
Я приведу вам серию наших оценок за вольные: 9,45 — 9,55 — 9,65 —  9,7 — 9,75 — 9,85. Рядом со мной сидела Виолетта Шушманова, тренер — победоносной сборной Болгарни по художественной гимнастике. «Браво», — только это она и повторяла.
Итак, благополучно выступили всё — может быть, за исключением Саади, которая
была особенно нервна и с бревна упала, и ее, оценка — 9,0 — оказалась за вечер
у нас самой низкой.
Разнохарактерность, разность почерков при выразительной яркости каждого — сегодня главная сила нашей команды. Можно быть высокотренированным, можно владеть техникой, но индивидуальность, личность в современной женской гимнастике по-прежнему оценивается самым полновесным баллом.

The women’s optionals happened on the same day that the IOC announced the host of the 1980 Olympic Games.

That day was special. An amazing day. In the middle of it, the girls learned that Moscow would be the Olympic capital of 1980. They were happy and excited. The way they moved from one apparatus to another, carrying bags with Olympic rings, looked like a small symbol.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

День был особенный. Удивительный. день. В. его середине девочки узнали о том, что Москва стала олимпийской столицей 1980 года. Обрадовались, заволновались. И маленьким символом выглядело то, что шли они в этот вечер от снаряда к снаряду, неся через пленс сумки с олимпийскими кольцами.

The Soviet team started on vault, and Tourischeva’s Tsukahara received a thumbs-up from Tsukahara himself.

Our rivals mostly performed the “360-degree twist”. We showed three of those but also the “540-degree twist” performed by Kim (who, unfortunately, could not hold on her feet, and got the only score below nine – 8.6), and breaking every law of biomechanics, Korbut’s “twist followed by the push” (the second one – after the push – is kept for the final) and a “Tsukahara”. Performing it in the first attempt with amazing height and accuracy, Tourischeva immediately earned a 9.8-points score, and the author of the element himself, sitting in the front row, gave a thumbs up. Mitsuo Tsukahara is surely a good judge of “Tsukahara.”

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

И вот вышли наши, на опорный прыжок. Здесь в итоге счет оказался 47,8:47,05 в пользу советской сборной, сила которой, кроме всего прочего, — в разнообразии репертуара. Соперницы, в основном исполняли «винт на 360 градусов» нас, кроме трех таких, еще и «винт на 540 градусов» у Ким (она, к сожалению, не устояла на ногах, и имела единственную за все время оценку ниже девяти — 8,6), и беззаконный, с точки зрения биомеханики, корбутовский «винт до толчка» (второй пируэт — после толчка — прибережен к финалу) и «цукахара». Проделав его в первой же попытке с поразительной высотой и точностью, Турищева с ходу заработала 9,8, и сам автор, сидевший в первом ряду, вскинул вверх большой палец. А уж он-то, Мицуо Цукахара, толк в «цукахаре» знает.

Note: To clarify, during competition 1a, Korbut performed her full twist onto the horse. She added another full twist off the horse during event finals. Also, it’s not true that Tourischeva debuted a Tsukahara in Varna. She performed the vault at the 1973 European Championships.

Note #2: The handspring with 1.5 twists is named after Kim in the Code of Points even though she did not successfully land the skill at the 1974 World Championships.

Even though the Soviet team’s victory seemed assured, Larisa Latynina was nervous during the team’s warm-up on beam.

Let’s now talk not about the beginning, but about the most climatic moment. It was the penultimate apparatus – the balance beam. The position seemed secure, but Larisa Latynina, who was sitting not far from me, was pale as ashes, her clenched hands were trembling. “Aren’t you confident in yourself” I asked. – “It’s the beam, so anything can happen”. During the warm-up Polina Astakhova, the leading coach, leaned against the platform, was bringing the girls to the apparatus, as if on a conveyor, and looking at her stopwatch was commanding: “Time.” They seemed incredibly focused. I describe these details to emphasize once again that yesterday’s success wasn’t a walk in the park, that it took effort, nerves, and the highest organization level. The latter applies not only to these six gymnasts and their coaches, but also to the entire women’s gymnastics from top to bottom: victories, even such triumphant ones, are not delivered on a silver platter.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

А теперь не о начале, но о-моменте самом остром. Предстоял ‚предпоследний снаряд — бревно. Положение казалось прочным, но сидящая неподалеку: от меня Лариса Латынина была белее мела, н ее сжатые руки била мелкая дрожь. «Неужто вы не уверены?», — спросил я. — «Это ведь бревно, все может случиться»: Шла разминка, и Полина Астахова, выводящий тренер, облокотившись о помост, по конвейеру выпускала девочек на снаряд, смотрела-на секундомер и властно говорила: «Время». И они казались предельно сосредоточенными, Я привел эти детали, чтобы: еще раз подчеркнуть; что не в одни ворота ила вчера игра, что и силы понадобились, и нервы, и высочайшая организованность. Последнее относится не только к этим шестерым, и к их тренерами но и ко всей нашей женской гимнастике снизу доверху: победы, даже такие триумфальные, никому не преподносятся на блюдечке.

After falling off beam during compulsories, Saadi was the first to go on the event. 

Saadi was the first to go, she got 9.55, although had if she been the last one, it would not have been lower than 9.8; such is the psychology of the judges – the score must be rolling up. There were no mistakes to deduct in this perfect, sculptural, high and free gymnastic masterpiece. Thus works the law in the team: Saadi fell the previous day, so the way to the final on this apparatus should now be opened for her teammates, not for her.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

Начала на нем Саади с 9,55, хотя, выступи она последней, ниже 9,8 не было, бы — такова уж психология судей, должен же быть «накат», а снимать за ошибки с этого чеканного, скульптурного, высокого и свободного произведения гимнастического искусства решительно нечего было. Но закон команды есть закон: накануне Саади упала, и другим, а не ей, должна была теперь открыться дорога к финалу на этом снаряде.

Korbut got a 9.8 on beam.

Sikharulidze… She staggered slightly – barely noticeable… “Stop, stop, stop,” I hear Latynina whispering – she got 9.5. Kim… What a tender girlish nape she has… Why do we call her “the iron Kim” when she is only seventeen? Her score was 9.6. Dronova – 9.5. Korbut… She performs her trick, straightens up slightly moving her shoulder as if showing her indifference… 9.8 points!

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

Сихарулидзе… Слегка пошатнулась — чуть заметно… «Стой, стой, стой», — шепчет, я слышу, Латынина. 9,5. Ким… Какой же у нее нежный девичий затылок…
А мы — «железная Ким, железная», — а ей семнадцать. 9,6. Дронова — 9,5. Корбут… Выдаст трюк, выпрямится, да еще плечиком поведет — мол, все мне трын-трава… 9,8!

Could Tourischeva score higher than Korbut? She performed a masterpiece. 

Tourischeva’s turn. We have already forgotten, but in the depths of the team competition, the fire of eternal rivalry between the “stars” smolders. What score should Lyuda get after Korbut’s 9.8?

In the afternoon she forced herself to sleep for a couple of hours, and before that she read and retold Rastorotsky a story, but poor Vladislav Stepanovich completely forgot which one. From the podium, he showed her two clenched fingers — feel the toes, he was saying. What else could he do to help?

She got 9.9. Jaroslava Matlochová, who raised the most famous gymnasts in Czechoslovakia [e.g. Čáslavská], approached her and said: “I am an athlete myself, a coach, but I don’t understand how you did it. I’m crying, sorry.”

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

И Турищевой выходить. Мы уже забыли, но ведь в недрах командного зачета тлеет огонек вечного соперничества «звезд», и какую же оценку получать Люде после 9,8?
…Днем она заставила себя пару часов поспать, а до этого прочла и пересказала
Растороцкому рассказ, а какой — бедняга Владислав Степанович напрочь забыл. Он ей с трибуны показал два сжатых пальца — мол чувствуй носки. Чем он еще мог помочь?
Она получила 9,9. К ней подошла Ярослава Матлохова, воспитавшая самых знаменитых гимнасток Чехословакии, и сказала: «Я сама спортсменка, сама тренер, но как тебе удалось, не понимаю. Прости, я плачу».

The Soviets were also in the lead, heading into the all-around finals.

The Soviet team can only be mentioned in superlatives. Our sports friends had sent an invincible team to the world championship. It is no surprise that in the all-around standings five out of the six best are Soviet girls. Only Hellmann from the GDR could squeeze in among them. Tourischeva is still the best gymnast in the world. She is followed by the ‘angelic yet devilish’ Korbut. Then comes a future talent, Kim, the poetic Saadi, the elegant Sikharulidze, the fiery flame, Dronova. They provided such a performance on the four apparatuses that nobody has seen in the last couple championships. 

Népsport, October 24, 1974, no. 250

A szovjet csapatról csak felsőfokban lehet beszélni. Sportbarátaink ismét verhetetlennek bizonyuló gárdával jelentek meg a világbajnokság küzdőterén. Jellemző, hogy az összetett sorrend alapján az első hat között öt szovjet lány van, s csak az NDK-beli Hellmann tudott közéjük ékelődni. Turiscseva továbbra is a világ első számú tornásznője, mögötte az „angyalian ördögi” Korbut, a jövő nagy versenyzője, Kim, a költői Szaagyi, az elegáns Sziharulidze, a tűzláng Dronova, olyan előadást produkáltak a négy szeren, amilyenre talán még az elmúlt világversenyeken sem volt példa. 

East Germany

Reminder: After 1972, many of GDR’s top gymnasts retired.

Then it was the GDR girls’ turn. Young girls they were – no more Karin Janz, Erika Zuchold or their faithful friends — they have left gymnastics. Only Hellman stayed — the youngest of that generation, thin and watercolor-like, if you can picture watercolor on metal. Together with the young Annelore Zinke, who in GDR is called “the brunette Janz” (they share similar figure, gait, posture, and impassivity), she led the team, which functioned like clockwork, almost flawlessly. Before their performance, there were almost no nine-point scores at all, whereas they only got one score below nine (for beam) in the entire evening!

Sovetsky Sport, no. 249, Oct. 23, 1974

А дальше вышли девочки ГДР. Именно девочки — без Карин Янц, без Эрики Цухольд них верных подруг, покинувших спорт: Одна Хелльман осталась, младшая из того поколения, тоненькая и акварельная, если можно себе представить акварель на металле. Но ведомая ею и юной Аннелоре Цинке, которую в ГДР зовут «брюнеткой Янц» (у нее и фигура такая же, и походка, и осанка, и невозмутимость), команда заработала, как часовой механизм — почти бесперебойно. То не было «девяток», а тут у них в зачет за весь вечер прошла лишь одна оценка ниже 9 баллов (на бревне).

The East German team excelled at compulsory bars.

Here, our Olympic-experienced Angelika Hellmann received a 9.80 on the uneven bars, a score that obviously spurred on our World Championship newcomer Annelore Zinke, as she also performed very elegantly on this apparatus, putting her on par with Angelika.

Neues Deutschland, Oct. 22 1974

Hier erhielt unsere olympiaerfahrene Angelika Hellmann am Stufenbarren eine 9,80. Eine Note, die offensichtlich unseren WM-Neuling Annelore Zinke anspornte, denn auch sie turnte an diesem Gerät sehr elegant, so daß sie mit Angelika gleichzog.

And Ellen Berger, the GDR head coach and the head judge on bars, was very pleased with the team’s performance on bars.

Their performance was, so to speak, shot for shot, the scores were rolling up as if following a precise schedule. For example, their vaults score varied from 9.05 to 9.4, on uneven bars it was from 9.3 to 9.6. Their dismount was perfectly firm; they were as still as statues. The elements were performed flawlessly; the girls were living copies of each other, with different hairstyles to tell them apart. Ellen Berger, representing the GDR as a judge for uneven bars, despite all her impartiality, was glowing with happiness.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 249, Oct. 23, 1974
Работали они, что называется, одна в одну, «накат» оценок шел как по точно вычерченному графику: скажем, на прыжках в зачет от 9,05 до 9,4, на брусьях — от 9,3 до 9,6. Они мертво, не шелохнувшись, вставали в доскок. Они выполняли элементы безукоризненно правильно, живые копии друг друга, только с разными прическами. Эллен Бергер, представляющая ГДР в качестве арбитра на брусьях, при всей беспристрастности просто светилась счастьем.

But the East Germans struggled on balance beam during compulsories.

On the penultimate apparatus, the balance beam, however, some things went wrong. Annelore Zinke could not balance the handstand and had to leave the apparatus with only 8.70 points. Irene Abel also only received an 8.90 here, so this score — the worst score — was deducted from our team score.

Neues Deutschland, Oct. 22 1974

Am vorletzten Gerät, am Schwebebalken, mißlang jedoch einiges. Annelore Zinke konnte den Handstand nicht ausbalancieren und mußte vom Gerät nur 8,70 Punkte. Auch Irene Abel erhielt hier nur eine 8,90, so daß diese Note — die schlechteste wird für die Mannschaftswertung gestrichen mit in unsere Bilanz ging.

Sovetsky Sport reported that the GDR’s floor routines were too correct — without emotion.

On the beam they faltered. What does “falter” mean though? Zinke fell. The rest looked fine. Floor exercise was fine too, but in this normality, this superbly trained six betrayed something in its accuracy. Everything was too exact, too correct. Perhaps a bit too correct—without enough passion.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 249, Oct. 23, 1974

Дрогнули они на бревне. Но что значит «дрогнули?» Цинке упала. Остальные
выглядели нормально. Нормально прошли и вольные но вот здесь-то, в этой нормальности, в правильности проступила одна черточка великолепно оттренированной «шестерки». Все выглядело четко, верно, но может быть, излишне ровно, без особого вдохновения.

The GDR team started strong on vault.

“Stand” rang through the Varna Sports Palace on Wednesday evening as Bärbel Röhrich landed after her handspring with a full twist on her second vault. And Bärbel stood on the spot. “I was happy because I wasn’t really doing well in the optional team competition. The 9.50 gave me a huge boost,” said the former Spartakiade winner from Rostock. What was even more important: Bärbel was greeted with applause from her friends. She set the standard for our squad right from the start. “That was very valuable, because if we get off to a good start, it’s much easier,” said team captain Angelika Hellmann. 47.05 points on the first apparatus was a promising start.

Neues Deutschland, October 25, 1974

„Steh” – klang es am Mittwochabend durch den Sportpalast von Warna, als Bärbel Röhrich nach ihrem Überschlag mit ganzer Drehung ibei ihrem zweiten Sprung zur Landung ansetzte. Und Bärbel stand auf dem Punkt. „Da war Ich glücklich, denn beim Blnturnen zum Kürmannschaftskampf lief es bei mir nicht so recht. Die 9,50 beflügelten mich mächtig”, meinte die einstige Spartakiadesiegerin aus Rostock, Was noch viel wichtiger war: Bärbel wurde von Ihren Freundinnen mit Beifall empfangen. Sie setzte gleich zu Beginn den Maßstab für unsere Riege. „Das war sehr wertvoll, denn wenn wir einen guten Anfang haben, geht es viel leichter”, meinte Mannschaftskapitän Angelika Hellmann. 47,05 Punkte am ersten Gerät waren ein hoffnungsvoller Auftakt.

Annelore Zinke was impressive on bars.

The GDR team continued undisturbed to their second place. They were exceptional on the uneven bars, this was the best result during the entire competition, the first 9.9 score. This went to little Zinke — she is really like a nice little bird —, who lived up to her name and seemed to be flying from one bar to the other, she even performed a Korbut flip and was really worthy of the high score she received. 

Népsport, October 24, 1974, no. 250

Az NDK csapata zavartalanul haladt a dobogó második foka felé. Kiemelkedőt nyújtottak a felemáskorláton, itt született meg az egész eddigi verseny első 9.9 pontos értéke. Ezt a kis Zinke — valóban olyan, mint egy kedves kis madárka — kapta, aki nevéhez méltóan röpködött a korlátfák között, bemutatta a Korbut-szaltót is és teljesen megérdemelteti kapta ezt a magas pontszámot.

Here’s what Zinke had to say about her routine.

“The 9.90 was my best score so far. I had trouble holding back my tears of joy,” commented the 15-year-old high school student from SC Dynamo Berlin, who comes from Lauchhammer-Ost. Her greatest success to date was a second place at this year’s GDR all-around championships. 

Neues Deutschland, October 25, 1974

„Die 9,90 waren meine bisher beste Wertung. Ich hatte Mühe, meine Freudentränen zu bremsen”, kommentierte die aus Lauchhammer-Ost stammende 15jährige Oberschülerin vom SC Dynamo Berlin. Ihr bis dahin größter Erfolg war ein zweiter Platz bei den diesjährigen DDR-Meisterschaften im Mehrkampf.

Note: She scored a 9.95 on bars during the all-around final.

The East German team scored higher on bars than the Soviet team.

In the previous shift, GDR athletes showed a brilliant performance. Their scores did not get below 9.3; on uneven bars, they even reached 9.9. It was young Annelore Zinke who showed something stunning — the “Korbut loop” in one direction, and then directly in the other. It was, let’s call it; “Zinke’s figure eight.” Looking ahead, I will just say that uneven bars was the only apparatus that our team lost to the German gymnasts that evening. 48.1 against 48.45 – that was the score. Calculate the average from five scores, and you will see at what astronomic level the fight was unrolling.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

В предыдущей смене блеснули спортсменки ГДР. Их зачетные оценке не падали ниже 9,3, а на брусьях вэлетели до 9,9. Это юная Аннелоре Цинке показала нечто сногсшибательное — «петлю Корбут» в одну сторону, и тут же — в другую. Получилась, так сказать, «восьмерка Цинке». Забегая вперед, скажу, что брусья —  единственный снаряд, который в тот вечер наши немецким гимнасткам проиграли. 48,1:48,45 — такой счет. Попробуйте подсчитать среднюю из пяти оценок, и вы поймете, на каком «космическом» уровне шла борьба.

Note: The Soviet and East German teams were in different sessions.

Sovetsky Sport had mixed reviews of the East German team on beam.

The GDR athletes’ performance on the balance beam was also great, although I must say that in this team, such masters of this apparatus as Erica Zuchold or, for example, Rita Schmidt, used to show more interesting routines.

Sovetsky Sport, no. 251, 1974

Отлично смотрелись спортсменки ГДР и на бревне, хотя замечу, что прежде, в этой команде такие мастера этого снаряда, как Эрика Цухольд или, например, Рита Шмидт, показывали комбинации и поинтереснее.

In sum, here’s how the Swiss press described the difference between the Soviets and East Germans.

What fundamentally distinguishes the East Germans from their rivals from the Soviet Union is the lack of grace and femininity, which are only able to create a work of art out of the artistic performance.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 474, 25 October 1974

Was die Ostdeutschen grundsätzlich von ihren Rivalinnen aus der Sowjetunion unterscheidet, sind die fehlende Anmut und Weiblichkeit, die erst aus der artistischen Leistung ein Kunstwerk zu gestalten vermögen.


During compulsories, the Hungarians started on bars

The last four teams emerged: The Soviet Union, Hungary, Japan and Czechoslovakia. When it comes to the points, we were only paying attention to our girls and the Czechoslovaks. The Hungarian team started marvelously on uneven bars: with 46.75 point they had the best result out of all the other teams. Bánfai started out with 9 points. Then the number of points has only risen: Matulay, Egervári and Nagy provided a very nice stepping point for Császár (9.55) and Medveczky (9.6). With this, not only did our girls secure the points, the psychological impact, and a good start, but our two best contestants finally secured their way to the finals on this apparatus. 

Népsport, October 23, 1974, no. 249

Bevonult az utolsó négy csapat: Szovjetunió, Magyarország, Japán, Csehszlovákia. A pontszámokat tekintve a mieinken kívül elsősorban a csehszlovákokra figyeltünk. A magyar csapat nagyszerűen kezdett a felemáskorláton: 46.75- tel a harmadik legjobb eredményt érte el valamennyi csapat között. Bánfai 9 ponttal indította az együttest. Ezután egyenes vonalban emelkedtek az értékek: Matulay, Egervári és Nagy szépen építette a lépcsőt Császárnak (9.55) és Medveczkynek (9.6). Ezzel nemcsak a csapatversenyben biztosították maguknak lányaink a pontszámot, a lélektani hatást és a jó rajtot, de két legjobb versenyzőnknek ezen a szeren megnyílt az út a döntőbe. 

The Hungarian team was strong on beam, but floor was a struggle for them.

Dangerous apparatus, the beam was next. Nobody made an error. It is something that apart from the Soviet team nobody else can claim. We were already calculating that maybe we could even ‘catch’ the West German team but then came two apparatus that are not our strong points. We got an especially low score on the floor (Császár was the best with 9.3) and while we had an advantage of 1.35 points over the Czechoslovaks, and we left the Romanians behind as well, there was still cause for excitement. We started on vault, while the Czechoslovaks were getting ready for uneven bars. Our score did not soar high, but the Czechoslovaks could not get more points on bars, thus Hungary’s women’s team is in third place behind the teams of the Soviet Union and East Germany.

Népsport, October 23, 1974, no. 249

Veszélyes szer, a gerenda következett. Senki sem rontott, amit a szovjet csapaton kívül más együttes nem mondhat el magáról! Bár már azt számolgattuk, nem lehet-e az NDK-belieket „elkapni”, de ezután két gyengébb szerünk következett. Különösen a talajon kaptunk alacsony értékeket (Császár 9,3-mal jutott legmesszebb) és bár ekkor már 1.35 ponttal vezettünk a csehszlovákokkal szemben, s a románokkal szemben is alaposan javunkra billent a mérleg, még lehetett egy kicsit izgulni. Mi a lóugráshoz, a csehszlovák lányok a felemáskorláthoz vonultak. Pontszámaink nem ugrottak magasra, a csehszlovákok mégsem hoztak rajtunk a korláton, így az előírt gyakorlatok bemutatása után Magyarország női csapata a Szovjetunió és az NDK együttese mögött a harmadik helyen áll. 

It’s interesting to note that, at this point, the Hungarians thought that the Czechoslovaks were their biggest challengers. After optionals, their tune would change, and they would see Romania as their stiffest competition.

The Hungarian team almost threw away the bronze medal on balance beam.

Medvezcky with her 9.50 score [on bars] did everything in her power to keep this position, Császár however got stuck in the middle of her exercise. Due to this error, she only got 9.15 and thus she was out of the fight for the finals. After this, the girls also gave us a fright as they were competing poorly on the balance beam. After three bad routines, we thought that there was no more chance for the team bronze. On balance beam, we had only 44.45 points. On floor, things started getting better. Matulai started out with 9.3 and finally they got 47.40 points. Now we were out of the danger zone. With vault, they consolidated their place on the podium, especially when Császár landed her vault. So, we managed to solve this hard task. The Hungarian female team reached their goal and defended the rank they won at the Olympics. 

Népsport, October 24, 1974, no. 250

Medveczky 9.50-nel meg is tett mindent, hogy megtartsa ezt a pozícióját, Császár azonban elakadt a gyakorlata közepén. Hibája miatt csak 9.15-öt kapott és ezzel kiesett a döntőbe jutásért folyó küzdelemből. Ezután ugyancsak ránk ijesztettek a lányok, mert a gerendán váratlanul indiszponáltan versenyeztek. Három rontott gyakorlatuk után már-már azt hittük, hogy a csapat-bronzérem is elúszik. Gerendán csupán 44.45 pontot gyűjtöttünk. Talajon már kezdtünk fellélegezni. Matulai 9.3-mal indította a csapatot és végül 47.40 pontot szereztek, és ezzel már elmúlt fejünk fölül a „veszedelem”. Az ugrásban végleg megszilárdították helyüket a dobogón, amikor Császár sikeresen beleállt ugrásába. Sikerült tehát a nagyon nehéz feladatot megoldani, a magyar női csapat elérte a maga elé tűzött célt, megvédte az olimpián kivívott helyét a dobogón. 

Kim (URS) and Medvezcky (HUN) had the same score on bars, but Kim made it to the finals because her all-around score was higher.

Although they did not manage to reach their other goal. And that was to reach the apparatus finals. Medvezcky stood to it the closest on uneven bars. She was sixth together with the Soviet Kim. But since her all-around score was lower than Kim’s she can only be a reserve. (At the time of my report this was based only on my own calculations as we do not currently have an official list of the finalists.) 

Népsport, October 24, 1974, no. 250
Üröm az örömben, hogy a másik célt, azt, hogy a szerenkénti döntőbe is bekerüljenek, sajnos, nem sikerült elérni. Medveczky állt hozzá a legközelebb a felemáskorláton, ahol a szovjet Kimmel holtversenyben hatodik lett. De mivel az összetettben Kimnél hátrább áll, csak tartalék lehet. (Tudósításom adásakor ez csak magánszámítások eredménye, mert a döntőbe kerültekről nincs még hivatalos listánk.) 

Here’s how Ágnes Bánfai summarized her feelings after missing the 1972 Olympics:

It’s only a brief moment when someone steps up to the podium at the World Championships. But what a moment it is! This is how Ágnes Bánfai, the captain of our bronze-winning women’s team, recalls it.

“It’s great to be sitting up there,” She quipped, though there was a glint of emotion in her eyes. “For me, the joy of the team comes with a generous sprinkling of personal happiness, as fate compensated me a bit for being injured just a week before the Olympics during our preparations for the trip. Afterwards, I pondered a lot whether I should commit to two more years of strenuous training and give it another shot with the national team. However, once I made that decision, the fatigue, injuries, and pain didn’t matter anymore.”

Népsport, October 27, 1974, no. 253
Az is csak egy pillanat, amíg valaki fellép a világbajnoki dobogóra. De micsoda pillanat! Bánfai Ágnes, női bronzérmes gárdánk csapatkapitánya így emlékezik erre. 
— Jó dolog ott fenn ücsörögni — mondta tréfásan, de közben a szeme gyanúsan csillogott. — Nekem a csapatboldogsághoz még járul egy nagy adag egyéni boldogság is, hiszen kárpótoltkicsit a sors azért, hogy azolimpiára készülve, egy héttel azutazás előtt megsérültem. Sokat tépelődtem utána, vállaljak-e még két évi kemény munkát és próbáljak-e bekerülni a válogatott csapatba. De attól a pillanattól fogva, hogy elhatároztam magamat, nem számított fáradtság, sérelem, fájdalom. 

The Swiss press thought that the Hungarians came close to the ideal.

The bronze medal was won, as in Munich, by the Hungarians, who with their straightforward gymnastic stance and feminine charisma probably come closest to the objective in women’s artistic gymnastics.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 474, 25 October 1974

Die Bronzemedaille gewannen wie in München die Ungarinnen, die mit ihrer schnörkellosen turnerischen Haltung und der femininen Ausstrahlung der Zielsetzung im Damenkunstturnen wohl am nächsten kommen. 


The Hungarian press was already looking to the future. They knew that the Romanians could challenge them and upend the status quo.

The Romanian team presented reliable, experienced competitors accustomed to the atmosphere of world competitions. Indeed, we need to keep a close eye on our neighbors in the future! We are aware of the fact that they have some fantastic young athletes who were simply not included in the team because they are only thirteen years old. (For example, Nadia Comăneci, who has already won the Junior Friendship Tournament!) Once these talented athletes, who already possess substantial routines, are added to the team, the Romanians could pose a significant threat to us!

Népsport, November 1, 1974, no. 257

 A román csapat megbízható, tapasztalt, világversenyek légköréhez szokott versenyzőkkel lépett a küzdőtérre. Bizony, árgus szemekkel kell figyelnünk szomszédamkat a jövőben! Mert tudjuk, tornászik náluk néhány olyan nagyszerű, fiatal versenyző, akiket most egyszerűen azért nem tettek a csapatba, mert még csak tizenhárom évesek. (Például Nadja Comanici, aki már nyert Ifjúsági Barátság Versenyt is!) Ha ezekkel a máris nagy gyakorlatanyaggal rendelkező tehetségekkel felfrissítik a csapatot, a románok igen veszélyesek lehetnek ránk nézve!

The Romanian press was pleased with the team’s fourth-place finish.

After the bronze medal won in 1958 at the World Championship in Moscow, in the team competition, the balance sheet in Varna obviously represents a nice success of our female gymnastics, and it is appreciated as such. These results were possible due to the seriousness and responsibility with which the specialized federation has pursued, in the last two years, the selection and preparation of the representative lot, of the competence and skill shown by the coaches designated to conduct the actual training of gymnasts.

Sportul, November 7, 1974

După medalia de bronz cucerită în 1958 la C.M. de la Moscova, în concursul pe echipe, bilanțul de la Varna reprezintă, evident, un frumos succes al gimnasticii noastre feminine și el trece apreciat ca atare. Aceste rezultate au fost posibile datorită seriozității și răspunderii cu care federația de specialitate a urmărit, în ultimii doi ani, selecția și pregătirea lotului reprezentativ, a competenței și priceperii de care au dat dovadă antrenorii desemnați să conducă pregătirea propriu-zisă a gimnastelor.

But there was room for improvement, especially on compulsories. (Of course, there’s historical irony in this paragraph because Comăneci scored a 10.0 in Montreal during compulsories.)

And yet, we will not praise our gymnasts beyond measure. Because, objectively appreciating their performance, we can say that they could have returned home with two medals! No, there is no exaggeration in our statement and here’s why. As in their previous participation in large-scale competitions, our female team approached the compulsory program with shyness, as if fearful of the importance of the contest. Indeed, there have been no important failures, or falls from the apparatuses. It is more about the general presentation of the Romanian gymnasts, about the way they have used their technical training. From this point of view, our team have obviously performed below the level of their value and training. Thus, after the first day, Romanian team were ranked 5th among nations, four points from that of the Hungary, the main candidate for the bronze medal. And unfortunately, this difference would have proven decisive, although on the second day, for the optional exercises, our girls were very close to producing a sensational twist of situations. Indeed, Alina Goreac, Anca Grigoras, and the other members of our team have made the best contest of their sports activity, delighting the audience with their exercises, rich in content, and, with many elements of great difficulty, excellently presented. With each apparatus, the Romanian team were getting closer and closer to the Hungarian team and, finally, only 1.30 points separated our girls from the third place of the world podium! This aspect is highlighted even more strongly by our team scores in the two days: 180.85 for the compulsory exercises, 188.45 for the optional ones! And then, let’s not forget that Alina Goreac was ranked 4th in the final, only five hundredths away from the bronze medal!

Sportul, November 7, 1974

Și totuși, nu le vom lăuda peste măsură pe gimnastele noastre. Pentru că, apreciind în mod obiectiv evoluția lor, vom spune descris că ele se puteau înapoia  acasă cu două medalii ! Nu, nu este nici o exagerare in afirmația noastră și iată de ce. Ca și în precedentele ei participări în competiții de mare anvergură, echipa noastră feminină a abordat cu timiditate programul impus, fiind parcă timorată de importanța concursului. Este adevărat, nu s-au înregistrat mari ratări, sau căderi de pe aparate. E vorba mai mult de prezentarea generală a gimnastelor românce, de modul în care ele și-au valorificat pregătirea tehnică. Din acest punct de vedere, echipa noastră a evoluat, evident, sub nivelul valorii și pregătirii sale. Aceasta afăcut ca, după prima zi, selecționata României să se afle pe locul 5 în clasamentul pe națiuni, la patru puncte de cea a R.P. Ungare, principala candidată la medalia de bronz. Și din păcate, această diferență avea să se dovedească decisivă, deși în ziua a doua, la exercițiile liber alese, fetele noastre au fost foarte aproape de a produce o senzațională răsturnare de situații. Intr-adevăr, Alina Goreac, Anca Grigoraș și celelalte componente ale echipei noastre au făcut cel mai bun concurs din activitatea lor sportivă, încintînd publicul cu exercițiile, lor bogate in conținut, cu multe elemente de mare dificultate, excelent prezentate. Cu fiecare aparat, selecționata României se apropia tot mai mult de echipa Ungariei și, in final, doar 1,30 p le-a despărțit pe fetele noastre de treapta a treia a podiumului mondial ! Acest aspect este subliniat și mai pregnant de punctajele echipei noastre în cele două zile : 180,85 la exercițiile impuse, 188,45 la cele liber alese ! Și apoi, să nu uităm că în finala de la sărituri Alina Goreac s-a clasat pe locul 4, doar la cinci sutimi de medalia de bronz!

Not mentioned in the press anywhere: Dobre’s layout stepout on beam.

Aurelia Dobre, layout stepout on beam

Gymnast identified via the number in the background. USGF News, Dec. 1974, lists Aurelia Dobre’s number as 170. (Note: This is not the same Aurelia Dobre who won the all-around in 1987. Same name, different gymnasts.)

Video from Hardy Fink


The U.S. team felt that the judges were harsh on them during compulsories.

On Oct. 21st., the American women prepared for the compulsory competition. They were joined with East Germany, Rumania, and West Germany, in the evening session. The USA started from the uneven bars, and it was felt that judging was hard on us. Even the Japanese felt the same. Dunbar was definitely underscored at 8.95. On the beam, we started off badly with a fall, Rice lost balance a couple of times. Anderson did very well and only received 8.9. This was our weakest event of the evening. Going into the floor exercise, Carr did well with a score of 8.95 after which the others all made it in the 9’s. This was our best event. Then Howard started on the vaulting with a 8.9 followed by three additional 8.9’s. Fike received an 9.05 and ended with Dunbar with 9.15 being underscored again.

Frank Endo, Gymnast, Dec. 1974

It was rumored that Yuri Titov had acted as a puppeteer. 

The Americans and the Japanese ended up only 0.4 apart when the compulsories ended. The American and Japanese delegations heard rumors that Titov of the USSR, had informed all of the communist judges to keep the scores down on the Japanese and Americans. Although the scores were lowered none of the FIG authorities did anything about it.

Frank Endo, Gymnast, Dec. 1974

Note: Korbut also accused Titov of arranging the results at the 1974 World Championships.

During the optionals, the audience protested Ann Carr’s Tsukahara for quite some time.

The West German’s incredibly good team on the floor, the Canadian’s amazing choreography, the young Polish team’s bravery was worth the attention — the security is not the best yet —, but the biggest surprise was caused by the American girls. Although they were not the best at the compulsory exercises but as far as the optioanl exercises were concerned, they carried those out wonderfully. They were especially remarkable on floor (Dunbar 9.6) and vault. The American Carr did a Tsukahara and got “only” 9.4 for it. The audience was roaring for 15 minutes, the Americans protested. It was declined but the audience needed time to calm down.

Népsport, October 24, 1974, no. 250

Feltűnő volt a nyugatnémetek nagyszerűen a jó gárdája a talajon, a kanadaiak remek koreográfiája, a fiatal lengyel csapat bátorsága — a biztonsággal persze még baj van —, de a legnagyobb meglepetést az amerikai lányok okozták. Az előírtakban ugyan halványabbak voltak, de a szabadon választottban érett, nagyszerű tornát mutattak be. Különösen talajon (Dunbar 9.6) és ugrásban remekeltek. Az amerikai Carl Cukaharát ugrott és „csak” 9.4-et kapott érte. A közönség 15 percig tombolt, az amerikaiak óvtak. Az óvást elutasították, de a kedélyek csak lassan nyugodtak meg.

The Swiss press also felt that Carr’s score was much too low, and it worried that the divide between East and West would continue to grow.

On the other hand, the Dutch and the Americans, who had to suffer especially from the chauvinistic scoring of the judges from the Eastern bloc, dropped three places. Unfairness reached its peak on vault, when Carr received a mere 9.40 points for her masterful “Tsukahara.” This score triggered a twenty-minute deafening protest in the stands, so that the competition had to be interrupted. The Canadian judge had given the appropriate score of 9.60, the Romanian 9.30, the Czechoslovakian censor 9.40 and, unfortunately, the West German one as well. The fact that the head judge from Italy did not intervene here confirmed the bad opinion that some people had formed about her not only now. It was simply a scandal, and if the FIG does not now see to the right after the experiences in Munich and Varna, it must be feared that the results will be manipulated even more by the Eastern bloc in the future.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Number 474, 25 October 1974

Drei Ränge sind dagegen die Holländerinnen und die Amerikanerinnen, die besonders unter der chauvinistischen Taxation der Kampfrichterinnen aus dem Ostblock zu leiden hatten, zurückgefallen. Den Gipfel erreichte die Unfairness im Pferdspringen, als Carr für ihren meisterhaften «Tsukahara» lediglich 9,40 Punkte erhielt. Diese Bewertung löste einen zwanzigminütigen ohrenbetäubenden Protest auf den Rängen aus, so daß die Wettkämpfe unterbrochen werden mußten. Die kanadische Kampfrichterin hatte die angemessene Note 9,60 gegeben, mit 9,30 bewertete die Rumänin, mit 9,40 die tschechoslowakische Zensorin und bedauerlicherweise auch die westdeutsche. Daß die Oberkampfrichterin aus Italien hier nicht einschritt, bestätigte die schlechte Meinung, die sich mancher nicht erst jetzt über sie gebildet hatte. Es war schlicht und einfach ein Skandal, und wenn der ITB nach den Erfahrungen in München und Varna jetzt nicht zum Rechten sieht, muß befürchtet werden, die Ergebnisse würden in Zukunft noch vermehrt vom Ostblock manipuliert.

Valerie Nagy, the president of the Women’s Technical Committee, was highly involved in the judging.

The judging at the Eighteenth World Championships at Varna will, I think, be remembered as the worst the United States has ever suffered. We were caught between the solidarity of the communist countries and the determination of Madame Nagy to see to it that Hungary won the third spot. We had no counter-plan of our own; we were like lambs led to the slaughter.

Madame Nagy’s determination on behalf of the Hungarian team was evident whenever that team was on the floor. As President of the Women’s Technical Committee of the F.I.G., she was senior judge present on the floor and was in telephone communication with all her judges. Frequent phone calls were especially noticeable during Hungarian performances and more than one score was seen to have been raised.

Minot Simons II, Gymnast, December 1974

Note: Nagy’s predecessor, Berthe Villancher, also intervened frequently during competitions. However, for many, the difference was that Villancher was from France, and France, unlike Hungary, was not a major medal contender.

Reportedly, Joan Rice was knocked out of the floor finals thanks to a judging controversy.

During the floor exercise of the thirty-six, both Joan Rice and Nina Dronova of the Soviet Union scored 9.7. Their averages from the previous nights’ competitions were also the same. Consequently, they were tied and it happened that they were tied at sixth place. This would have admitted Joanie to the finals of the floor exercise on the last night. Madame Demidenko of the Soviet Union, the Superior Judge, actually called one of the judges over and instructed her to raise Dronova’s score. This was done. Dronova placed sixth in floor and Joanie, seventh; she was, therefore, knocked out of the finals. Our own judge, Delene Darst, was one of the floor exercise judges and so witnessed this whole proceeding.

Minot Simons II, Gymnast, December 1974


I was very pleased with the work of our team in preparation for the Championships. Our girls worked very hard for the ten days they were in Czechoslovakia prior to the Championships. We benefited from advice from a number of Czech coaches and Anna Kraus was particularly helpful.

In the competition our team performance was good in four events, acceptable in two events and poor in two events-these being set beam and set vault.

It was disappointing to lose Jill Fraser from the team prior to the competition through injury, but her replacement, Wanita Lynch, did very well with her score counting on five occasions. In the end our team finished 21st out of 22 teams beating Sweden.


Australia needs a large-scale programme with far more financial assistance in order to stay in touch with world standards. Our gymnasts have potential which is not fully realised due to lack of International Competitive experience.

Val Roberts, Australian Gymnast, Dec. 1974

Appendix: Assessments of Every Team

Dr. Josef Göhler, Vice President of the West German Gymnastics Federation at the time, wrote a piece for Olympische Turnkunst (no. 12, 1974) that was reprinted in Gymnast magazine (Jan. 1975). In it, he gives quick impressions of each team.

USSR; Never has there been a team to equal this one, never such a beautiful one. Never have gymnasts imitated and surpassed the best dancers as at the optional floor exercises, of this world ocmpetition in Varna. The USSR women gymnasts are in a world by themselves.

DDR (East Germany); Except for Angelika Hellmann, the girls offered indeed technical perfect exercises, but where was the cheerfulllness and easiness, where was the art? Their technique brought points, but it appeared cold. Maybe, the girls were still too young. Annelore Zinke, 15 years old, a blessed talent.

Hungary; only Czaszar and Medvecky are really world class, all the others not better than the gross of the USA elite. But the points came readily to them. Respect must be given for the achievement to have replaced Aniko Kery and Ilona Bekesi in two years.

Romania; It is close to a miracle how many points Romanias female gymnasts could score in their optionals: 188.45 that means 7.60 more than in compulsories. Goreac and Grigoras are very good, but the others blended in.

CSSR; is on the rise again with a young team. The Matlachovas as coaches had to do without Stodulkova, who is doing the first double somersault backward in competition.

Japan; they would have probably gotten still one to two more points with Ueno; but in all the Japanese were not that strong. The famous Matsuda Yamachita as coach, will offer some surprises.

USA; without the depressing mistakes in compulsory exercises in the coming years the sympathetic, and in their attitude, exemplary team of the USA would not have made so many mistakes in their optionals. The level of feamle [sic] gymnastics in the USA could be seen in the finals with Joan Moore Rice, when she got 37.900 points. In the finals where no teams performed, but only mixed teams, all of a sudden the American girls also got scores. Too bad, that Janette Anderson had so little luck. For Diane Dunbar, the finals were a personal success: second in optionals from the 21st position.

West Germany; with an average age of 16.5 years was too young. Until balance beam they were even with Japan and pressed even Romania, the CSSR, and Hungary. The team should stay together till Montreal 1976.

Bulgaria; Even better than the men’s team of the host country, the female gymnasts showed nothing surprising. Even though the female gymnasts of Poland were a little better, they scored [fewer] points. With ages ranging from 16 to 20 the Polish team was a homogeneous unit, still it lacked a top gymnast to attract attention, which would have helped the other gymnasts also.

Canada; Female gymnasts were cause for some conversation among the experts in Varna. One is sure that at this rate of progress until Montreal that they will be a strong team. The 14-year-old Rope, is an [O]lympic hopeful.

Netherlands; Without the second best female gymnast van Rivenstijn the possibilities of a better middle finish were not good. On the low-scopes of Ans Smulders one could see, how difficult it was for the early starting Hollandish girls to come to a higher point total. Performing in a later group the girls from the Neatherlands [sic] easily could have reached the point total of Poland.

Italy; That Maria Gracia Toso had to be replaced by the only 14-year-old Bucci cost the Italian girls a good two points. Surprisingly weak were the optional bar performances where they had sensational notes at the [O]lympic [G]ames 1972.

France; Young female gymnasts were much better at optionals than at compulsories. Replacement gymnast Baumgart (for the younger Audin) was too weak.

Switzerland; Handicapped starting in a earlier group, and by the absence of the injured Patricia Bazzi, the young team lost its nerves and performed far under its normal total. Coach Martschini was deeply disappointecd.

Norway; The team wasa little too old and did not reach quite the ability of the Norwiegan Olympic team of 1972. Nevertheless a fine achievement for that small country.

Great Britain; Bartlett instead of Parkinson, that meant a loss of 4 full points. Compared to Munich 1972 the progress is extraordinary.

Yugoslavia; Only Nataša Bajin Šljepica could reach the international level. No progress.

Belgium; put up a complete team for the first time, this already is gratifying progress. The team is still very young, the average age not quite 16.

Spain; At optionals 5 points better than at compulsories. Also first time they had a full team. Average age 17 years.

Australia; In spite of substitute gymnasts, an encouraging team effort. The size of the country hinders intensive care of the talents.

Sweden; It is a riddle, that with the high level of gymnastic culture in this country the number of the female gymnasts is so small. In 1950 Sweden was world champion at group gymnasties, today they adorn last place in the world championships.

More on 1974

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.