1972 FIG Bulletin WAG

1972: The Women’s Technical Committee’s Report on the Munich Olympics

In 1972, Berthe Villancher stepped down as the president of the Women’s Technical Committee (WTC), but she gave one final report on the Olympic Games in Munich. 

All in all, she was pleased with the progress on floor and uneven bars. Vault was a different story. She was the most worried about this apparatus, noting that it had fallen into a “rut” and that the WTC would need to study that apparatus closely.

Reminder #1: The WTC followed through. Prior to the 1974 World Championships, the WTC changed the requirements for vault finals — as did the 1975 Code of Points.

Reminder #2: Men’s gymnastics had its own vaulting crisis after the 1968 Olympics.

As for the judging in Munich, Villancher felt that there was partiality shown towards gymnasts with “a name,” and she alluded to the emotional nature of the women’s uneven bars final. 

My thought bubble: The emotional nature of the uneven bars final could be a veiled reference to the tight competition between Janz and Korbut and to what some believed was the impartiality of Sylvia Hlavacek, who, according to the Soviet press, was to be sanctioned after the competition. (If she was sanctioned, it did not last long, as Hlavacek was a judge at the 1974 World Championships.)

Tourischeva, 1972 Olympics

Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Competitions
Olympic Games – Munich 1972

Technical Report

Nineteen teams and one mixed team took part in the Olympic Games at Munich, i.e. 118 gymnasts representing 23 federations.

Technical Standard

Showed constant progress in the floor exercises and at the asymetric [sic] bars, those being the most spectacular disciplines.

Floor exercises

The variety and richness of the general composition showed off to its best advantage a high standard in the acrobatic sector, the whole being underlined by musical accompaniment far better thought out and adapted to the exercises than was previously the case.

It must, however, be stressed that there are still a good number of gymnasts who are neglecting the liaison work in favor of acrobatics.

There are too many small movements without significance, amplitude, or expression.

The floor exercise is a self-contained whole, planned down to the last detail and adapted to each gymnast — and not a mish-mash of movements selected at random from the films made of each big competition.

Asymetric [sic] bars 

Here, daring competed with grace, precision and a lightness that transformed the most difficult exercises into a kind of aerial ballet suspended between two hands.


The progress here was not so brilliant and should preoccupy [i.e. worry] the WTC. A study is necessary to get vaulting out of the rut into which it has settled, an[d] to oblige the gymnasts to improve their technique.


With regard to the exercises at the beam, they remained static in spite of tremendous efforts and they rid becoming even more so if the floor exercises continue to be exploited on this apparatus. This necessitates the systematic use of chopped off bits of exercises which impair the general composition and run the risk of causing serious accidents, while numerous elements of moderate and greater difficulty would afford an exercise of a high standard, smoothly continuous, lively and of a generally full and rich character which is entirely lacking at present.


Good on the whole, perfect in the case of the compulsory exercises, more subtle during the voluntary exercises where it leaves an opening for errors which must be carefully kept an eye on.

  1. The judges tend to minimize the technical faults made by gymnasts with a name.
  2. Certain judges, fortunately not very numerous, increase the penalties for the faults made by gymnasts of a high standard.


After a certain amount of initial difficulty with was soon smoothed over, everything possible was done to ensure a well-deserved success and the competition went off without a hitch in an atmosphere of enthusiasm before an objective audience which lost its sense of reality only during the finals at the asymmetric bars. Here, a degree of emotion was evinced that the judges had neither the right nor the duty to share.

The Secretariat functioned smoothly and promptly.

All the collaborators of the Organizatory Committee performed their tasks conscientiously and in a friendly manner and for this the Women’s Technical Committee would like to express their most sincere thanks. 

The success of a manifestation such as this is the result of a high degree of team work and this was present in Munich — co-ordinated, attentive, fully conscious of the great responsibility.

Our thanks to everyone — it was no easy task but the wonderful days we shared and the brilliant demonstration of gymnastics was a worthy recompense.

Berthe Villancher

FIG Bulletin of Information, no. 4, 1972

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