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1950 FIG Bulletin FIG Congress

1950: The 29th FIG Congress and the Attempt to Get Rid of Pommel Horse

Do you wish that pommel horse weren’t a part of men’s artistic gymnastics? If Sweden had its way in 1950, the apparatus would be gone.

Do you wish that men would use floor music? Hungary and Poland wanted that to happen in 1950.

Do you wish that women still competed on flying rings? Well, you have several federations to blame for that.

Oh, and you have Hungary to thank for the size of today’s floor exercise.

Let’s dive into the details of the 1950 FIG Congress.

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1950 World Championships

1950: Hungary Attempted to Bar Yugoslavia from Competing at Worlds

Even before the 1950 World Championships started, there was drama at the World Championships. Hungary was supposed to send a large delegation of gymnasts, but they didn’t. Instead, a small group of officials reportedly came and tried to bar Yugoslavia from competing.

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1950 MAG WAG World Championships

1950: A Preview of the World Championships in Basel

Competition previews are a tried and true genre of gymnastics sports writing. They give you a snapshot of who are the favorites, how certain countries’ gymnasts are perceived, and what the supposed expectations of the judges are. Plus, they are fun to read after the competition and see how much the author got right and wrong.

Let’s take a look at the preview for the 1950 World Championships in Basel, Switzerland. It was written by Jean A. Latte and was printed in the French Moroccan newspaper La Vigie Marocaine on July 7, 1950.

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1903 WAG World Championships

1903: Women’s Gymnastics at the First World Championships

Female gymnasts did not compete in the International Tournament or in the Belgian Federal Festival. But they did perform, and according to the newspaper reports, they were crowd favorites. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at those newspaper reports, as well as some of the challenges facing women’s gymnastics in fin-de-siècle western European society.

Note: I’m going to refer to it as “women’s gymnastics” in this post, but we won’t be discussing the performances of adult women. Rather, the gymnasts were typically young girls.

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1903 MAG World Championships

1903: Men’s Gymnastics at the First World Championships

I’ve covered the first Olympic Games in Athens. Now, it’s time to discuss the first World Championships, which were held in Antwerp.

First things first, the competition wasn’t called a world championship at the time. It was referred to as the International Gymnastics Tournament (“Tournoi International de Gymnastique” in French or “Internationale Turntornooi” in Dutch). The competition was held in conjunction with the Belgian Federal Festival, August 14-18, 1903.

The French team in La Vie au grand air, August 21, 1903; De Jaegher is the one on the high bar.

Note: I’ll refer to an article written by Pierre Hentgès, Sr. in this post. If you don’t know who he is, he was a Luxembourgish gymnast who competed at the 1912 Olympics. He later became the President of the Men’s Technical Committee of the FIG in 1954.

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1896 19th Century FIG Congress

1896: The Minutes from the Second FIG Congress

What did the FIG discuss at its congress in 1896?

Here are the extant minutes from the meeting — as printed in Le Gymnaste, December 12, 1896.

Note: It wasn’t called the FIG at that point, nor was it called a Congress. What transpired was a meeting of the European Federations of Gymnastics (Fédérations européennes de gymnastique).

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1896 19th Century MAG Olympics

1896: Gymnastics at the Olympic Games

Nowadays, we see the Olympic Games as the pinnacle of sports, and we have romanticized the first modern Olympics in Athens.

But, to understand the gymnastics competition at the 1896 Olympic Games, we need to set aside those notions.

By and large, the gymnastics community didn’t see the first Olympic Games as a glorious revival of an ancient tradition. In fact, most of the European gymnastics federations turned down their invitations.

Weingärtner
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1964 Code of Points

1964: The Women’s Code of Points

The 1964 Code of Points was the second Code for women’s gymnastics. You can read the document in its entirety at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, here are a few notes…

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1965 China

1965: Gymnastics at China’s Second National Games

In 1964, the People’s Republic of China did not compete at the Olympic Games, and the Chinese Gymnastics Association withdrew from the FIG. One year later, the country held its Second National Games, and the results make you wonder, “How would the Chinese gymnasts have fared at the Tokyo Games (1964) and the Dortmund World Championships (1966)?”

Let’s dive in.

Liao Runtian
Source: Wikipedia
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1964 China FIG Congress

1964: China’s Withdrawal from the FIG

In my post about the 1964 Olympic Games, I mentioned China’s withdrawal from the FIG. Over the holidays, I was able to find the official statement from the Gymnastics Association of the People’s Republic of China.

Below, you can find a translation, as well as the original in Chinese.