1964 Hungary Interviews & Profiles WAG

1964: Anikó Ducza on Training for the Olympics after Giving Birth

At the 1962 World Championships, Anikó Ducza won a bronze medal on balance beam. Then, she had a child, which made her question whether she would be able to make Hungary’s 1964 team for the Olympics. Not only did she make the team, but she won a bronze medal on floor in Tokyo.

In the lead-up to the 1964 Olympics, Hungarian newspapers ran several interviews with her and her husband, who was a volleyball player for Hungary. The two articles below offer a glimpse into the challenges and doubts of a mother returning to gymnastics.

1958 1960 1962 1964 1966 Books MAG USSR

Shakhlin on His Career from the 1958 Worlds through the 1966 Worlds

In the penultimate chapter of his autobiography, Boris Shakhlin takes us from the 1958 World Championships in Moscow to the 1966 World Championships in Dortmund. Along the way, he gives us a glimpse into his tactics as a competitor — ways that he and his teammates tried to throw their competitors off their game. He also shares little tidbits of information. For example, did you know that Soviet athletes received one cake for each gold medal that they won?

Here’s a translation of the fourth chapter of Shakhlin’s book.

Left-right: Takashi Ono, Yuri Titov, Boris Shakhlin at the 1960 Olympics . 1960. Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano.
1964 Age USSR WAG

1964: Petrik Defeats Latynina at the Soviet Championships

From 1956 until 1962, Larisa Latynina seemed unstoppable. She won the all-around at every major gymnastics competition: the 1956 Olympics, the 1957 Europeans, the 1958 World Championships, the 1959 Europeans, the 1960 Olympics, the 1961 Europeans, and the 1962 World Championships. (The Soviet Union did not participate in the 1963 Europeans.)

But her luck changed in 1964 when Věra Čáslavská won the all-around gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, and Latynina had to settle for silver.

After the Olympics, just a few days shy of her 30th birthday, Latynina had to settle for silver once again at the USSR Championships. This time, she lost to 15-year-old Larisa Petrik, a gymnast half her age.

This was a watershed moment in the history of women’s gymnastics — not simply because it marked the beginning of the end of Latynina’s dominance but also because it marked a shift in women’s gymnastics toward younger gymnasts. 

While there had been teenagers at major international competitions after World War II — 16-year-old Čáslavská, for example, became a crowd favorite when she won team silver at the 1958 World Championships — Petrik’s victory was different. The Soviet Union was the indisputable leader in women’s gymnastics, and for over a decade, their teams had relied primarily on adult women. Then, in 1964, a teenager became the best gymnast in the country and was victorious over someone who had seemed unbeatable internationally for years.

Note: From 1956 until 1962, there were several domestic competitions that Latynina did not win, including the USSR Championships. But this was the first time that she lost to a gymnast half her age.

The news of Petrik’s win made headlines in many of the Soviet Union’s prominent newspapers. In this post, we’ll look at some of those news accounts from December 1964.

Note: For men’s gymnastics fans, don’t worry; the news articles do touch upon the men’s competition, as well.

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…

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.

1964 Olympics

1964: The Cold War and the U.S. Quest to Be Winners

Even before the U.S. selected its teams for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, American politicians were concerned about the nation’s performance.

After the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, Senator Humphrey of Minnesota wanted to create a “White House Commission of Sports.”

Why? Because the Soviets were kicking our asses, and it was not a good look for the United States because Americans were winners. 

He didn’t actually say that. Here’s what he did say:

1964 Gym Nerd Trivia Olympics

1964: Olympics Gym Nerd Trivia

If you’re reading this site, you’re. a gym nerd at heart. Now, it’s time to see just how much of a gym nerd you are. Take the quiz below to find out.

Answers below.

1964 Code of Points Judging Controversy Olympics Perfect 10

1964: Questioning the 10.0 Again

A quick recap: At the 1964 Olympics, Endo Yukio won the all-around competition after a questionable pommel horse routine. He had 3 major breaks during his routine. Yet, he received a 9.10, and gymnastics fans were outraged about the overscoring.

1964 MAG Olympics

1964: Men’s Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics

From the women’s competition at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, we head to the men’s competition.

Spoiler alert: Once again, there was a big judging controversy that sparked debate about abandoning the 10.0.

1964 Olympics WAG

1964: Women’s Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics

In preparation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, let’s look back at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, starting with the women’s competition.