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1968 MAG Perfect 10 USSR WAG

1968: A Flurry of 10.0s in the Soviet Union

At the 1967 European Championships, Czechoslovak gymnast Věra Čáslavská scored two 10.0s. One year later, during the lead-up to the Mexico City Olympics, the Soviet gymnasts scored four 10.0s at their domestic competitions.

Given the flurry of 10.0s just before the 1968 Olympics, it’s somewhat surprising that there weren’t any 10.0s in Mexico City.

Let’s take a look at what happened at the USSR Nationals and the USSR Cup.

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1968 East Germany MAG Perfect 10 WAG

1968: Zuchold’s and Janz’s 10.0s at the East German Championships

After Čáslavská scored two 10.0s at the 1967 European Championships, a flurry of 10.0s appeared in national competitions during the lead-up to the Mexico City Olympics. Two of the recipients were Erika Zuchold and Karin Janz.

At the East German Championships in July of 1968, Zuchold scored 10.0s on both optional floor and vault, and Janz scored a 10.0 on her optional vault.

What follows is a translation of an article from Neues Deutschland.

Zentralbild Koch 8.7.1968 Halle: DDR-Meisterschaften im Frauenturnen. Bei den Finalwettbewerben an den einzelnen Geräten, mit denen am 7.7.1968 in Halle-Neustadt die deutschen Frauen-Turnmeisterschaften der DDR zu Ende gingen, holte sich die Achtkampfmeisterin Erika Zuchold (SC Leipzig) auch die Titel am Schwebebalken und im Bodenturnen (Foto). Während der Meisterschaftstage erreichte die Leipzigerin insgesamt sechsmal die Höchstnote “10”.
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1968 FIG Congress

1968: Notes from the 47th FIG Congress in Rome

How much did it cost to be an FIG member in 1968? What was the FIG’s budget in 1968? Will Israel finally be approved to compete in the European Championships?

All that and more in the notes from the 1968 FIG Meeting.

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1968 Compulsories Olympics WAG

1968: The Women’s Compulsory Routines for the Olympics

Let’s take a look at the compulsories for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, including the piano sheet music!

The bar routine turned out to be brutal. Every single team had at least one gymnast score in the 8s (or lower) — even the Soviet Union.

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1968 Code of Points WAG

1968: Villancher’s Commentary on the Women’s Code of Points

In 1968, the Women’s Technical Committee President Berthe Villancher visited the United States. During her tour, she explained the 1968 Code of Points. This included her unwritten rules and preferences.

Let’s take a look at what she said.

Note: Villancher’s comments have been filtered through Jackie Uphues, who chronicled Villancher’s time in the United States for Mademoiselle Gymnast May/June 1968. (Jackie Uphues might be better known as Jackie Fie to some readers.)

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from Mademoiselle Gymnast May/June 1968.

100 Years of the FIG
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1968 Code of Points WAG

1968: The Women’s Code of Points

The 1968 Code of Points was to be ready by May 1, 1968. Opening ceremonies for the 1968 Olympics were set for October 12, 1968. That’s not a lot of time to read the Code and adjust routines.

Thankfully, compared to the men’s Code, the women’s Code was much shorter. Let’s take a look at some of the most salient parts.

The 1968 Women’s Code of Points
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1968 Compulsories MAG

1968: The Men’s Compulsory Routines for the Olympics

Compulsories: The bane of some gymnasts’ existence, and the bane of some judges’ existence, as well.

Let’s take a look at the 1968 men’s compulsories and how they were judged…

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1968 Code of Points MAG

1968: The Men’s Code of Points

The 1968 men’s Code of Points exploded. 

Gymnastics was quickly evolving, and the Men’s Technical Committee was trying to be more prescriptive on what they wanted to see and in which direction they wanted the sport to go.

I’ll do my best to give you the CliffsNotes version of a 194-page document.

The 1968 Code of Points
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1968 Judging Controversy Olympics WAG

1968: The Myth of Petrik’s Floor Scores in Mexico City

As gym nerds, we’ve heard the story about the 1968 floor exercise final. It goes something like this: “Soviet Larisa Petrik’s preliminary scores were mysteriously upgraded, enabling her to tie Věra Čáslavská for the gold medal on floor.”

Well, the story is more complicated, and the sinister undertones aren’t true. The judging scandal is a myth. Plain and simple.

Let’s take a look at what happened by looking at primary resources from the time.

1968 Olympic Games, Mexico City, Mexico, Women’s Gymanstics, Floor Event, Shared gold medal winners Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia and Larissa Petrik of the USSR stand on the podium along with bronze medallist Natalya Kuchinskaya of the USSR (R) (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)
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1968 MAG Olympics

1968: Willi Jaschek, the Gymnast Who Competed with a Torn Achilles

In early April, Artur Dalaloyan tore his Achilles. In July, he competed and helped his team win an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

It’s a jaw-dropping story, but it’s not the only jaw-dropping Achilles story in Olympic gymnastics history.