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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.