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).

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.

19th Century France Sokols

1889: Czech Gymnasts at the Fête Fédérale Française de Gymnastique

Even before the first modern Olympics in 1896 and even before the first World Championships in 1903, Czech gymnasts had proven themselves to be among the top teams in Europe.

Today, we’ll dive into one competition: the 1889 Fête Fédérale Française de Gymnastique (French Federal Festival of Gymnastics) in Paris.

This competition became a source of pride for the Czech and Slovak Sokols in the twentieth century.

A selection of the medals awarded. From: Sokol: časopis zájmům tělocvičným věnovaný, 15.7, 1889