1975 Code of Points MAG

1975: The Men’s Code of Points

In 1975, the Men’s Technical Committee published a new version of the Code of Points. Below, you’ll find some of the updates, as well as the complete English text.

Happy gym nerding!

1974 FIG Bulletin MAG WAG World Championships

1974: The FIG’s Reflections on the World Championships in Varna

What did the leaders of the FIG think about the 1974 World Championships?

For starters, none of them was thrilled about having to move the location of the competition. As you’ll see, both presidents of the technical committees and the president of the FIG mentioned the challenge of choosing a host for the 1974 World Championships. (More on that decision here.)

Valerie Nagy, the president of the Women’s Technical Committee, was generally displeased with the level of the gymnasts, writing: “Even without preliminary qualifications, the national federations should have been more severe when making their selections.”

In addition, she didn’t like the direction of balance beam, where she felt that gymnasts were trying to perform too many difficult acrobatic elements, which impacted the flow of the routine.

In that same vein, Arthur Gander, the president of the FIG, railed against the emphasis on risk and difficulty at the expense of execution.

Below, you can find Gander’s comments, as well as those of the MTC and the WTC.

My thought bubble: Yup, this is pretty nerdy stuff, but most people who read this site are pretty nerdy people. 🙂

A little trivia: Did you know that there were three score protests during the men’s competition? Guess how many of those protests were rejected.

1974 MAG World Championships

1974: The Men’s Event Finals at the World Championships

The Japanese men were unable to dominate on the final day of competition in Varna — in part because Kasamatsu withdrew from several events.

As clear as the Japanese won team and individual victories, they could not assume this dominant role in the apparatus final, especially as Kasamatsu had to forego competing on rings, parallel bars, and high bar due to a shoulder injury.

Neues Deutsches Turnen, No. 12, 1974

So klar die Japaner Mannschafts-und Einzelsieg erkämpften — im Gerätefinale konnten sie diese dominierende Rolle nicht spielen, zumal Kasamatsu an den Ringen, am Barren und am Reck wegen einer Schulterverletzung auf den Start verzichten mußte.

Six different gymnasts won gold medals, representing five different countries (Japan, the Soviet Union, Hungary, Romania, and West Germany).

Below, you’ll find snippets of newspaper reports, as well as videos from the 1974 men’s event finals, which took place on Sunday, October 27.


Eberhard Gienger, 1974
1974 MAG World Championships

1974: The Men’s All-Around Competition at the World Championships

In 1974, Kasamatsu Shigeru became only the second Japanese gymnast to win the all-around title at the World Championships. (Kenmotsu won it in 1970.) However, his win was not without controversy. With only 0.125 separating Kasamatsu and Andrianov, some thought that Kasamatsu should have won while others thought that Andrianov should have won.

As we’ll see, much of the coverage focused on what happened during the last rotation on October 26, 1974.

Datum: 26.10.1974 Copyright: imago/Sven Simon Shigeru Kasamatsu (Japan) – Reck; quer, Flugelement, Froschperspektive, unten Weltmeisterschaft 1974, Geräteturnen, Kunstturnen, Vneg, Vsw Varna Turnen WM Herren Einzel Einzelbild Aktion Personen

Reminder: This was the first World Championships with an all-around final. (The Munich Olympics were the first Olympic Games to include an all-around final.)

1974 MAG World Championships

1974: The Men’s Team Competition at the World Championships

In 1974, not much changed in terms of the top standings. Japan won its fourth-straight team title, the Soviet Union won its fourth-straight team silver at the World Championships, and East Germany won its third-straight team bronze at the World Championships. 

That said, it wasn’t a boring competition by any stretch of the imagination. Innovation was flourishing in men’s gymnastics. For example:

  • Bernd Jäger adapted Karin Janz’s salto for high bar, performing the now-famous Jäger release. 
  • Nikolai Andrianov attempted a triple back off high bar. (According to the East German press, he never successfully landed it.)
  • Both he and his teammate Vladimir Marchenko did full-twisting double backs on floor. (Marchenko had performed one earlier that year in Riga.) 
  • Janós Sivadó did his eponymous travel on pommel horse.
  • Vladimir Safronov and Kasamatsu Shigeru performed full-twisting Tsukaharas. The skill is now called a Kasamatsu, and Safronov has been forgotten.

Here’s what else happened during competitions 1a (Tuesday, October 22, 1974) and 1b (Thursday, October 24, 1974) in Varna, Bulgaria.

Czechoslovakia Interviews & Profiles MAG

1974: A Profile of Miloslav Netušil – “One of Many”

Before Simone Biles had a kidney stone at the 2018 World Championships, there was Miloslav Netušil of Czechoslovakia. But unlike Biles, who went on to win six medals in Doha, Netušil had to seek medical treatment in the middle of the 1972 Olympic Games. He posted a 54.50 during compulsories and had to withdraw before the second day of the men’s competition (optionals). As a result, the Czechoslovak team was forced to finish the team competition with only five team members.

Below, you can find a short profile of Netušil, who was a three-time Olympian (1968, 1972, and 1976). He died earlier this year.

1974 Asian Games MAG WAG

1974: The Men’s and Women’s Competitions at the Asian Games

Gymnastics was new to the Asian Games in 1974, and there were a few surprises.

First, China was present. Though China was competing in more dual meets in countries like Romania and the United States, China was not part of the FIG or the IOC at the time due to the organizations’ recognition of Taiwan. The organizers of the Asian Games broke ranks by inviting China and revoking Taiwan’s membership. This was a big deal at the time. (More on that below.)

Second, China had quite the medal haul. On the women’s side, Chinese gymnasts swept the all-around podium, and on the men’s side, China won the men’s team title, beating Japan. The competition was held just weeks before the World Championships in Varna — with the Asian Games happening in early September and the World Championships in late October. As a result, Japan did not send its top gymnasts to the Asian Games, and to make matters worse, one of Japan’s gymnasts tore his Achilles during the first event.

As you’ll see below, Arthur Gander, the president of the FIG, took an essentialist position and attributed China’s success to their bodies, stating, “A Chinese is a very well-formed human being, better formed than a Japanese, for instance.” (Because all Chinese people have the same body?)

Finally — and maybe this is less of a surprise — there was reportedly tension between the North and South Korean delegations.

Jiang Shaoyi
1974 Interviews & Profiles MAG Riga International WAG

1974: Interviews with Natalia Kuchinskaya and Klaus Köste in Riga

The Latvian newspaper Sports did interviews with Natalia Kuchinskaya and Klaus Köste at the 1974 edition of the Riga International. At the time, Kuchinskaya, one of the stars of the 1966 World Championships and 1968 Olympic Games, was working in Ukraine as a choreographer. Klaus Köste, the 1972 Olympic champion on vault, had retired from the sport and then came back.

Below, you can find translations of their interviews. You can find a report on the 1974 competition in Riga here.

1974 MAG Riga International WAG

1974: Gorbik and Marchenko Win the Riga International

Days after the 1974 edition of Moscow News, gymnasts traveled to Latvia for the 1974 Riga International. By holding these competitions in succession, delegations could get more for their money. Instead of flying to the Soviet Union for one meet, they could now fly to the Soviet Union for two meets:

Vice President of the International Gymnastics Federation and Olympic champion, Yuri Titov, said that holding two such large competitions one right after another is tremendously beneficial. Athletes, who have traveled a long way to our country, are happy to demonstrate their skills multiple times. And many experts think that gymnasts will exhibit emotionally charged performance full of new technical components in Riga.

Sports, Latvjijas PSR Sporta biedribu izdevums, Nr. 49, March 26, 1974

Starptautiskās vingrošanas federācijas viceprezidents olimpiskais čempions Jurijs Titovs teica, ka ir ļoti lietderīgi rīkot divas tik plašas sacensības pēc kārtas. Sportisti, kuri mērojuši tālu ceļu uz mūsu zemi, savu meistarību labprāt vēlas demonstrēt vairākkārt. Un daudzi speciālisti uzskata, ka tieši Rīgā vingrotāji rādīs emocionālas un jauniem tehniskiem elementiem bagātas kompozīcijas.

Gymnasts often debuted new skills in Riga. In 1972, Tsukahara Mitsuo did a full-twisting double back off high bar, and Beate Gehrke did one of the first Tsukaharas in women’s artistic gymnastics. In 1973, Nikolai Andrianov did a double pike on floor. (At the European Championships that year, he did a full-twisting double tuck off rings.) Then, one year later, in 1974, Vladimir Marchenko did one of the first full-twisting double backs on floor at a large international competition. (Video below.)

By all accounts, the women’s all-around in 1974 was a nail-biting competition between Lidia Gorbik and Nellie Kim. Kim needed a 9.6 during the final rotation to win. She got a 9.5.

Here’s what else happened in Riga in 1974.

1976 Summer Olympic Games, Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images, VLADIMIR MARCHENKO (USSR), RINGS
1974 MAG Moscow News WAG

1974: Grozdova and Klimenko Win the Inaugural Moscow News Competition

Moscow News, Russia’s oldest English-language newspaper, held its first gymnastics competition in 1974. Over the years, legends like Nellie Kim, Yelena Shushunova, Yelena Mukhina, Natalia Yurchenko, Svetlana Boginskaya, Bogdan Makuts, Dmitri Bilozerchev, Valeri Liukin, to name a few, won the all-around title at this competition.

In 1974, the competition drew several top 1972 Olympians, including gold medalists Elvira Saadi (URS), Viktor Klimenko (URS), Klaus Köste (GDR), Tsukahara Mitsuo (JPN), and Kenmotsu Eizo (JPN).

From a historical perspective, the 1974 competition is important because Yelena Abramova (URS) landed the first double back on women’s floor at a large international competition. As Sovetsky Sport reported, “It was not perfect though.”

Here’s what was reported about the event at that time.