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1928 MAG Olympics WAG

1928: The FIG’s Report on the Olympic Games in Amsterdam

Separate from the organizing committee’s Official Report on the 1928 Olympics, the FIG published its own booklet on the gymnastics competition in Amsterdam. What follows is a translation of the report, as well as every score from every judge at the competition — both men’s and women’s.

As you’ll see by the amount of space dedicated to women’s gymnastics in the report, the FIG remained focused primarily on men’s gymnastics.

Let’s dive in.

Cover of the FIG’s booklet on the 1928 Olympics
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1930 MAG World Championships

1930: An Abrupt End to the World Championships in Luxembourg

At the 1930 World Championships (originally called the International Tournament), tragedy struck. Yugoslav gymnast Anton Malej fell during his rings routine and was taken to the hospital, where he later died on July 15, 1930. He was 23.

Despite the accident, the Yugoslav gymnasts kept competing and took home third place. Fellow countryman Josip Primožič won the all-around.

The results, though, should have an asterisk next to them, given that the gymnasts didn’t compete in five of the scheduled events.

The competition was originally scheduled for July 12 and 14, 1930. However, rainy weather on July 14 resulted in a premature end to the competition, and the organizers decided to count only the scores from the first day (i.e. the scores from the apparatus gymnastics portion of the competition).

Reminder: This was not the first time that inclement weather caused problems during the International Tournament. In 1911, Cupérus, the FIG President at the time, wanted the athletes to compete in inclement weather rather than end the competition or finish it the next day. And two years prior, at the 1928 Olympics, the FIG was upset that the stadium was not prepared for inclement weather.

Josip Primožič
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1930 MAG World Championships

1930: The Death of Anton Malej at the World Championships in Luxembourg

During the first day of the 1930 International Tournament, Anton Malej fell from the rings and later died in the hospital. His injury happened on a rather simple skill: an inverted hang. Here’s how Pierre Hentgès, Sr., recalled the injury:

On the rings, during a simple part — an inverted pike hang — the young Yugoslavian gymnast Anton Malej fell so badly that he had to be taken to the hospital immediately for professional treatment with a cervical vertebrae injury.

Olympische Turnkunst, December 1967.

An den Ringen, in einfachem Übungsteil aus dem Sturzhang, fiel der junge jugoslawische Turner Anton Malej so unglücklich, daß er sofort mit einer Halswirbelverletzung zu fachgerechter Behandlung ins Spital überführt werden mußte.

What follows is a translation of Malej’s obituary from Sokolski Glasnik (July 15, 1930).

To read more about the 1930 World Championships, head over to this post.

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1926 MAG World Championships

1926: The Men’s Competition at the World Championships in Lyon

Coming into the 1926 International Tournament in Lyon, France, the Czechoslovak team had won three consecutive team titles at the International Tournament (1911, 1913, and 1922). Plus, they had won the team title at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. So, the 1926 World Championships (called the International Tournament at the time) were an opportunity to further demonstrate their superiority.

Here’s a quick summary of what happened on May 22 and 23, 1926, in Lyon, France.

Peter Šumi, from: Štukelj, Mojih sedem svetovnih tekmovanj
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1922 MAG World Championships

1922: The First World All-Around Champion in Men’s Gymnastics

Prior to 1922, the World Championships (originally called the International Tournament) were team-only events. But in Ljubljana, an individual all-around champion was finally named. Actually, there were co-champions: Šumi of Yugoslavia and Pecháček of Czechoslovakia.

Another major storyline: France almost missed the competition, arriving on the second day of the International Tournament.

Let’s dive into what happened…

Peter Šumi on parallel bars, Muzej novejše zgodovine Slovenije
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Apparatus Norms Evolution MAG

The Evolution of the Apparatus Dimensions in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics

Has the floor exercise area always been 12 m x 12 m? Has the horizontal bar always been 2.80 m high? Have the landing mats always been 20 cm thick?

This cheat sheet gives you the basic contours of the ever-changing apparatus norms.

Dimensions for vaulting boards, 1989 Apparatus Norms
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1949 Code of Points MAG

1949: The History behind the First Men’s Code of Points

The first Code of Points was published in 1949. Though, the seed for the project was planted much earlier, in the 1930s.

Here’s how Pierre Hentgès, Sr., recounts the history of the first CoP.

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1962 Compulsories MAG WAG World Championships

1962: The Compulsory Routines for the World Championships

What were compulsory routines at the 1962 World Championships?

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there aren’t videos of the routines on YouTube. But in this post, you can find the English text for the men’s compulsories, as well as the English text and drawings for the women’s compulsories.

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Evolution MAG Olympics World Championships

1896-1950: The Events of Men’s Gymnastics

Male gymnasts have always competed on floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar, right? 

Wrong.

Male gymnasts had quite the journey to today’s competitive format. Here’s a look at events in which the men competed in the early years of the Olympic Games and World Championships.

The Official Report, 1912
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1913 MAG World Championships

1913: The Last World Championships before World War I

During the 1913 International Tournament, the “Slavs vs. everyone else” mentality became further entrenched. The Slovenians and the Czechs felt disadvantaged because they were outnumbered on the judging panels. Plus, the text of the compulsory routine on rings changed, and the two Slavic teams were not notified of the change. Nevertheless, the Czech team won its third team title, defeating the French once again.

It’s unclear how diligent the judges were. Reportedly, one judge didn’t even watch some of the routines.

1913 also marks the (temporary) simplification of the scoring system. In Paris, all scores were out of a 10.0. Previously, the apparatus events were out of a 12.0 at the International Tournament, with 1 point for the mount, another point for the dismount, and 10 points for the routine. 

Similarly, the track and field events were also out of 10 points in 1913. Previously, the scoring system had been ever-changing at the International Tournament: 10 points in 1903, 20 points in 1905 and 1907, 15 points in 1909 and 1911.  

(Don’t worry, the scoring system would become complicated once again.)