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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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2004 Floor Music Olympics WAG

2004: The Floor Music of the Athens Olympics

Bond, Bond, and More Bond: There was a lot of music from the group Bond during the Athens Olympics. The band’s albums Born and Shine came out in 2000 and 2002, respectively. Their music straddled the worlds of contemporary music and classical orchestral music.

The title of a 2004 article gives you an idea of how the musical group was perceived at the time: “Unbreakable Bond; They’re young. They’re sexy. And they’re turning the classical music industry on its head.” (Sarasota Herald Tribune, Nov. 26, 2004).

Movie Soundtracks: As was the case in 2000, movie soundtracks were big in 2004. Examples included Braveheart, Pirates of the Caribbean, Moulin Rouge, and Matrix Revolutions.

ATHENS – AUGUST 23: Catalina Ponor of Romania receives the gold medal for the women’s artistic gymnastics floor exercise event on August 23, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Sports Complex Indoor Hall in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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2000 Floor Music Olympics WAG

2000: The Floor Music of the Sydney Olympics

A big trend in 2000: Movie soundtracks. 

In Sydney, the floor music included songs from The Rock, Addams Family Values, The Mummy, and The Truman Show, among others.

A small surprise: In 1984, 1992, and 1996, several floor routines featured music associated with the host country. In 2000, that trend was not as pervasive. Of course, there were exceptions — like McIntosh’s use of “Waltzing Matilda” or Slater’s use of “I Still Call Australia Home,” which was contentious, by the way. (More on that below.)

25 Sep 2000: Elena Zamolodtchikova of Russia (centre) wins Gold, Svetlana Khorkina of Russia (right) wins Silver and Simona Amanar of Romania (left) wins Bronze in the Womens Floor Exercise Final at the Sydney Superdome on Day Ten of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport
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1988 Floor Music Olympics WAG

1988: The Floor Music of the Seoul Olympics

Major Theme: Very, very, very 1980s.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Sixty-Second Sonata” (1980)
  • Montage of music from Cats, which debuted in 1981
  • “Axel F” from Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  • “Bullish” (1984)
  • “Electric Kingdom” (1984)
  • “One Night in Bangkok” (1984)
  • Montage of music from Rocky IV (1985)
  • “True Faith” by New Order (1987)
  • “Macho Mozart” (1987)
19 Sep 1988: Phoebe Mills does her floor exercise during the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Mandatory Credit: Billy Strickland /Allsport
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1984 Floor Music Olympics WAG

1984: The Floor Music of the Los Angeles Olympics

A big theme in 1984: American movies

Given that Los Angeles is the heart of American cinema, it makes sense. There were songs from movies like Night Shift, Indiana Jones, Rocky, and James Bond.

Another theme: Americana.

In addition to the emphasis on American TV and films, there were plenty of other American moments — from Szabo’s routine to “Hooked on America” to Wu’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” to Bileck’s “Rodeo” montage. (Rodeo is a ballet composed by American composer Aaron Copland.) 

Ecaterina Szabo, Romania, gold medallist (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)
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1996 Floor Music Olympics WAG

1996: The Floor Music of the Atlanta Olympics

A Big Trend in 1996: Americana. 

Just as there was a lot of flamenco music during an Olympics held in Spain, there was a fair amount of U.S. music, particularly from the American gymnasts and the Romanian gymnasts. 

Another Big Trend: Songs from movie soundtracks. 

The French team pulled from recent movies like The Mask and Basic Instinct. But there were songs from older movies, including Galieva’s Charlie Chaplin tribute and Marinescu’s music from the Italian film Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion.

UNITED STATES – JULY 29: KUNSTTURNEN: BODEN/Frauen ATLANTA 1996 29.7.96, Lilia PODKPPAYEVA/UKR GOLD – MEDAILLE (Photo by Mark Sandten/Bongarts/Getty Images)
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1992 Floor Music Olympics WAG

1992: The Floor Music of the Barcelona Olympics

The big trend in floor music in 1992: Flamenco, flamenco, and more flamenco. 

For decades, flamenco music has been a constant during women’s floor exercise, but the trend perhaps hit its crescendo during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. (You can read a little about the politics of flamenco at the bottom of the page.)

Yello: In 2021, Billie Eilish was the big contemporary music sensation during floor routines. In 1992, it was Yello.

Throwbacks from 40ish years prior: The nostalgia machine is always alive during floor exercise, trying to target audience members and judges in their 40s and 50s and beyond. In 1992, it emerged in pieces like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “An American in Paris Ballet.”

BARCELONA – AUGUST 1: Henrietta Onodi of Hungary competes in the Floor Exercise on August 1, 1992 during the Women’s Gymnastics competition of the 1992 Summer Olympics held at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
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Compulsories Floor Music Olympics WAG World Championships

1958-1996: Compulsory Floor Music over the Decades

As far as FIG events are concerned, women’s individual floor exercise was first introduced at the 1950 World Championships, but at the time, gymnasts did not use floor music. In fact, at the 1950 FIG Congress, the delegates had to decide if gymnasts should perform to music at the 1952 Olympics, and they voted against it (eight votes to three).

It wasn’t until 1958 that music was introduced for individual floor routines, both compulsory and optional. 

Below, you’ll find recordings of the music for the compulsory routines from 1958 until 1996. For some of you, the music will bring back fond memories. For others, it’ll bring back nightmares. But hopefully, you’ll find a piece you enjoy listening to.

19 Sep 1988: Phoebe Mills does her floor exercise during the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Mandatory Credit: Billy Strickland /Allsport
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1968 Olympics WAG

1968: Valerie Nagy’s Reaction to the Mexico City Olympics

What were the 1968 Olympics like from the perspective of a Women’s Technical Committee member? Well, the Vice President, Valerie Nagy of Hungary, wrote an article for Olympische Turnkunst, in which she summarized her views.

Not surprisingly, she pointed out that there was some “clever teamwork” among the judges. 

100 Years of the FIG
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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