At the 1972 Olympics, the men’s compulsories followed the standard format: set routines that each gymnast had to perform exactly as the text stated. (Reminder: In 1969, the FIG decided to make compulsories valid for four years rather than having separate compulsories for the World Championships and Olympic Games.)
The women’s compulsories, on the other hand, took a different path: there were specific skills and a specific order in which those skills had to be performed, but each national team was responsible for designing its own routines.
At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, both Voronin and the Soviet team took silver. In Voronin’s 1976 autobiography titled Number One (Первый номер), he underscores that 1968 was a low point for him:
Yes, the  Olympics left a deep mark on me. The tension was huge. I fought the Japanese alone, without the support of my comrades, and the increased responsibility drained me of all my mental and physical strength. The pain of loss was so great and humiliating that it shattered my faith in my own strength.
Jah, olümpiamängud jätsid minusse sügava jälje. Närvipinge oli tohutu. Heitlesin jaapanlastega üksinda, kaaslaste toetuseta ja sellest suurenenud vastutus pitsitas minust välja kogu vaimu- ja kehajõu. Kaotusevalu oli nii suur ja alandav, et põrmustas usu oma jõusse.
And he places the blame squarely at the feet of Valentin Muratov, the head coach of the Soviet team at that time. To support his point, Voronin highlights the misleading overscoring at domestic meets, the bizarre line-up order that upset both Voronin and Diomidov at the Olympics, Muratov’s insults, and the failure to block Kato Sawao’s 9.90 on floor exercise, where Muratov was the head judge at the Olympics.
At the same time, Voronin does conclude that the Japanese gymnasts were better and that the Soviet team’s expectations were off. The USSR thought that they had caught up to the Japanese team, but in reality, they were far behind.
Note #1: You can see a Soviet clip on Muratov here.
Note #2: Chapters of Voronin’s book were translated into Estonian for the newspaper Spordileht, and I have translated the chapter from Estonian into English. The following excerpts come from the January 16, 1978, January 18, 1978, January 23, 1978, and January 25, 1978 issues of Spordileht.
Note #3: This section of Voronin’s book responds to criticisms found in the pages of Sovetsky Sport, the main sports newspaper of the Soviet Union. You can read the newspaper’s coverage of the Soviet men in Mexico City here.
Sovetsky Sport didn’t hold back when covering the Soviet men’s team at the Mexico Olympics. The main sports newspaper of the Soviet Union pointed fingers at Diomidov and Lisitsky for underperforming. It blamed Muratov, the head judge on floor exercise, for flashing a 9.90 for Kato Sawao’s optional floor routine — a score that bumped Mikhail Voronin to second place in the all-around standings.
Even Mikhail Voronin was not spared from criticism. On the one hand, the newspaper posited that Voronin was competing without much support from his team. On the other hand, it pointed out that Voronin needed to upgrade his routines to remain competitive.
As we’ll see in an upcoming post, Voronin spent a big chunk of his autobiography responding to the criticism of Sovetsky Sport.
Note: You can find the main articles for the 1968 Olympics here: Compulsories, Optionals, Event Finals). You can find Sovetsky Sport’s coverage of the women’s competition in Mexico City here.
Sovetsky Sport, the main sports newspaper of the Soviet Union, had nothing but good things to say about the Soviet women’s gymnastics team in Mexico City. (As we’ll see, the publication had more than a few critical things to say about the men.) In particular, the writers applauded the performances of Natalia Kuchinskaya and highlighted the friendship among the gymnasts as the key to their success.
In this post, we’ll look at the newspaper’s coverage of everything from the compulsories to Larisa Petrik’s gold medal on floor — a feat that she never thought possible.
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.
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.
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.)
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.)