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1968 Olympics

1968: The Tlatelolco Massacre and the Prague Spring

In Věra ‘68, Čáslavská returned to the National Auditorium in Mexico City, the place where she won four gold medals. While there, the tour guide said:

[Čáslavská] was an icon for us. We felt she was one of us, because at that time, in both our countries, there were student uprisings. That is why she was so dear to us. The fact that she won — it strengthened the bond between all the oppressed people. You will always be in our hearts.

During the 1968 Olympic Games, the Czechoslovak athletes meant a lot to a large portion of the Mexican audience. To understand why, you have to understand what happened in Mexico City ten days before the Olympics commenced.

Mexican soldiers reading the newspaper ‘La Prensa’ in the street in Mexico City. Mexico City, October 1968 (Photo by Mario De Biasi;Sergio Del Grande/Mondadori via Getty Images)

The headline reads, “Army’s firefight with students.”
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1968 Compulsories Olympics WAG

1968: The Women’s Compulsory Routines for the Olympics

Let’s take a look at the compulsories for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, including the piano sheet music!

The bar routine turned out to be brutal. Every single team had at least one gymnast score in the 8s (or lower) — even the Soviet Union.

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1924 MAG Olympics Perfect 10

1924: The First Perfect 10 in Gymnastics at the Olympic Games

In July of 1976, newspapers around the world reported that Nadia Comăneci scored the first 10 in Olympic history.

Nadia Comaneci, a 15‐year‐old Rumanian girl, scored the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastic history in the women’s uneven parallel bars competition.

New York Times, July 19, 1976

Nadia received a perfect score of 10.00 — the first perfect 10 in Olympic history.

The Daily Yomiuri, July 20, 1976

Unfortunately, what they reported was wrong.

Comăneci was the first female gymnast to score a 10 in Olympic history, but she was not the first gymnast to score a 10. (To be fair, information was much harder to come by in the 1970s.)

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1967 Olympics

1967: Gymnastics at the Little Olympics in Mexico City

From October 15-19, 1967, Mexico City held the Third Pre-Olympic Gymnastics Meet. It was part of the Little Olympics. (Nowadays, we’d call it the Olympics Test Event.)

Almost all the stars of gymnastics competed. The most notable exceptions: Věra Čáslavská and Mikhail Voronin.

Let’s take a look at what transpired in Mexico one year before the actual Games.

Modern Gymnast, Nov. 1967
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1968 Judging Controversy Olympics WAG

1968: The Myth of Petrik’s Floor Scores in Mexico City

As gym nerds, we’ve heard the story about the 1968 floor exercise final. It goes something like this: “Soviet Larisa Petrik’s preliminary scores were mysteriously upgraded, enabling her to tie Věra Čáslavská for the gold medal on floor.”

Well, the story is more complicated, and the sinister undertones aren’t true. The judging scandal is a myth. Plain and simple.

Let’s take a look at what happened by looking at primary resources from the time.

1968 Olympic Games, Mexico City, Mexico, Women’s Gymanstics, Floor Event, Shared gold medal winners Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia and Larissa Petrik of the USSR stand on the podium along with bronze medallist Natalya Kuchinskaya of the USSR (R) (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)
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1968 MAG Olympics

1968: Willi Jaschek, the Gymnast Who Competed with a Torn Achilles

In early April, Artur Dalaloyan tore his Achilles. In July, he competed and helped his team win an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

It’s a jaw-dropping story, but it’s not the only jaw-dropping Achilles story in Olympic gymnastics history.

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2021 Floor Music Olympics

2021: The Floor Music of the Tokyo Olympics

This post throws off the chronological order of this website. I know, it bothers me, too.

Nevertheless, I feel like it’s important to document the floor music of this year’s Olympics. FX music tells us a lot about the general cultural zeitgeist in the world, as well as what is (and isn’t) allowed by the FIG.

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1964 Olympics

1964: The Cold War and the U.S. Quest to Be Winners

Even before the U.S. selected its teams for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, American politicians were concerned about the nation’s performance.

After the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, Senator Humphrey of Minnesota wanted to create a “White House Commission of Sports.”

Why? Because the Soviets were kicking our asses, and it was not a good look for the United States because Americans were winners. 

He didn’t actually say that. Here’s what he did say:

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1964 Gym Nerd Trivia Olympics

1964: Olympics Gym Nerd Trivia

If you’re reading this site, you’re. a gym nerd at heart. Now, it’s time to see just how much of a gym nerd you are. Take the quiz below to find out.

Answers below.

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1964 Code of Points Judging Controversy Olympics Perfect 10

1964: Questioning the 10.0 Again

A quick recap: At the 1964 Olympics, Endo Yukio won the all-around competition after a questionable pommel horse routine. He had 3 major breaks during his routine. Yet, he received a 9.10, and gymnastics fans were outraged about the overscoring.