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1968 MAG Perfect 10 USSR WAG

1968: A Flurry of 10.0s in the Soviet Union

At the 1967 European Championships, Czechoslovak gymnast Věra Čáslavská scored two 10.0s. One year later, during the lead-up to the Mexico City Olympics, the Soviet gymnasts scored four 10.0s at their domestic competitions.

Given the flurry of 10.0s just before the 1968 Olympics, it’s somewhat surprising that there weren’t any 10.0s in Mexico City.

Let’s take a look at what happened at the USSR Nationals and the USSR Cup.

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1968 East Germany MAG Perfect 10 WAG

1968: Zuchold’s and Janz’s 10.0s at the East German Championships

After Čáslavská scored two 10.0s at the 1967 European Championships, a flurry of 10.0s appeared in national competitions during the lead-up to the Mexico City Olympics. Two of the recipients were Erika Zuchold and Karin Janz.

At the East German Championships in July of 1968, Zuchold scored 10.0s on both optional floor and vault, and Janz scored a 10.0 on her optional vault.

What follows is a translation of an article from Neues Deutschland.

Zentralbild Koch 8.7.1968 Halle: DDR-Meisterschaften im Frauenturnen. Bei den Finalwettbewerben an den einzelnen Geräten, mit denen am 7.7.1968 in Halle-Neustadt die deutschen Frauen-Turnmeisterschaften der DDR zu Ende gingen, holte sich die Achtkampfmeisterin Erika Zuchold (SC Leipzig) auch die Titel am Schwebebalken und im Bodenturnen (Foto). Während der Meisterschaftstage erreichte die Leipzigerin insgesamt sechsmal die Höchstnote “10”.
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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 European Championships Perfect 10

1967: Čáslavská’s 10.0s at the Women’s European Championships

The 1967 WAG European Championships are a crucial moment in the history of artistic gymnastics. Let’s take a look at why this competition matters…

Věra Čáslavská being jockeyed, European Championships, 1967
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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.

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1962 Code of Points Perfect 10

1962: Questioning the 10.0

A quick recap: The event finals in Prague were delayed 30 minutes because the crowd protested Cerar’s score. They thought that Cerar of Yugoslavia should have scored higher than Shakhlin of the Soviet Union.

After a long conference, the judges raised Cerar’s score from a 9.8 to a 9.9, giving him the gold medal in the event.

Here’s a letter to the editor of the Modern Gymnast in response. It’s the one called “Subjective” at the bottom of the first column. (The letter about the judging “computer” is also fun.)