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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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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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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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1962 WAG World Championships

1962: Berthe Villancher’s Summary of the World Championships

After the 1962 World Championships in Prague, Berthe Villancher, the President of the Women’s Technical Committee, penned a summary for the French magazine Éducation physique et sport (November 1962). 

It’s a fascinating article, in which she calls the judges “combatants,” echoing something that Dr. Klinger wrote after the men’s competition at the 1934 World Championships.

You can find an English translation of Villancher’s article below.

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
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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.)

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1911 MAG World Championships

1911: Competing in the Dark at the World Championships in Turin

The 1911 International Tournament was an unfortunate series of events.

Several gymnasts were injured during the competition, and despite their injuries, they continued to compete with broken limbs and bandaged heads. 

Rain pushed the apparatus portion of the competition indoors. When it came time for the athletics portion in the afternoon, Cupérus, the FIG President, wanted the athletes to compete in inclement weather rather than end the competition or finish it the next day.

Because of the rain delay, several gymnasts had to sprint 100 m in near darkness.

One more important note: Until the 1948 Olympic Games, teams could bring their own apparatus to competitions. That tradition started in 1911 with the Czech Sokols.