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1903 MAG World Championships

1903: Men’s Gymnastics at the First World Championships

I’ve covered the first Olympic Games in Athens. Now, it’s time to discuss the first World Championships, which were held in Antwerp.

First things first, the competition wasn’t called a world championship at the time. It was referred to as the International Gymnastics Tournament (“Tournoi International de Gymnastique” in French or “Internationale Turntornooi” in Dutch). The competition was held in conjunction with the Belgian Federal Festival, August 14-18, 1903.

The French team in La Vie au grand air, August 21, 1903; De Jaegher is the one on the high bar.

Note: I’ll refer to an article written by Pierre Hentgès, Sr. in this post. If you don’t know who he is, he was a Luxembourgish gymnast who competed at the 1912 Olympics. He later became the President of the Men’s Technical Committee of the FIG in 1954.

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1966 Gym Nerd Trivia World Championships

1966: Gym Nerd Quiz about the World Championships

If you’re reading this site, you’re a big, ol’ 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.

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1966 WAG World Championships

1966: A Critique of Čáslavská’s Podium Etiquette in Dortmund

Most gym nerds know about Věra Čáslavská’s political stance on the podium at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. (If you don’t, Google it. There’s plenty that has been written about it.) 

But did you know that some saw tension between Čáslavská and the Soviet gymnasts already at the 1966 World Championships?

On October 1, 1966, the Feuille d’avis de Neuchatel published a column called “Le sport vu par une femme” (“Sports as Seen by a Woman”), chastizing Věra Čáslavská for her actions on the podium. Here’s what it said…

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1966 Judging Controversy World Championships

1966: Judging Fatigue at the World Championships

The World Championships are a long slog for judges. The 1966 World Championships in Dortmund were no exception, and, at the time, many believed that the length of the competition impacted the judging.

Ein Blick auf die russische Riege der Turnerinnen mit Natalja Kutschinskaja (r) und Larissa Latynina (Mitte) bei den 16. Kunstturn-Weltmeisterschaften am 24.09.1966 in der Westfalenhalle in Dortmund. Foto: +++(c) Picture-Alliance / ASA+++ | usage worldwide (Photo by Schirner Sportfoto-Archiv/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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1966 Judging Controversy WAG World Championships

1966: Doris Brause Made “Swing the Thing”

Mademoiselle Gymnast, Sept./Oct. 1967

Recap: Doris Brause’s uneven bars routine created quite the sensation at the 1966 World Championships. When she received a 9.766 on bars, the crowd stopped the meet for over an hour, hoping to coerce the judges into raising her score.

The judges didn’t budge.

But uneven bars would never be the same again.

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1966 WAG World Championships

1966: The Women’s Competition at the World Championships

The gymnastics community was buzzing about the women’s competition in Dortmund in 1966. The Soviet Union brought a younger team to the competition, which raised several questions.

Could the Soviets continue to win the team competition?

Could stalwarts like Čáslavská and Latynina continue to dominate the sport?

*Insert dramatic music*

Let’s find out…

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1966 WAG World Championships

1966: The Men’s Competition at the World Championships

As Arthur Gander said during the technical committee meeting, “Finally, gentlemen, a gymnast who shows a routine with none of the elements of risk, originality, and difficulty should never win a world championship.”

Let’s dive into the 1966 World Championships and see if Gander’s words came true.

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1966 1969 1970 FIG Congress World Championships

1966: Notes from the FIG Congress + a Failed Worlds Qualifications

In my post about the men’s technical committee meeting, I noted that Arthur Gander had been voted the next president of the FIG, replacing Charles Thœni.

Let’s take a look at some of the key decisions that were made during the FIG Congress in Dortmund.

As we go through the information, try to guess which decisions became a thorn in Arthur Gander’s side.

L’Express, Wednesday, September 21, 1966
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1966 Men's Technical Committee World Championships

1966: Notes from the Men’s Technical Committee Meeting

1966 was a big year. Charles Thoeni, the president of the FIG, resigned for health reasons. At the 45th Congress, Arthur Gander, president of the Men’s Technical Committee, was elected president of the FIG.

Also, it was the year that “risk, originality, and virtuosity” would become the guiding principle in gymnastics for years to come. Arthur Gander made that perfectly clear during the technical committee meeting and judges course.

Here are some notes from that meeting. They are based on Thomas Maloney’s article in Modern Gymnast, November 1966.

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1962 Gym Nerd Trivia World Championships

1962: World Championships Gym Nerd Trivia

If you’re reading this blog, you’re a gym nerd. But just how much of a gym nerd are you? Take this quiz to find out.

Answers below.