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1907 MAG World Championships

1907: The Rules for the World Championships in Prague

Did you know that, once upon a time, there weren’t gold, silver, and bronze medals at the World Championships? Instead, there was a collection of art, and each team chose which piece of art they wanted. Winners got to choose first.

These are the little tidbits that you learn when you stumble across the rules for old gymnastics meets. Let’s take a look at the rules for the 1907 International Tournament (now called the World Championships).

The Czech team performing the preliminary calisthenics. Source: V. slet všesokolský 1907: pamětní list vydaný péči
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1905 MAG Perfect 10 World Championships

1905: The World Championships That Almost Didn’t Happen

The 1905 International Tournament (now called the World Championships) almost didn’t happen. 

Why?

Because of a debate over rings.

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1938 MAG Perfect 10 World Championships

1938: Another Perfect 10 and Shot Put Struggles during the Men’s Competition at the World Championships

In 1938, Eugen Mack had yet another perfect score on vault. However, it wasn’t enough to beat the Czechoslovak team.

The Swiss team struggled in athletics (and rings). Shot put, in particular, dashed their hopes of becoming world champions.

Reusch, one of the top Swiss gymnasts, had a particularly rough time with athletics. Though Reusch won four apparatus titles, his scores didn’t count for the team total, which was based on the top six all-around scores. Reusch finished 7th on his team and 24th in the all-around overall. He scored a 0 in shot put (7.45 m).

Michael Reusch, Zürcher Illustrierte, July 8, 1938
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1938 MAG World Championships

1938: The Official Rulebook for the Men’s Competition at the World Championships

Have you ever seen an old rulebook for the World Championships? Well, you’re in luck. In this article, you can find the official rulebook for the 1938 World Championships in Prague, as well as a translation of the sections.

From a historian’s perspective, this rulebook is important because it is a precursor to the 1949 Code of Points, specifying deductions and including lengthy criteria for evaluating compulsory routines.

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Evolution Olympics WAG World Championships

1928-1956: The Events of Women’s Gymnastics

Flying rings? Track and field events like javelin throwing? If you’ve been reading this site, you might be wondering about the evolution of the women’s program at FIG competitions.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the women’s programs at the major FIG competitions. Here we go…

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1938 WAG World Championships

1938: The First All-Around World Champion in Women’s Gymnastics

The women’s competition at the 1928 Olympic Games was solely a team competition. As was the women’s competition at the 1934 World Championships. As was the women’s competition at the 1936 Olympic Games.

At the 1938 World Championships, in addition to the team results, a women’s individual all-around champion was crowned for the first time at a major FIG competition. (Note: Previously, there had been individual champions at competitions like the Workers’ Olympics, which were unaffiliated with the FIG.)

Let’s take a look at what happened on June 30 and July 1.

Vlasta Děkanová and Alois Hudec, 1938, Národní muzeum – Historické muzeum, Czech Republic
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1934 MAG World Championships

1934: Math Problems and Two Perfect 10s during the Men’s Competition at the World Championships

Confusion bookended the 1934 World Championships in Budapest.

Before the competition started, Germany showed up at the FIG Congress, wanting to become a member of the FIG and participate in the 1934 World Championships.

That was not the typical protocol. Usually, countries didn’t seek admission just hours before a competition started. So, the FIG Congress had to answer the question: if the German federation becomes a member one day, can German gymnasts compete at the World Championships the next day?

That was the first source of confusion. After the competition ended, the second source of confusion cropped up. The gymnastics community realized that the initial results had been miscalculated, and all the results had to be recalculated.

Eugen Mack, Floor Exercise, Zürcher-Illustrierte
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1934 MAG World Championships

1934: The Rules for the Men’s Competition at the World Championships

The 1934 World Championships were the first time that the competition was called the “World Championships.” Previously, the competition had been known as the “International Tournament.”

In 1934, the men competed on the six apparatus that modern gymnastics fans know and (maybe) love. In addition, there were three track and field events.

Let’s take a look at the rules.

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1958 Code of Points WAG

1958: The Very First Women’s Code of Points

In 1949, the Men’s Technical Committee published its first Code of Points.

Almost 10 years later, in 1958, the Women’s Technical Committee published its first Code of Points.

Of course, women’s gymnastics had rules before this. But this was the first official Code of Points, and as we’ll see, the rules for women’s artistic gymnastics had developed a lot since female gymnasts first competed at the Olympics in 1928.

Let’s take a look at the 1958 Code of Points.

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1934 WAG World Championships

1934: Women Compete at the World Championships for the First Time

At the 1934 World Championships in Budapest, women at the World Championships for the first time. 

Only five women’s teams participated, but remember that only four men’s teams participated at the first International Tournament, the competition that would become known as the World Championships. (In fact, 1934 was the year that the International Tournament was renamed, becoming known as the World Championships.)

The format for the women’s competition was quite different from modern competitions. There were javelin throws, partner acro exercises, and national dances.

Here’s what happened on June 1 and 2, 1934.

The Hungarian team