This week in the history of European Gymnastics

20171205 Hungary 1956.jpg

This week in the history of European Gymnastics

December 5, 2017

Let’s have a look at what happened in European Gymnastics in the week from 4 to 10 December!


Antwerp (BEL) hosted the 1988 Sports Acrobatics World Championships, which at that time included both acrobatic gymnastics and tumbling. Bulgaria, the Soviet Union and China divided the gold medals. By the way, the Acro Worlds return to Antwerp in April 2018!



As the gymnastics competition concluded at the 1956 Olympic Games in far-away Melbourne (AUS), the world witnessed the changing of the guard between Hungary’s holocaust survivor Agnes Keleti and an emerging Soviet star, Larisa Latynina. While the Soviet Union won the team competition, it was Hungary that took the team gold for the portable apparatus. In the all-around Latynina beat Keleti for the Olympic title. The two women divided the event gold medals, Latynina winning vault, Keleti winning bars and beam, and both tying for the top score on floor. Latynina went on to become the most successful Olympic athlete until swimmer Michael Phelps surpassed her medal haul in 2012. At 35, Keleti became the oldest Olympic Champion in gymnastics. As the Soviet Union invaded Hungary during the Olympics, Keleti, together with 44 compatriots, stayed in Australia where she received political asylum. A year later she immigrated to Israel.



The Hungarian capital Budapest hosted the first ever Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships on 7 and 8 December 1963. There were 28 competitors from 10 countries: Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, German Democratic Republic, Romania, Poland, Spain and Yugoslavia. Each gymnast performed 2 routines: freehand and with apparatus. Ludmila Savinkova of the Soviet Union was the best in both exercise, twice beating her teammate Tatiana Kravtchenko, becoming the first all-around World Champion!



At the 25th UEG Congress, held this time in the Slovenian coastal town of Portoroz, the national federations show their support for UEG President Georges Guelzec as he is reelected for a second term.