• Karl “Gösta” Åsbrink was born today in 1881, a member of the 1908 Swedish Olympic team that won team gold. Four years later, competing before a home audience in 1912 at Stockholm, he won an individual silver medal in the first contested Modern pentathlon at the Olympics. Åsbrink was a lieutenant of Swedish Army at the time and was later promoted to a major. He died at at the age of 84 on 19th April 1996
  • On this day in 1884, American gymnast John Henry Dellert, Jr was born in Missouri. He competed at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, participating in three individual events, his best result at the Olympics came in the men’s triathlon, where he finished 30th in a field of 119 competitors. He was also a part of Concordia Turnverein of St Louis’ squad for the men’s all-around event, which finished 4th out of 13 nations.  By the age of 14 he was working as an upholstery installer to help support his family, training in his spare time. He was selected to compete in the 1908 Games, but sustained an injury during an exhibition and was forced to withdraw. He stopped participating in tournaments in 1913, but continued his workouts and routines until he was 46. He died in Florida at the age of 100. His brother Charles also competed in gymnastics at the same Olympics.
  • Born on this day in 1914, Hungarian Olympic bronze medallist Margit CsillikHer medal was won at the 1936 Berlin Games as a member of the all-around team competition.
  • British gymnast  Mary Patricia “Pat” Hirst was born on this day in 1918. She competed in three Olympics and represetned her country in numerous international competitions and  held the British Gymnastic title 8 times. She was affiliated to Woodhouse School of PE and the Saltaire Gymnastic Club. Whilst sat school Pat was an accomplished all rounder, she swam, played cricket, tennis, netball, and athletics, on leaving school she joined the Leeds Athletic Club where she became a promising sprinter. Eventually she “chose” gymnastics and  became Yorkshire champion in 1938 and made her international “debut” against Belgium.  Overall Pat was British champion 8 times and represented GB at the 1948, 1952 and 1956 Olympics. In ’52 she was team captain and ’56 the sole woman British gymnastics representative.  She died at the age of 77 in 1996 and still remains the all-time women’s British Championships record holder for gymnastics with her 8 wins.  Pat continued to work for gymnastics after her performing career had ended as a successful coach and as an administrator.
  • Linda Douglas, Australian rhythmic gymnast, was born in 1965.  Linda competed for Australia in the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around competition at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. There she was 33rd (last) in the preliminary (qualification) round and did not advance to the final.
  • Azerbaijani gymnast Dinara Nailevna Gimatova was born in Astrakhan today in 1986. She was a member of the Olympic Reserve School headed by Ludmila Tikhmirova and began training with Nadezhda Kholodkova. In 1996, she became a member of the Russian national junior team. In 1999, she won the Russian Hoops tournament and was invited by Irina Viner to join her squad and was soon under Irina’s tutelage in Moscow. Dinara is a 4 time Azerbaijani champion, and has competed in both World and European championships and many international tournaments. She took 5th place in team events at the 2005 Baku World championship and at the Moscow European Championships of the same year. In 2003, she won one silver and two bronze medals at the world cup stage tournament in Baku, a bronze medal on Grand Prix tournament in Tie, in 2004 she came third at the AGF Cup tournament in Baku, she is also a winner of the all round competition between  Russia and Azerbaijan. At the 2008 Olympics she was placed 11th in the qualifying round. She retired in 2009 and went on to coach fellow competitor Aliya Garayeva, who finished 4th in the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Bernd Jäger, German gymnast was born in Kahla in 1951 and competed in the 1976 Olympics. In the 1974 world championships in Varna, competing on horizontal bar, he first performed his forward sommersault starting from forward giant and ending in backward swing, named later Jägersalto. With this element, Jäger started the worldwide development of release elements on high bar, followed by innovations by gymnastics such as  Eberhard Gienger and Stoyan Delchev
  • North Korean Olympic gymnast Pyon Kwang-sun, who competed at the 2004 Olympics, where she finished seventeenth in the all-around and fourth in the uneven bars final, was born today in 1986. At the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, she won a team silver and an individual bronze on the beam. She is a affiliated to the Kigwancha Gymnastics Club based in Pyongyang
  • Russuan rhythmic gymnast Irina Zilber was born today in 1983 She was affliated to Dynamo Yekaterinburg, in her hometown of Yekaterinburg.  She won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in the women’s group event. In the final she was placed 1st in the club section and was equal second in the hoop/ribbon section. 


  • American gymnast and track and field athlete John William Grieb, who was born today in 1879 and died on 10th December 1939  competed in the 1904 Olympics, where he won the gold medal in the gymnastics’ team event and silver medal in the athletics’ triathlon event, representing the Philiadelphia Turngemeinde. He was also sixth in athletics’ all-around event, 52nd in gymnastics’ all-around event and 90th in gymnastics’ triathlon event.  In later life he owned a delicatessen store in Philadelphia.
  • Charles James Luck. British 1912 Olympic bronze team medallist was born today in 1886 in Kentish Town, London where his father was a carver and guilder. He followed his father in the guilding trade until in later life be became an architect and builder. He died aged 94 in 1981.
  • Hans Schumann Lem, born on this day in 1888 was an Norwegian gymnast who competed in the 1908 Games as a member of the Norwegian team that won the silver medal in the team event. He died on 1st May 1962, aged 73 in Brooklyn, USA
  • Born today in 1893, French Olympian, Léon Delsarte,  who competed in 2 Games, 1920 and 1924.   He won an all-around silver in 1920 and bronze in 1924. At the latter Games he also competed in the individual events, his best placing being 10th on the horizontal bar. 
  • Italian gymnast Anna Avanzini was born on this day in 1917. As a member of her national side, she was placed seventh in the team all-around event at the 1936  Olympics., her sister Vittoria was also a member of the squad.  She died at the grand old age of 93 on 26th January 2011.
  • Chinese gymnast Li Yuejiu, born in 1957 in Liaoning Province, competed at the 1984 Olympic Games, and won a silver medal in the Men’s Team competition. He was China’s first World Champion in floor exercise in 1981. Li retired in October 1984. He went on to study in Canada, and became a coach for the Canadian national gymnastic team. He married in 1986. Later, he and his wife, the 1984 Olympic bronze medallist Wu Jiani, coached in Las Vegas in the United States. He was the coordinator of the 2008 Chinese men’s and women’s Olympic teams and led both teams to an Olympic gold medal, as well as the 2006 World Championship team title. His straddled 3/2 salto sideway, 1/4 twist to roll forward was named the “Yuejiu Airspring” by the International Gymnastic Federation. One of their daughters is Anna Li, who competed for the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team during the 2007 – 2010 seasons at the same Pauley Pavilion where her parents won their Olympic medals. Following the Visa Championships and two selection camps at the Karolyi Ranch in New Waverly, Texas, Anna Li was named to the U.S. 2011 World Championship Team. Li and Wu have been the coaches for World Silver Medalist Mackenzie Caquatto since 2004. In April 2009, they opened Legacy Gymnastics in Aurora, Illinois together to train local gymnasts.
  • Yelena Naimushina, who was born today in 1964, in Krasnoyarsk, was on the Soviet national team from 1979-80, winning a team all-around gold at the 1980 Olympics and a team all-around silver at the 1979 World Championships. Individually her best international placement was 13th in individual all-around at the 1979 Worlds. Naimushina also won gold in balance beam and silver in floor exercise at the 1980 World Cup. Domestically Naimushina won the Soviet balance beam title in 1980, floor silver in 1980 and floor bronze in 1979. She also won all-around silver at the 1979 Soviet Cup and all-around bronze at the 1980 Soviet Cup. Naimushina ended her career in 1982 after a serious back injury. Educated as a physical education teacher, she  married Andris, a Latvian cyclist whom she met in 1980. For 15 years she lived in Latvia where she gave birth two sons Tom and Phillip and daughter Linda-Anna. They later divorced and Naimushina returned to Russia. Between 1990 and 1993 she performed in the sports show All Stars of Dynamo managed by Mikhail Voronin. She later married a second time, to gymnastics coach Sergey Grigoryev, and moved to Tula, Russia, where they trained children. Naimushina died unexpectedly on 14th March 2017, aged 52.
  • American Kerri Allyson Strug, born on this day in 1977, in Tucson, Arizona, was far from the greatest ever American female gymnast, but she may be the best remembered for one vault she performed at the 1996 Olympics. With the USA challenging for the team gold medal, they had only a narrow lead over Russia and Romania going into the final rotation, with Strug scheduled for the horse vault. She was a vault specialist, but had landed badly on her first attempt injuring her left ankle. She was not sure she could make another vault, but after consulting her coaches, bravely decided to attempt it. She took the final vault, landed, hopped slightly on her one good leg, but otherwise was clean, and scored a 9.712, clinching the gold medal for the US. Unfortunately, the story was better than the reality. Without Strug taking the final vault, the US would still have won the competition by 0.309 points. She also competed at the 1992 Olympics, helping the USA win a team bronze medal. At Atlanta in 1996, she had qualified first on the floor, but could not compete in the final because of her injured ankle. Strug also won three medals at the World Championships, all in the team event, with silvers in 1991 and 1994, and a bronze in 1995. She was a media darling after her Atlanta vault on the injured ankle and appeared on talk shows and earned numerous endorsements, actually performing in the Ice Capades and Disney’s World on Ice. However, she turned down many opportunities and attended college, starting at UCLA and then Stanford, eventually obtaining a masters degree in sociology. She later worked initially as an elementary school teacher in San Jose, California, but then moved to Washington, DC in 2003. There she worked as a staff assistant with the US Office of Presidential Student Correspondence, then moved to a job at the General Counsel Office in the Treasury Department. In March 2005, Strug joined the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention staff as a presidential appointee. Strug has also been an active marathon runner, having run marathons in Houston, New York, Boston and Chicago. During the 2004 Olympics, she was a correspondent for Yahoo! in artistic gymnastics. In 2008, she appeared in a television commercial for the Zaxby’s restaurant chain. Also in 2008, her history-making ordeal at the 1996 Olympic games was featured in a commercial, narrated by actor Morgan Freeman for the “Go World” campaign.
  • Feng Zhe,  born in 1987 in Sichuan, China –  is the 2010 World Champion and the 2012 Olympic parallet bar Champion, as well as being a member of the Chinese team that won the team gold at the 2012 Olympics


  • Swiss gymnast Water Beck was born on this day in 1907. He won silver in the Men’s All-Around competition at the 1936 Olympic Games.
  • Born in 1908, American gymnast Irma Haubold, nee Pezzia who competed at the 1936 Games, coming 5th with the team, the only women’s gymnastics event at those Olympics.  She was married to a fellow Olympic gold medal gymnast Frank Haubold. They were the first married couple to compete in the same Olympics Games. She died at the age of 87 on 4th April 1996.
  • French gymnastics competitor Madeleine Jouffroy was born on this day in 1927. She competed at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
  • Born on this day 1949 British gymnast Edward Randall “Eddie” Arnold. Born in Moston, Manchester he attended Carnegie College between 1969-1973 and studied for a Masters degree at Leeds University. He trained at the Leeds Athletic Institute with the likes of Dick Gradley and Scott Mackie. He represented GB at the 1972 Munich Olympics along with team mates Stan Wild and Bill Norgrave. He was killed in 2000 in a climbing accident.
  • Belarusian Antonina Koshel, born in 1954, competed for Russia at the 1972 Olympics winning a gold medal in the team All-Around competition. Individually her best achievement was 12th place on the beam and vault. Koshel began gymnastics after following her older sister, Natalia, into the gym. However, she preferred ballet over gymnastics, but she was not accepted into a local ballet school. After that, she moved to the Minsk sports boarding school to train in gymnastics. She returned to Smalyavichy when her family had trouble paying for the school. However, her coach Viktor Khomutov persuaded Koshel’s parents to let her stay in Minsk. She caught the eye of the national team coaches after winning the all-around competition at the 1970 All-Union Youth Championships. She was invited to join the national team after the 1971 Riga International. Out of the twenty-four possible choices, Koshel was one of the seven women chosen to represent the in Munich. Koshel retired from gymnastics in 1974, and she now works as a coach in Minsk.
  • Austrian rhythmic gymnast Elisabeth Bergmann was born today in 1970. She competed for Austria in the at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, where she was 25th in the preliminary round, not advancing to the final.
  • Dominique Dawes-Thompson, American gymnast was born in 1976.  Known in the gymnastics world as ‘Awesome Dawesome,’ she was a 10-year member of the US national gymnastics team, the 1994 U.S. all-around senior National Champion, a three-time Olympian, a World Championship silver and bronze medallist, and a member of the gold-medal-winning team “Magnificent Seven” at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Dawes is also notable as being the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics, and the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic-gold-medal in gymnastics. She is also one of only three female American gymnasts, along with Muriel Grossfeld and Linda Metheny-Mulvihill, to compete in three Olympics and was part of their medal-winning teams: Barcelona 1992 (bronze), Atlanta 1996 (gold), and Sydney 2000 (bronze). Dawes is the first female gymnast to be a part of three Olympic-medal-winning teams since Lyudmila Turischeva won gold in Mexico City (1968), Munich (1972), and Montreal (1976). Since Dawes, Svetlana Khorkina is the only gymnast to accomplish this feat, winning silver in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), and bronze in Athens (2004).
  • Sonia Fraguas, Spanish gymnast, was born in 1977. An Olympian of the 1992 Barcelona Games where she was placed 9th in the Individual All-Around and the Spanish team was 5th overall in the team competition. Her older sister Cristina was also a member of that team and she came 13th in the Individual All-Around competition.



  • French secondary school teacher and international gymnast Pierre Edmond Paysse was born on this day in 1873. He competed at the 1900 Olympics and 1906 Intercalated Games – placing 4th in the individual All-Around competition in 1900 and winning 2 golds in 1906 – in the individual All-Around and the All-Around (5 events competition). At the 1903 World Gymnastics Championships he won the gold for the all-around team and an individual silver in the bar. Two year later at the 1905 Championships he again was a team gold medallist and took home two bronzes on bat and parallel bars.  He was also horizontal bar world champion in 1906 and in 1917 was instrumental in women’s football in France. As gymnastics teacher to two boys’ secondary schools, he recognised that the girls’ football teams from Femina Sport had little opposition and arranged for mixed matches to be played. A remarkable achievement in 1917 when non-mixing was not only a rule in school but in society in general. The contests ended after six months however as French federation of athletics (Union des Societies Francaises des Sports Athletiques, USFSA), the first amateur multi-sports federation managing about twenty different sports, forbade its member clubs to play football against women’s teams. He died in 1938.
  • Gerardus Jacobus Wesling, Dutch gymnast was born in 1885. He competed in the 1908 Olympics where as part of the Dutch team he finished seventh in the team event and 60th in the individual All-Around, He died on 19th August 1954 in Amsterdam.
  • Born today in 1905 in Amsterdam, Dutch gymnast Elka de Levie, competing for Amsterdam club BATO, she qualified for the Dutch gymnastics team as a reserve. Eventually, she was selected to compete in the first ever women’s gymnastics competition at the 1928 Olympics. The Dutch team earned the gold medal with considerable ease. De Levie’s best known result apart from the Olympics is a first place in the Amsterdam “Steen” competition in 1926. Like a number of her Olympic team- and clubmates, and the team’s coach, De Levie was Jewish, she was the only Jewish team member to survive the Holocaust.  Her teammates Anna Dresden-Polak, Jud Simons and Helena Nordheim, along with coach Gerrit Kleerekoper were gassed in Sobibor, while Estella Agsteribbe was gassed in Auschwitz. On 31st October 1929 she married Andries Abraham Boas but the couple were divorced in 1943. She and both her daughters survived the Second World War by going into hiding. Elka de Levie died in anonymity in Amsterdam on 29th December 1979.
  • Japanese Olympian and gymnastics coach Hiroyuki Tomita was born in 1980. Tomita began gymnastics at the age of eight with his mother getting him started into the sport. He made his debut in world championships competition at the 2002 World Championships, where he came 4th in the event finals of rings. The following year, he was a member of the Japanese men’s team which won a bronze in the 2003 World Championships. He also won bronze in the men’s all-around in the same competition, establishing himself as one of Japan’s top male gymnasts, with his star teammate, Naoya Tsukahara, ranking only 7th in the all-around. In his first Olympics, Tomita led the men’s team in an upset when the Japanese team captured the Olympic title for the first time since 1976, winning over the highly favoured Chinese men’s team. Tomita ranked 6th in the all-around and won silver in the parallel bars.  The next year, in the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, Tomita established himself as the top gymnast in the world by claiming the all-around title. His win made him the first Japanese gymnast in 31 years to win the men’s World Championship. The top two spots were contested in the 2008 Olympics between China and Japan, with Japan as the reigning Olympic men’s team gold medallist, and Tomita as the most senior men’s team member, and leader. China’s men’s team won the gold medal with a team total of 286.125, over seven points more than Japan’s total of 278.875, which was only good enough for the silver medal.  In a press conference in November 2008, Tomita announced his retirement from the sport. He started his coaching career in 2009, becoming the head coach at Juntendo University. He works with gymnasts like Koki Sakamoto and Yosuke Hoshi. In February 2009, Tomita received official certification allowing him to judge gymnastic competitions.
  • Tasha Schwikert Warren, born today in 1984 is an American gymnast who is a 2000 Olympic bronze medallists, a World Gymnastics Championships team gold medallists, the 2001 and 2002 US senior national all-around champion and the 2005 and 2008 NCAA all-around national champion. Schwikert began gymnastics at a young age and rose through the ranks to the elite level in the sport in the mid-90s. She was a surprise member of the 2000 Olympic squad, but performed well in both the team preliminaries and finals in Sydney. Following the Olympics, she became one of the most prominent gymnasts in the United States, winning two team medals at the World Championships and placing fifth in the all-around at the 2001 Worlds. An ankle injury impeded her progress and left her named as an alternate on the 2004 Olympic team. Following her elite career, Schwikert spent four years as a member of the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team. During her time with the Bruins she won two individual all-around NCAA national champion titles and two Pac-10 all-around titles, and was nominated for the Honda Award. She is currently pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, and has already been employed as a commentator at several major gymnastics events.
  • Krystyna Cherepenina, Ukrainian Rhythmic gymnast was born on this day in 1991. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing she was placed 8th in the Women’s Group competition.
  • Russian Tatiana Nabieva was born in 1994, in Pushkin, she won four World Championship medals. At the 2010 Japan Cup, she introduced a toe-on laid-out Tkachev on the uneven bars (a piked sole circle backwards to a reverse hecht in a layout position over the high bar). Gold with the Russian team at the 2010 World Championships, despite falling on the uneven bars in the team final. It was at these world championships that her original skill was officially named after her. She also qualified for the all-around final, but errors left her in seventh place. At the 2011 Worlds she won silver as part of the Russian team and a silver in the uneven bars behind teammate Viktoria Komova. In late 2013, Nabieva announced her retirement from gymnastics via social media after a win at a small French meet. She said: “I want to be a coach. That’s my dream, since the very moment I started gymnastics. My dream is to train children and participate with them in the most serious competitions.” She was however persuaded to come out of retirement to compete at the 2014 World, scoring 14.933 on vault, which helped the Russian team win. She finally retired from gymnastics in 2016.



  • Emil Beyer, American from New York city was born today in 1876.  A gymnast and track and field athlete who competed in the 1904 Olympics. Born to German immigrant parents, Beyer was a member of the New York Turnverein. In 1904 he won the silver medal in the team event. He was also 30th in gymnastics all-around event, 34th in gymnastics’ triathlon event and 36th in athletics’ triathlon event. He had entered United States Military Academy in 1897, but failed to graduate. In later life, he operated a pharmacy. He died on 15th October 1934.
  • Italian Olympic competitor Paolo Salvi was born on this day in 1891. Salvi was twice a member of the victorious Italian gymnastics squad that took Olympic gold in 1912 and 1920. At the 1911 World Championships, Salvi won silver in pommell horse and bronzes in parallel bars and in team all-around. He was also a member of Italian gymnastics team that won bronze in team all-around at the 1913 World Championships. He later served as a judge. In November 1944, Salvi was arrested for the first time and in 1945 was killed in an unknown German concentration camp, probably Mauthausen.
  • Japanese gymnast Kiichiro Toyama was born in 1909.  He competed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where his best result was a ninth place finish in the All-Around Team competition. Fourteen teams entered this event, which consisted of eight-man teams, with the top six scores from the individual all-around counting towards the team score. Germany and Switzerland dominated, with Germany winning the gold medal fairly comfortably ahead of the Swiss. Finland was a distant third. Germany was led by Alfred Schwarzmann and Konrad Frey, the gold and bronze medallists in the individual all-around, while Switzerland was led by Eugen Mack, who won silver in that event.
  • Born on this day in 1931, Czech gymnast Alena Chadimová, who competed in the 1952 Olympics, winning a bronze in the women’s All-Around team event.
  • German rhythmic gymnast Christiane Klumpp (now Wagner) was born in Freudenstadt, West Germany in 1976. She competed for Germany in the rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, coming 10th overall. Later in the same year, in November, she was 8th in the individual all-around at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Brussels.
  • Enrique Tomás González Sepúlveda (known as Tomás González) was born on this day in 1985 in Santiago Chile He was the first Chilean to win a medal at the Gymnastics World Cup, and the first to qualify for a Summer Olympic Games. González has won nine medals (four golds, four silvers and one bronze) at World Cup events, five medals (three silvers and two bronzes) at Pan American Games, seven medals (two golds, two silvers and three bronzes) at South American Games and one gold medal at the January 2012 London Olympics test event (where he qualified for the Olympics). He has participated in four World Championships (2007, 2009 2010 and 2011), finishing seventh in floor in 2009 and sixth in the same exercise in 2011. In April 2011 González was ranked World Number 1 on floor and vault for the first time. At the 2012 Olympics González finished fourth in the floor and vault finals, with a score of 15.366 (out of 16.500) and 16.183 (out of 16.800), respectively. His execution score of 9.383 in vault was the highest among the eight finalists.
  • Also born on this day in 1985 was Japanese gymnast Makoto Okiguchi. He was part of his national team that won team silver at the 2007 and 2011 World championships as well as an Olympic team silver at the 2009 Games. He has one individual international medal – a bronze in the vault at the 2011 World Championships.



  • Italian Gustavo Taddia was born on this day in 1886.  He was a member of the Italian men’s team that were placed 6th overall in the men’s All-Around competition at the 1908 Olympics. The teams were made up of between 16 and 40 competitors and the mass exercise was performed, there were no compulsory moves.  The exercise was 30 minutes long with the mark awarded being out of a possible 480. Sweden took the gold with 438 followed by Norway and Finland with 425 and 405 points respectively. Taffia and his team scored 316 points.
  • Nicolas Kanivé, Luxembourgian gymnast and athlete was born today in 1887. In 1912, he was a member of the Luxembourgian team which finished fourth in the team, European system competition and fifth in the team, free system event. In the individual all-around competition he finished 20th. Eight years later he participated as a long jumper and finished 29th and last in the Olympic long jump event in 1920. He died aged 78 on 12th July 1966. At the time of the 1912 Olympics, international gymnastics was split among several schools. There was the Swedish, or Ling school; the Sokol, or Bohemian, school; and the German turnen, or European school. Each method had its supporters and the gymnastics community compromised by providing a team competition in three different systems at Stockholm – the European (German), the Swedish, and a Free System, with free choice of movements and apparatus. This would be repeated in 1920 at Antwerp, when the same three styles were used for three separate team events. All of the Olympic gymnastics events were held outdoors in the Olympic Stadium, which was common in that era.
  • Georg Antonius Brustad was born today in 1892. He was a member of the Norwegian gymnastics team that won the bronze medal (Swedish system event) in the 1912 Games. He died on 17th March 1932.
  • Otello Ternelli, born in Italy in 1912, represented his country at the 1936 Games – the team were placed 5th in the All-Around while Ternelli himself was 42nd in the individual All-Around.
  • Born on this day in 1933 in Hungary, International competitor Lajos Varga. He died aged 72 on 7th Febuary 2006. He practiced his gymnastics at the Újpesti Tornaegylet in Budapest and at the 1960 Olympics in Rome was placed 12th as part of the Hungarian team and 32nd in the individual All-Around competition, his best result came in the rings events where he was 25th overall. Four years later in Tokyo, Varga and his team-mates came a creditable 9th in the team competition, with Varga dropping to 35th in the individual All-Around, his best placing in the apparatus events being 14th place for his horizontal bar routine.
  • Born on this day in 1958 in Bulgaria, Dancho Yordanov who competed in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The gymnastics took place at the the Dvorets Sporta, or Palace of Sports, in the Central Lenin Stadium. Yordanov was 13th in the Individual All-Around competition and 5th place in the Team All-Around as a member of the Bulgarian team.
  • Born in Montreal today in 1970 – Cathy Giancaspro who was just 14 when she competed in her first world championships in Montreal in 1985. Three years later, she was the first female gymnast in the history of Quebec to compete in an Olympic Games, in Seoul.
  • Spanish gymnast Manuel Carballo was born in 1982, he is from a renowned gymnastics family. His father Jesús Sr is the coach of the Spanish national women’s team and his older brother Jesús Carballo Jr was a two-time world champion. Another brother, Javier, is also involved in Gymnastics. Carballo was the 2005 European Champion on the Parallel Bars with a score of 9.712. He qualified in second place for the 2005 World Championships final on the event. Manuel performed a clean routine until his dismount, where a large stumble left him out of medal contention. Carballo has also won numerous medals at World Cup competitions and was a member of the Spanish team at the 2007 World Championships. In 2008, Carballo was part of the Spanish Olympic Team, finishing 11th.



  • Hubert Lafortune was born in 1889, was a Belgian gymnast who was part of the team who won a silver medal at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. He lived in the Constantin Meunierstraat in Leuven and was a member of the “La Populaire Louvaniste” club. The 1920 gymnastics events consisted of an individual All-Around competition and three team events. The three team events were chosen to reflect the varying schools of gymnastics practised on the European continent in this era. The three team events consisted of only a few nations entering, but with many competitors allowed per team. Other than the description of the scoring methods, details of the competition have not survived. Scoring, as always in gymnastics, was controversial, notably in both team events. His brothers Marcel and Jacques and cousin Frans represented Belgium in Olympic shooting events between 1924 and 1976.
  • Aarne  Pelkonen was born in Finland in 1891, he competed in the 1912 Olympics as part of the Finnish team, which won the silver medal in the gymnastics men’s team, free system event. He died on 6th November 1949.
  • Dutch athlete Israel Wijnschenk was born in Amsterdam in 1895 and died in Auschwitz on 31st January 1943. Wijnschenk, who was of Jewish descent, was a member of the gymnastics club BATO from Amsterdam. He participated in the Olympics in 1928. He worked as a diamond grinder and was married to Marianna Peeper who was killed in Auschwitz in 1942, their only child, a daughter, Hendrika, was killed alongside her mother.
  • Anna “Ans” Dresden-Polak, née Anna Polak, Jewish Dutch gymnast was born in 1906. She won the gold medal as member of the Dutch gymnastics team at the 1928 Olympics, in her native Amsterdam. She was born in Amsterdam, and died in Sobibor extermination camp. From Westerbork concentration camp, she had been deported to Sobibór, where she was murdered on 23rd July 1943 together with her six-year-old daughter Eva. Her husband, Barend Dresden was killed a few months later in 1944 in Auschwitz concentration camp. Other Jewish team members; Lea Kloot-Nordheim, Judikje Themans-Simons and their coach, Gerrit Kleerekoper were also killed in Sobibor while Stella Blits-Agsteribbe was killed in Auschwitz. She was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
  • American Dick Beckner was born today in 1927 and died on 9th September 1997 aged 59. He trained at the Los Angeles Turners Club and competed at the 1956 Olympics for the USA. He won one individual AAU title, the rings in 1956 and helped the Los Angeles Turners to the team title in 1959-61. He also won two silver and three bronze medals at the AAUs. Beckner won nine gold medals at the 1955 Pan American Games, winning on the rings, parallel bars, and with the US team in All-Around, and in all the team apparatus events. His best event was the parallel bars, which he also won at the Southern Pacific AAU in 1949, 1951, and 1955. Beckner attended Los Angeles State College. He later frequently judged high school and college gymnastics meets. Beckner worked as a high school physical education teacher, also coaching gymnastics. His brother, Jack Beckner was considered the greatest American male gymnast of the 1950s, competing for the US at the 1952, 1956, and 1960 Olympics. His greatest tournament was certainly the 1955 Pan American Games where Beckner set an all-time Games record by winning 11 gold medals, including the individual and team all-around, three individual apparatus golds, and golds in all six team apparatus events. Beckner added six more medals at the 1959 Pan Am Games, with four golds, one silver, and one bronze, for a Pan American total of 15 gold medals, and 17 medals in all.
  • Don Tonry, born in Brooklyn New York today in 1935, attended the University of Illinois where he was NCAA Champion in all-around and floor exercise in 1956. He won seven AAU titles, winning the All-Around, parallel bars, and floor in 1956 and 1962 and the vault in 1958. Tonry competed at the World Championships in 1958, 1962, and 1966, and at the Pan American Games in 1959 and 1963, winning four individual bronze medals and a team gold in 1959. In 1963 he again won team gold, gold on the parallel bars, and added a silver and two bronze medals. After coaching briefly at West Point, Tonry became coach at Yale University in 1962 and stayed there as coach for 43 years, serving as Associate Director of Physical Education from 1972-78 and Director of Physical Education and Sport Camps from 1998-2005. His wife, Barbara Galleher-Tonry, was initially one of his students, became the women’s gymnastic coach at Yale for over 40 years. Don Tonry was inducted as a member of the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1980. He died aged 77 in New Haven, Connecticut on 17th May 2013.
  • West German Olympian Helmut Tepasse was born in 1946.  At the 1968 Games he helped the team to 8th place in the All-Around team event.
  • Born on this day in 1977, Romanian Ioan Silviu Suciu, whose specialist event is the pommel horse. One of his closest rivals was his team mate and pommel horse Olympic champion Marius Urzică, who was defeated by Suciu in Ljubljana in 2004, when the latter won the title while Urzică took 8th place. Suciu is an Olympic bronze medallist with the team, a silver world medallist on pommel horse and a six-time European medallist (pommel horse, vault and team). Suciu was one of the key team members of the Romanian gymnastics team for several years contributing to the 2004 Olympic team bronze medal and three continental team medals (two gold and one silver). He also placed fourth all around at the 2004 Olympic Games.
  • Canadian Michelle Conway was born today in 1983. She trained at the Sport Seneca club in Toronto and competed between 1996 and 2001. At 16, Conway was the second youngest of Canada’s 2000 Olympians, yet she used her considerable international experience and old-fashioned guts to be one of the team’s unsung heroes. Just days before the start of the competition, Conway injured her left knee inn training thus putting her competitive status in jeopardy. She was not to be denied, however, and when teammate Emilie Fournier sustained a tibial fracture during podium training, Conway stepped up and contributed three nearly flawless routines towards Canada’s impressive 9th-place team position. The 2001 season saw Conway still not completely free from her injury but persistence gave her a victory at the 2001 Gymnix International and a 5th place at the Friendship Cup in Pennsylvania.
  • Australian gymnast Karen Nguyen was born in 1987 and participated at the 2004 Olympics. She also competed at world championships, including the 2006 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark.
  • Ana Sofía Gómez Porras is a Guatemalan gymnast was born in 1995. She won silver in the All-Around event and gold on beam at the 2011 Pan American Games. She competed for Guatemala at the 2012 Olympics, in the individual women’s All-Around she qualified in 16th, eventually going on to finish 22nd. In 2013, she competed in the World Cup in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and she placed fourth on the floor final with a score of 13.125. In 2014, she went to Texas to improve her skills before she went to compete in Croatia. Although she qualified for the beam final in first place with a score of 13.900, in the final she fell and received a 7.300 in execution and a 6.100 in difficulty finishing in fourth place. She participated in the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Nanning, China, and came 43rd in the All-Around qualification. At the 2015 Pan American Games she earned herself a bronze with her floor routine. She competed for Guatemala at the 2016 Olympics, but did not qualify for any of the event finals or the women’s individual all-around final. She was the flagbearer for Guatemala during the Parade of Nations.
  • Bulgarian rhythmic performer Katrin Yankova Taseva was born in 1997, she is a two-time 2016-17 Bulgarian National all-around silver medallist.