The technic on Pommelhorse
The oldest description of gymnastics on an artificial horse is over 600 years old. It was written by a Renatus Vegetius , who, in his four volume “Overview of the Roman Army”, describes soldiers using a wooden horse for practice. In the 17th century a drill- instructor developed the art of equestrian acrobatics from this description. In the early 19th century the wooden pommels were replaced by a biegel, and the wooden horse developed into a schwingel' covered in leather.
Today's fascinating and dynamic routines on a modern pommel horse are hardly reminiscent of the early forms of movement on this apparatus. The development was massively influenced by the 
flexible and innovative solutions offered by renowned apparatus manufacturers....


Trends of  Pommel Horse Routines of the Past Five Decades (I)
(by Heinz Neumann, international judge for many years)  II : 70s - 90s years     

Heinz Neumann

About the author

Potsdam native Heinz Neumann (born November 20, 1931) was a coach at the former Army Sports Club "ASK Potsdam" in Potsdam,. Germany, from 1954  to 1992. He also served as head coach for the GDR team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Later on, he, who has always loved paying special attention to details, focussed on the specialities of the most complex of apparatus, pommel horse.
He was the first A judge in history (i.e. second head judge, responsible for difficulty and special requirements) and was a judge at every major international competition from 1965 to 1971. He judged his first competition in 1958 and continued judging internationally until the mid 1990s, and is an active judge until this day.

Heinz Neumann is considered one of the most knowledgeable pommel horse experts world wide, who has a particular reputation of having a knack for details.

 The 1950s - The Soviet Era

Soviet gymnasts went right to the top at their first international appearance at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. They were impressive on pommel horse, showing new elements and lifting the sport to a new level with the extreme confidence with which they performed. The "Shaginyan", named after Grant Shaginyan, the 1954 world champion on pommel horse, became a standard element among top pommel horse workers in the 1960s. With slight changes, it would remain the most popular dismount in throughout the 1970s.

The 1958  FIG code of points already included the expression "Russian".

World Champion 1958: Boris Schachlin
( on a Mongolian stamp after the Olympic Games 1960, Roma) 

This element, and its variations, would become one of the most common basic elements of many a pommel horse routine. Even today, the Russian in its more complex forms (triple on the end of the horse or on one pommel) remains an important component of pommel horse routines.
 The 1960s - The Cerar Years

Miroslav Cerar was a pommel horse virtuoso, who took the motto "beauty before difficulty" to perfection. He showed elegance, extension and incredible confidence in all of his big international competitions. Even though he didn't pioneer any new elements, his contribution to gymnastics in terms of flawless execution is invaluable and an example to gymnasts everywhere.
The tendency towards one pommel work was already noticeable during Cerar's career. Yu Lie Feng of China was first performed his unique circles on one pommel at 1962 world championships in Prague. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City Japanese gymnasts Sawao Kato and Eizo Kenmotzu performed the "Stoeckli followed by immediate B" that the Americans had introduced in a 1964 manual.
One pommel work was further facilitated by improvements of the structure of the pommel, for instance its flattening and lengthening.


Cerar formerly and today

The "Nikolai spindle" (immediate Stoeckli B on one pommel, three times) was invented in 1979 by Berlin native Michael Nikolai, who tied for the 1981 world pommel horse title with Chinese Li Xiaopeng. Highly rewarded by the code of points, one pommel work would become more and more popular, especially in the 1990s  


    Next: Part 2: From the Seventies - to today