roots for the uneven bars, the horizontal bar and the horse lie in Germany,
whereas the German gymnasts could not get along too well with the rings…
“Big Three” of German gymnastics history – GutsMuths,
Vieth and Jahn did not know the apparatus yet. Adolf Spieß (1810-1858)
is supposed to have introduced the rings as a swinging apparatus,
which he called “Ringeschwebel“. In the textbook by Eiselen
(1847), student of Jahn; there were pictures of rings with triangular
handle (bow, triangle). The expression “bow exercises” was quite
tournaments in gymnastics became popular in the
19th century, the apparatus was not employed in competition
exercises and was mostly used in schools. The swinging rings
was different in the Roman and Benelux states,
who were contributing to a great extent to the formation of
the international gymnastics federation: They dominated the
first tournaments, such as the international one in Antwerp
(Belgium) in 1903, which was posthumously declared the first
World Championships in history. Here the rings appeared in
triangular and round forms.
In 1905 in Bordeaux and 1907
in Prague, it could neither be agreed on the swinging nor
on the still hanging rings- the competitions simply did not
after 1920 it was not common in the German gymnastics federations to
use the swinging rings.
The rings were made of iron at that time and were wrapped with thread
and covered with leather. However, wooden rings and rings made of wickerwork
and hard rubber were also described. Multiple glued rings, usual later
on, were not known yet.
Gymnastics on rings 1928
Hemp ropes and iron rings
diameter of the rings was 13-15 cm, the iron ones 20mm thick,
the wooden ones 25-30mm thick. “Their origins are in Italy,
where they were used by artists, probably in Roman times already:
therefore their name “Roman rings”. (R.
Gasch, 120, “Handbuch des Turnens”)
the VIII Olympic Games in Paris in 1924, the
apparatus appeared in the Olympic programme for the
first time as an individual apparatus. Rings with a relatively big diameter hang
on a massive wooden trestle.
Rotation threads to put the rings on were not known
yet. Finals at every apparatus were not common either,
the single presentations in the all around competition
counted. Francesco Martino from Italy is the first best
gymnast at the rings in the Olympic protocol.
years later it was the Slovenian Leon
Stukelj, who achieved the Gold medal and who astonished
with the first “head cross” and ideal horizontal arms.
Leon Stukelj - head cross in the
the Olympic Games in 1936,
the ropes of the rings still consisted of hemp. Actually, there were
better constructions already, where the lower part of the rope was made
of leather, which reduced the strain at the end of the flinging elastically;
observed at a competition in Poland in 1936. When passing the vertical,
powers occur which put a strain on the shoulders that is 7-8 times the
weight of the body, so that this construction reduced the risk of injuries.
steel tube trestles, which were used in the 1930ies, remained
the same in looks and stays in the 1950ies, but the leather
loops in the lower part were common already.
the World Championships in Rome in 1954,
the steel rope appeared for the first time in the upper part
and in the middle there was an adjustable part.
order to reduce the sideward swinging of the rectangular trestle,
the German apparatus constructer Richard
Reuther introduced the inward inclining vertical
supports in 1956. Consequently, the bar at the top was only
half as long, which reduced the disturbing horizontal swinging.
However, it took until the mid 1960ies till the Reuther system
got through. In the 1970ies, wood in layers (glued) was prescribed
in the norm book instead of the hard wooden rings and instead
of a maximum load of 250 kilogram weight (1965), the FIG prescribed
400 kilogram weight ten years later, which could not be changed
World Champion 1954 and 1958:
Albert Asaryan (URS)
Modern apparatus at the World Championships in Ghent 2001
at this apparatus, former characterized by mainly structural
and power elements, had developed to dynamic gymnastics at rings,
which was full of drive:
Mikhail Voronin 1966
switches between the athletic power elements and fast
swing techniques began to appear after the introduction
of the giant circles with stretched arms, which are
also called “Woronin circles”, due to their inventor
Michael Woronin. Those techniques led to dismount difficulties,
which were considered to be impossible until that time.
Starting with the first double stooping somersault backward
by Eberhard Gienger at the European Championships in
1971 and the double somersault forward by the Polish
Andrzej Szajna two years later in Grenoble,
continuing with a stretched double somersault by Nikolai
Andrianov at the World Cup in Oviedo (1977),
leading to the first triple somersault by the European
Champion at rings Juri Korolyov
in Rome in 1981…!
gymnast of the century Juri Chechi
– fivefold World Champion and double Olympic Champion
at rings in the 1990ies - athletes like the Greek Dimosthenes
Tambakos, the Bulgarian Jordan
Jovtschev or the World and Olympic Champion Szilvester
Csollany are leading.
At the World Championships in Ghent the J&F
High-capacity rings trestle “Barcelona” will
be used. The “Barcelona” trestle is FIG-qualified and equipped
with innovative and patented damping elements, which reduce
strain tops to a large extent.
"Der Vorturner", 1927/28; "Das Turnjahrhundert
der Deutschen", Götze/Herholz: Beckmanns Sportlexikon A-Z,
Leipzig, Wien 1933; "Deutsche Turnzeitung", 1901;
"Neue deutsche Turnzeitung", 1961, J. Leirich; "Geschichte
der Turngeräte", J. Göhler/R. Spieth; "Mondsalto",
gymbooks Verlag 1994, A. Götze/J. Uhr; "FlickFlack...",
Sportverlag Berlin, A .Götze/H.-J. Zeume; "The History
of British Gymnastics", 1988 by BAGA.