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Gymnastics at the 1896 Athina Summer Games

1896 Summer Games: Next Summer Games


Host City: Athina, Greece
Date Started: April 9, 1896
Date Finished: April 9, 1896
Events: 8

Participants: 28 (28 men and 0 women) from 8 countries
Youngest Participant: GRE Dimitrios Loundras (10 years, 216 days)
Oldest Participant: GER Hermann Weingärtner (31 years, 227 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): GER Hermann Weingärtner (6 medals)
Most Medals (Country): GER Germany (10 medals)


The 1896 gymnastics events were conducted in the [Panathinaiko Stadio], in the infield of the track. They were basically contests among the Greeks and the Germans, although there were several other nations who had one or two competitors.

The Germans competed amidst controversy back home, as the Deutsche Turnerschaft, the German gymnastics association, did not want them to appear. The German gymnasts were threatened with suspension if they competed in Athens, but this suspension was not carried out.

In the two team events, the Germans won easily. Only the Germans competed on the horizontal bar for teams. The team events allowed each team an exercise of up to four minutes in length. Teams were required to have at least 10 members, and there was no limit on the number of gymnasts on a team. Germany had a 10-man team, while the two Greek teams had 32 and 18 gymnasts. Unfortunately, the names of most of the Greek gymnastics teams has not survived.

In the individual events, the performances on each apparatus lasted up to two minutes in length. There were 7 judges, including Prince Georgios as referee in all events. The judges were to evaluate the performance as to: 1) body control and power, and 2) agility and mobility. The average of the two components gave the final points. The number of points in all the events has not survived. There were no compulsory exercises, only voluntary, which, according to the Germans, made the judging difficult.