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Dutch win stirring gymnastics gold

29/05/1928

The Netherlands achieved one of its most stirring gold medals of the 1928 Olympic Games on the home soil of Amsterdam when the women’s team gymnasts gracefully prevailed.

The rigid, structured nature of the modern competition was a far cry from the event in 1928, when women competed for the Olympic gold medal for the very first time.

While today groups of gymnasts representing each country do a circuit of five disciplines to decide the medals, in 1928 the watchword was very much performances by the ‘team’.

The five competing nations marched to the centre of the windswept grass pitch at the Olympic Stadium to do battle.

Lined up in a series of graceful dance movements that more resembled a mass gym workout than an Olympic event, the teams performed a series of set manoeuvres before the ranks of judges.

While the men performed on the apparatus we recognise from today, including the vault and parallel bars, the women were really tested for their skills of balance, teamwork and grace.

The Dutch turned out to be handsome winners, finishing almost 30 points ahead of the Italians in second with Great Britain securing the bronze.

Discover the best photos of Amsterdam 1928

  • The 1928 “Céleste” club

    The football team entered victoriously by Uruguay at the 1928 Games. Andrés Mazali stands third from right

    ©IOC

  • Winner’s medal Amsterdam 1928

    The reverse of the medal shows an athlete carried triumphantly in victory. This motif was used on the reverse of summer Olympic medals until 1968, when a different reverse was designed for the Munich 1972 Games

    ©IOC

  • AAANX093

    Amsterdam 1928-Italian competitors (ITA) on the boat arriving in Amsterdam.

  • XAAQA003

    Amsterdam 1928-WIDE Edvin (SWE) 3rd in 5000 m and 10000 m.

  • XAAQA007

    Amsterdam 1928-Field hockey-Count Henri DE BAILLET-LATOUR congratulating the Belgian team (BEL) 4e.

  • XAAQA001

    Amsterdam 1928-1500m-In 8th position, MARTIN Paul (SUI) 6th.

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