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Amsterdam 1928

Dutch delight home fans in the gymnastics

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.

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