Pommel horse

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A gymnast performs flairs on the pommel horse

The pommel horse is an artistic gymnastics apparatus. Traditionally, it is used by only male gymnasts. Originally made of a metal frame with a wooden body and a leather cover, the modern pommel horse has a metal body covered with foam rubber and leather, with plastic handles (or pommels).[1]

Apparatus[edit]

History[edit]

An early pommel horse

Dimensions[edit]

Measurements of the apparatus are published by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) in the Apparatus Norms brochure.[2]

  • Height from top surface to floor: 115 centimetres (3.77 ft) ± 1 centimetre (0.39 in)
  • Length at top: 160 centimetres (5.2 ft) ± 1 centimetre (0.39 in)
  • Length at bottom: 155 centimetres (5.09 ft) ± 1 centimetre (0.39 in)
  • Width at top: 35 centimetres (14 in) ± 1 centimetre (0.39 in)
  • Width at bottom: 30 centimetres (12 in) ± 1 centimetre (0.39 in)
  • Height of the pommels: 12 centimetres (4.7 in) ± 0.5 centimetres (0.20 in)
  • Distance between the pommels: 40 centimetres (16 in) – 45 centimetres (18 in) (adjustable)

Routines[edit]

A typical pommel horse exercise involves both single leg and double leg work. Single leg skills are generally in the form of scissors. Double leg work however, is the main staple of this event. The gymnast swings both legs in a circular motion (clockwise or counterclockwise depending on preference) and performs such skills on all parts of the apparatus. To make the exercise more challenging, gymnasts will often include variations on a typical circling skill by turning (moores and spindles), by straddling their legs (Flairs), placing one or both hands on the pommel or the leather, or moving up and down the horse placing their hands on the pommel and/or the leather (travelling). Routines end when the gymnast performs a dismount, either by swinging his body over the horse or going through a handstand to land on the mat. The pommel horse, its gymnastic elements, and various rules are all regulated by the Code of Points.

Pommel horse is considered one of the more difficult men's events.[3] While it is well noted that all events require a certain build of muscle and technique, pommel horse tends to favor technique over muscle. This is because horse routines are done from the shoulders in a leaning motion and that no moves need to be held, unlike other events. Therefore, stress induced in one's arms is reduced, meaning less muscle is needed in this event than events like still rings or parallel bars.

International level routines[edit]

Pommel horse during the 1896 Summer Olympics.

A pommel horse routine should contain at least one element from all element groups:[4]

  • Single leg swings and scissors
  • Circles and flairs, with and/or without spindles and handstands
  • Side and cross support travels
  • Dismounts

Scoring and rules[edit]

As with all events in the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique guidelines, form is crucial to any successful routine. For pommel horse, form consists of keeping one's feet pointed and legs straight during the entire routine. The gymnast should keep his legs together during all elements, exceptions beings scissors, single legged elements, and flairs.[4] Gymnasts are also deducted for not using all three sections of the horse and pausing or stopping on the apparatus.[4] Deductions also apply for brushing and hitting the apparatus.[5]

Olympic pommel horse medalists[edit]

The most decorated and successful Olympic pommel worker in history is Great Britain's Max Whitlock, with three medals including two gold medals. Two other gymnasts have three pommel horse Olympic medals across three Games; Romania's Marius Urzică with one gold and two silver medals, and Whitlock's compatriot and teammate Louis Smith with two silvers, and a bronze - under historic rules Smith would have shared gold in 2012, but was awarded silver behind Kristian Berki after a tie was broken on execution score.

Three other pommel workers have two Olympic gold medals, and each is considered a legend of the sport; the Soviet Union gymnast Boris Shakhlin. the Yugoslav Miroslav Cerar and the Hungarian master, Zoltán Magyar.


Games Gold Silver Bronze
1896 Athens
details
Louis Zutter
 Switzerland
Hermann Weingärtner
 Germany
none awarded
1900 Paris not included in the Olympic program
1904 St. Louis
details
Anton Heida
 United States
George Eyser
 United States
William Merz
 United States
1908–1920 not included in the Olympic program
1924 Paris
details
Josef Wilhelm
 Switzerland
Jean Gutweninger
 Switzerland
Antoine Rebetez
 Switzerland
1928 Amsterdam
details
Hermann Hänggi
 Switzerland
Georges Miez
 Switzerland
Heikki Savolainen
 Finland
1932 Los Angeles
details
István Pelle
 Hungary
Omero Bonoli
 Italy
Frank Haubold
 United States
1936 Berlin
details
Konrad Frey
 Germany
Eugen Mack
 Switzerland
Albert Bachmann
 Switzerland
1948 London
details
Paavo Aaltonen
 Finland
none awarded none awarded
Veikko Huhtanen
 Finland
Heikki Savolainen
 Finland
1952 Helsinki
details
Viktor Chukarin
 Soviet Union
Yevgeny Korolkov
 Soviet Union
none awarded
Hrant Shahinyan
 Soviet Union
1956 Melbourne
details
Boris Shakhlin
 Soviet Union
Takashi Ono
 Japan
Viktor Chukarin
 Soviet Union
1960 Rome
details
Eugen Ekman
 Finland
none awarded Shuji Tsurumi
 Japan
Boris Shakhlin
 Soviet Union
1964 Tokyo
details
Miroslav Cerar
 Yugoslavia
Shuji Tsurumi
 Japan
Yury Tsapenko
 Soviet Union
1968 Mexico City
details
Miroslav Cerar
 Yugoslavia
Olli Laiho
 Finland
Mikhail Voronin
 Soviet Union
1972 Munich
details
Viktor Klimenko
 Soviet Union
Sawao Kato
 Japan
Eizo Kenmotsu
 Japan
1976 Montreal
details
Zoltán Magyar
 Hungary
Eizo Kenmotsu
 Japan
Nikolai Andrianov
 Soviet Union
Michael Nikolay
 East Germany
1980 Moscow
details
Zoltán Magyar
 Hungary
Alexander Dityatin
 Soviet Union
Michael Nikolay
 East Germany
1984 Los Angeles
details
Li Ning
 China
none awarded Timothy Daggett
 United States
Peter Vidmar
 United States
1988 Seoul
details
Dmitry Bilozerchev
 Soviet Union
none awarded none awarded
Zsolt Borkai
 Hungary
Lubomir Geraskov
 Bulgaria
1992 Barcelona
details
Pae Gil-su
 North Korea
none awarded Andreas Wecker
 Germany
Vitaly Scherbo
 Unified Team
1996 Atlanta
details
Donghua Li
 Switzerland
Marius Urzică
 Romania
Alexei Nemov
 Russia
2000 Sydney
details
Marius Urzică
 Romania
Eric Poujade
 France
Alexei Nemov
 Russia
2004 Athens
details
Teng Haibin
 China
Marius Urzică
 Romania
Takehiro Kashima
 Japan
2008 Beijing
details
Xiao Qin
 China
Filip Ude
 Croatia
Louis Smith
 Great Britain
2012 London
details
Krisztián Berki
 Hungary
Louis Smith
 Great Britain
Max Whitlock
 Great Britain
2016 Rio de Janeiro
details
Max Whitlock
 Great Britain
Louis Smith
 Great Britain
Alexander Naddour
 United States
2020 Tokyo
details
Max Whitlock
 Great Britain
Lee Chih-kai
 Chinese Taipei
Kazuma Kaya
 Japan

World pommel horse medalists[edit]

Pommel horse has been contested at World Championships from their inauguration. The record for most World victories is held by several workers at 3. Three of the four double Olympic champions, Miroslav Cerar, Zoltan Magyar and Max Whitlock have each won the World title three times, to set the record for combined global titles at 5. The most decorated workers at World Championships are Whitlock, Xiao Qin and Kristian Berki, both with three gold and two silver medals.

Bold numbers in brackets denotes record number of victories.

Year Location Gold Silver Bronze
1903 Belgium Antwerp France Georges Dejagere
France Joseph Lux
Netherlands Henricus Thyssen
- -
1905 France Bordeaux France Georges Dejagere France Marcel Lalu France Daniel Lavielle
1907 Austria-Hungary Prague Bohemia František Erben France Jules Rolland Bohemia Karel Sal
1909 Luxembourg Luxembourg No pommel horse event held
1911 Italy Turin Italy Osvaldo Palazzi Italy Paolo Salvi
Italy Giorgio Zampori
-
1913 France Paris Italy Giorgio Zampori France N. Aubry
Italy Osvaldo Palazzi
France Marco Torrès
-
1915–1917 Not held due to World War I
1922 Kingdom of Yugoslavia Ljubljana Czechoslovakia Miroslav Klinger Czechoslovakia Stanislav Indruch
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Leon Štukelj
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Peter Šumi
-
1926 France Lyon Czechoslovakia Jan Karafiát Czechoslovakia Jan Gajdoš Czechoslovakia Ladislav Vácha
1930 Luxembourg Luxembourg Kingdom of Yugoslavia Josip Primožič Kingdom of Yugoslavia Peter Šumi Czechoslovakia Jan Gajdoš
1934 Hungary Budapest Switzerland Eugen Mack Switzerland Eduard Steinemann Czechoslovakia Jan Sladek
1938 Czechoslovakia Prague Switzerland Michael Reusch Czechoslovakia Vratislav Petráček Switzerland Leo Schürmann
1942 Not held due to World War II
1950 Switzerland Basel Switzerland Josef Stalder Switzerland Marcel Adatte Switzerland Walter Lehmann
1954 Italy Rome Soviet Union Grant Shaginyan Switzerland Josef Stalder Soviet Union Viktor Chukarin
1958 Soviet Union Moscow Soviet Union Boris Shakhlin Soviet Union Pavel Stolbov Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Miroslav Cerar
1962 Czechoslovakia Prague Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Miroslav Cerar Soviet Union Boris Shakhlin Japan Takashi Mitsukuri
China Yu Lifeng
1966 West Germany Dortmund Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Miroslav Cerar Soviet Union Mikhail Voronin Japan Takeshi Katō
1970 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ljubljana Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Miroslav Cerar (3) Japan Eizo Kenmotsu Soviet Union Viktor Klimenko
1974 Bulgaria Varna Hungary Zoltán Magyar Soviet Union Nikolai Andrianov Japan Eizo Kenmotsu
1978 France Strasbourg Hungary Zoltán Magyar West Germany Eberhard Gienger Bulgaria Stoyan Deltchev
1979 United States Fort Worth Hungary Zoltán Magyar (3) United States Kurt Thomas Japan Kōji Gushiken
1981 Soviet Union Moscow China Li Xiaoping
East Germany Michael Nikolay
- Hungary György Guczoghy
Soviet Union Yuri Korolyov
1983 Hungary Budapest Soviet Union Dmitry Bilozerchev Hungary György Guczoghy
China Li Xiaoping
-
1985 Canada Montreal Soviet Union Valentin Mogilny China Li Ning Japan Hiroyuki Konishi
1987 Netherlands Rotterdam Soviet Union Dmitry Bilozerchev
Hungary Zsolt Borkai
- Bulgaria Lubomir Geraskov
1989 West Germany Stuttgart Soviet Union Valentin Mogilny East Germany Andreas Wecker China Li Jing
1991 United States Indianapolis Soviet Union Valery Belenky China Guo Linyao China Li Jing
1992 France Paris China Li Jing
North Korea Pae Gil-su
Commonwealth of Independent States Vitaly Scherbo
- -
1993 United Kingdom Birmingham North Korea Pae Gil-su Germany Andreas Wecker Hungary Károly Schupkégel
1994 Australia Brisbane Romania Marius Urzică France Éric Poujade Switzerland Li Donghua
Ukraine Vitaly Marinich
1995 Japan Sabae Switzerland Li Donghua Japan Yoshiaki Hatakeda
China Huang Huadong
-
1996 Puerto Rico San Juan North Korea Pae Gil-su (3) Switzerland Li Donghua Russia Alexei Nemov
1997 Switzerland Lausanne Germany Valery Belenky France Éric Poujade North Korea Pae Gil-su
1999 China Tianjin Russia Alexei Nemov Romania Marius Urzică Russia Nikolai Kryukov
2001 Belgium Ghent Romania Marius Urzică China Xiao Qin Ukraine Oleksandr Beresch
2002 Hungary Debrecen Romania Marius Urzică (3) China Xiao Qin Japan Takehiro Kashima
2003 United States Anaheim Japan Takehiro Kashima
China Teng Haibin
- Russia Nikolai Kryukov
2005 Australia Melbourne China Xiao Qin Romania Ioan Silviu Suciu Japan Takehiro Kashima
2006 Denmark Aarhus China Xiao Qin Australia Prashanth Sellathurai United States Alexander Artemev
2007 Germany Stuttgart China Xiao Qin (3) Hungary Krisztián Berki United Kingdom Louis Smith
2009 United Kingdom London China Zhang Hongtao Hungary Krisztián Berki Australia Prashanth Sellathurai
2010 Netherlands Rotterdam Hungary Krisztián Berki United Kingdom Louis Smith Australia Prashanth Sellathurai
2011 Japan Tokyo Hungary Krisztián Berki France Cyril Tommasone United Kingdom Louis Smith
2013 Belgium Antwerp Japan Kohei Kameyama Mexico Daniel Corral
United Kingdom Max Whitlock
-
2014 China Nanning Hungary Krisztián Berki (3) Croatia Filip Ude France Cyril Tommasone
2015 United Kingdom Glasgow United Kingdom Max Whitlock United Kingdom Louis Smith Japan Kazuma Kaya
Armenia Harutyun Merdinyan
2017 Canada Montreal United Kingdom Max Whitlock Russia David Belyavskiy China Xiao Ruoteng
2018 Qatar Doha China Xiao Ruoteng United Kingdom Max Whitlock Chinese Taipei Lee Chih-kai
2019 Germany Stuttgart United Kingdom Max Whitlock (3) Chinese Taipei Lee Chih-kai Republic of Ireland Rhys McClenaghan

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Janssen & Fritsen presents: History of the Pommel Horse". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  2. ^ "Apparatus Norms" (PDF). FIG. p. II/13. Retrieved 2012-12-01.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Jassen + Fritsen". Retrieved 2012-12-01.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c "MAG Code of Points 2013–2016" (PDF). FIG. p. 60. Retrieved 2012-12-01.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "MAG Code of Points 2013–2016" (PDF). FIG. p. 65. Retrieved 2012-12-01.[permanent dead link]