By Stan Greenberg
Last updated 2011-03-03
A Danish female gymnast practicing at the White City stadium. In fact, there were no official gymnastic events for women at the 1908 Games, just an exhibition. An Olympic gymnastic medal event for women wasn’t added until the 1928 Games in Amsterdam, and a full programme of events was not introduced until 1952.
Ever since then, the women's side of the sport has proved very popular, enhanced by the extraordinary skills of a series of women gymnasts, most notably Larissa Latynina (URS), Vera Caslavska(Cze), Olga Korbut (URS), and Nada Comaneci (Rom). Latynina won a record 18 Olympic medals from 1956 to 1964 and the male record is held by her compatriot, Nikolai Andrianov, with 15 from 1972 to 1980. These remarkable totals were aided by the nature of the sport, in that at any one Games there are eight men’s events and seven artistic events for women.