In France, world class gymnasts have produced fine performances at the world gymnastics championships, which began on Sunday (22 October).
In France, world class gymnasts have produced fine performances at the world gymnastics championships, which began on Sunday (22 October). But World Champions Japan took a commanding early lead over the Soviet Union for the men's team title, with 2.95 points ahead at the end of the compulsory exercises, after Soviet gymnasts made costly mistakes.
SYNOPSIS: Most of the stars of international gymnastics were at Strasbourg for the events, including defending champions and olympic gold medallists from the Soviet Union. Swiss gymnast Robert Bretscher attempted a difficult sequence on the rings, but the main tussle in the men's events promised to be between the Soviet Union and Japan.
The battle for the top awards between Japan and the Soviet Union did not detract from fine performances by most of the others taking part. Here, a French competitor, 25 year old Henry Boerio, shows how its done on the parallel bars.
After the compulsory exercises, East Germany was in third place. One of its team members, Michael Nikolay, performed well on the pommel house, an event which troubled even the top Soviet gymnasts. Two of them fell off and had to restart during their routines, but Nikolay managed to maintain his grip.
The Soviet reigning Olympic Champion Nikolai Andrianov was one of those who had difficulties on the horse, but performed better on the mat. This 26 year old did much to retrieve his team's position, but the Soviet errors gave a psychological boost to the Japanese which proved too difficult to overcome, despite efforts like this from Andrianov.
The men's team title was to be the first to be decided, with the women's title and individual gold medals to be decided towards the end of the week-long championships.