Pommel Horse Olympics History
The pommel horse Olympics history is one dating back to ancient times. From ancient Roman and Greek history through modern times, the pommel horse has held various roles from acting as a training tool to starring in its own men’s Olympic gymnastics event. What is the history of the pommel horse in the Olympic Games?
The Pommel Horse Apparatus History. The modern Pommel Horse is based on wooden horses used by ancient Persians to teach soldiers to efficiently mount and dismount live horses during battle. Today, the pommel horse is generally a leather covered cylindrical apparatus, standing approximately 115 centimeters high—with two pommels, or handles, on top.
Pommel Horse in the Ancient Olympics. The wooden pommel horse ancestor may have had a role in training athletes for equestrian events in the Ancient Olympics. Additionally, some research indicates that pommel horse-like events may have been introduced by the Romans into early competition.
Modern Pommel Horse Olympic History. The pommel horse in the Olympics is used only in the men’s artistic events. A men's individual pommel horse competition was included in the first modern 1896 Summer Olympics. One of eight gymnastics themed events on the program, it joined events such as parallel bars and still rings. The first Olympics saw entry of 15 competitors representing five nations in pommel horse competition. Only a gold and silver medal were awarded to pommel horse athletes in 1896, with gold awarded to Switzerland. A pommel horse event has consistently been included on the Olympic Program since 1927, after a brief hiatus.
Modern Pommel Horse Exercises in the Olympics. Pommel Horse competition requires a great deal of upper body strength to accomplish the difficult maneuvers. Many of the basic pommel horse exercises were created by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn of Germany in the early 1800's. Because of the reliance on the upper body in pommel horse exercises, the event is one of the few gymnastics activities well suited to disabled individuals with leg injuries.
United States Gymnasts on the Pommel Horse. In spite of sweeping the pommel horse medal winning in the 1904 St. Louis Games, the United States has been virtually non-present on the winner’s podium for the pommel worse event. Peter Vidmar and Timothy Daggett received medals at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984—and the United States. again disappeared from individual pommel horse awards.