Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)

Lee Bjella, 2015


The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) had jurisdiction over many sports including gymnastics and was in charge of district and national championships. The AAU was the American representative to the FIG for many years and was the precursor to the United States Gymnastics Federation (USGF), which later became USA Gymnastics (USAG). It was the controlling organization for gymnastics. This organization produced and published the rules and regulations for gymnastics competition in the US. It got its start in 1879 as the Amateur Athletes of America and changed to the AAU in 1888. The aim of the organization was to keep athletics amateur in status and to “promote legitimate sports”.(1)

From 1936 to 1941 the AAU held gymnastic championship meets in the Vancouver, BC area. There were three levels of competition - novice, junior and senior. On May 3-5,1962, the 74th National AAU Gymnastic Championships were held at the Seattle Civic Arena in conjunction with the Century 21 World’s Fair. This was also the second official trial for the selection of the men and women’s national gymnastics team, which were to represent the U.S. in the World Gymnastic Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia, July 2-9. Dale McClements from Seattle won the all-around. Bud Marquette, coach at SCATS in California and coach of Cathy Rigby McCoy, and Mary Sarver served as judges in that meet. Bud and Mary also helped out at Washington’s Gym Kamps in the summers.

Of the events held in the AAU men’s competitions, flying rings, Indian Clubs, tumbling, and rebound tumbling were included in the competitions but were eventually discontinued. Women once competed on the flying rings (until 1957) and also team drill, tumbling and rebound tumbling, which were eventually discontinued.

There still are AAU gymnastics programs in the U.S.

Washington Athletes Who Hold an AAU Championship

Charles Denny (UW) was on the AAU All American Men’s Gymnastics Team of 1962 for Swinging Rings.
Yoshi Hayasaki, a Japanese student at the UW, won the all around in 1967, as did Mauno Nissenen, a gymnast from Finland who competed for the UW in 1969.
Mel Cooley (UW) won the High Bar Championship in 1978.
These college men also did very well in the NCAA championships, which will be discussed in a later chapter on college men.

In the National Junior Olympic AAU division, Jim Kelch was the top athlete out of Washington for the years 1970, '71 and '72.

Avis Tieber, who competed for the Seattle YMCA for a short time, made the All American Women’s Team in vault in 1963 and in 1964.
Doris Fuchs Brause, who at one time competed for the Seattle YMCA, also made the 1964 team on Bars.
Dale McClements Kephart, Seattle YMCA won the 1962 all around and vault.
Joyce Tanac Schroeder, Seattle YMCA, won the all-around title in 1969.


AAU Women's All-Around Champions (1931-1970)
(* Denotes Olympian)

1931  Roberta C. Ranek
1932  No Competition
1933  Consetta Caruccio*
1934  Consetta Caruccio*
1935  Thera Steppich
1936  Jennie Caputo*
1937  Pearl Perkins (Nightengale)
1938  Helm McKee
1939  Margaret Weissmann
1940  No Competition
1941  Pearl Perkins Nightingale
1942  No Competition
1943  Pearl Perkins Nightingale
1944  Helm McKee
1945  Clara M. Scroth*
1946  Clara M. Scroth*
1947  Helen Schifano*
1948  Helen Schifano*
1949  Clara M. Schroth (Lomady)*
1950  Clara M. Schroth (Lomady)*
1951  Clara M. Schroth (Lomady)*
1952  Clara M. Schroth (Lomady)*
1953  Ruth Grulkowski*
1954  Ruth Grulkowski*
1955  Ernestine Russell
1956  Sandra Ruddick*
1957  Muriel Davis (Grossfeld)*
1958  Ernestine Russell
1959  Ernestine Russell
1960  Gail Sontgerath*
1961  Kazuko Kadowaki
1962  Dale McClements Flansaas Kephart (Seattle YMCA)
1963  Muriel Davis Grossfeld*
1964  Marie Walther(Bilski)*
1965  Doris Fuchs Brause** (Seattle YMCA)
1966  Linda Metheny (Mulvihill)*
1967  Carolyn Hacker
1968  Linda Metheny (Mulvihill)*
1969  Joyce Tanac (Schroeder)** (Seattle YMCA)
1970  Linda Metheny (Mulvihill)*

AAU Men's All-Around Champions (1897-1970)

1897  Earl Linderman
1898  O. Steffen
1899  O. Steffen
1900  O. Steffen
1901  John F. Bissinger
1902  E.C. Brendlin
1903  John F. Bissinger
1904  Anton Heida*
1905  No Competitions
1906  No Competitions
1907  Fred Steffens
1908  Fred Steffens
1909  Frank Jirasek
1910  Frank Jirasek
1911  Paul Krimmel
1912  Paul Krimmel
1913  Franz Kanis
1914  Franz Kanis
1915  Franz Kanis
1916  Peter Hol
1917  B. Jorgensen
1918  Joseph Oszy
1919  Peter Hol
1920  Joseph Oszy
1921  Curtis Rottman*
1922  Frank Kriz*
1923  Curtis Rottman*
1924  Frank Kriz*
1925  Alfred Jochim*
1926  Alfred Jochim*
1927  Alfred Jochim*
1928  Alfred Jochim*
1929  Alfred Jochim*
1930  Alfred Jochim*
1931  Frank Haubold*
1932  Frank Haubold*
1933  Alfred Jochim*
1934  Frank Cumiskey*
1935  Frederick H. Meyer*

Men's AA continued...

1936  Frank Cumiskey*
1937  George Wheeler*
1938  George Wheeler*
1939  George Wheeler*
1940  George Wheeler*
1941  George Wheeler*
1942  Arthur E. Pitt*
1943  Arthur E. Pitt*
1944  Arthur E. Pitt*
1945  Frank Cumiskey*
1946  Frank Cumiskey*
1947  Frank Cumiskey*
1948  Edward Scrobe*
1949  William Roetzheim*
1950  William Roetzheim*
1951  William Roetzheim*
1952  Robert Stout*
1953  Robert Stout*
1954  Charles Simms*
1955  Karl Schwenzfeier / John Miles
1956  John (Jack) Beckner*
1957  John (Jack) Beckner*
1958  John (Jack) Beckner*
1959  John (Jack) Beckner*
1960  Fred Orlofsky*
1961  Nobuyuki Aihara
1962  Donald Tonry*
1963  Makoto Sakamoto*
1964  Makoto Sakamoto*
1965  Makoto Sakamoto*
1966  Makoto Sakamoto*
1967  Yoshi Hayasaki (UW team)
1968  Makoto Sakamoto*
1969  Mauno Nissenen (UW team)
1970  Yoshiaki Takei


1. A Brief History of Physical Education: Emmett Rice. 1926; A.S. Barnes and Co.