Washington Gymnastics Historical Timeline

Lee Bjella, 2015



Unrecorded: Not possible to know the exact date of the start of gymnastics, however, as early as 2600 B.C., the
history ancient Chinese had some activities that resembled gymnastics. In ancient Persia, India, Japan, and Egypt, there appears to be evidence of a variety of balancing and tumbling activities. (2)

1600 B.C. Carvings show the existence of athletic competition in the Western World.
The Greek civilization trained their athletes in a variety of athletic activities including leaping, dancing and running. (2)

1700's - 1800's
Johann Bernhard Basedow, German who founded the Philanthropinum and "Education of the Mind and Body".
Guts Muths: "Grandfather of Gymnastics" wrote, in 1793, Gymnastics for Youth, the first book on Modern Gymnastics. He describes the use of sloping beams, climbing poles, ladders and ropes along with the balancing beam and the swinging beam.
Franz Nachtegall: founded the gymnastics program in Denmark, emphasizing mass calisthenics, mass vaulting and drills using dumbbells and balls.
Hjalmar Frederick Ling: started the movement in Sweden in the mid 1800's. Hundreds of students would participate in a mass floor exercise drill.
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn: His motto was, "free in spirit, strong in body, cheerful, intelligent and dependable." He wrote the manual, German Gymnastics, in 1816. He instituted the mass exhibition programs which became common in Turnvereins. (3)

1800's Frollen, Beck and Lieber came from Germany and started gymnastics in America.

1897 AAU recognized Gymnastics as a sport.


1900 - Early 1900's, Seattle YMCA and AAU had competitions. Also exhibition teams existed.

1916 - German Turnverein was in downtown Seattle at this time.

1917 - Washington State College (WSC later WSU) held it's annual Gymnastics Exhibition presented by the Dept. of Men and Women's divisions. The program included: Grand March; Figure Marching and Dumb Bell Drill; Exercises with the Rifle; Boxing; American Folk Dances; Floor and Mat Exercises; Apparatus Work; Advanced Apparatus Work -heavy gym class and Pyramids on parallel bars; Tumbling and Mat Work; Pompeian Flower Girls and Wrestling.

1922 - Roosevelt High School opened, and Sheridan Berthiaume started co-ed tumbling classes. (George Lewis' school)

1930's - Pacific Northwest and Pacific Coast Gymnastics Championships were held. (AAU)

1932 -1939 - Seattle YMCA sponsored state high school invitationals.

1936 - Louis Hull took over the Roosevelt HS program.

1938 - The first NCAA Championships in gymnastics held. No Washington college teams yet.

1939 - George Lewis started coaching at the Seattle YMCA.

1940 - 1945 - Not much happening in gymnastics during the War Years. The Seattle "Y" did have gym classes.
George Lewis is noted for bringing the first trampoline to the west coast in 1940.

1947 - Hubie Dunn arrives at Washington State College and starts the first mens college gymnastics team in the state.
- Hubie Dunn brings WSC team to Montana for our states first collegiate men's meet ever. (MSC vs WSC 43.5-36.5)
- George Lewis brought first competition to state after WII. (PNW AAU)

1950 - Eric Hughes starts a men's club program at UW - First mens college meet held in the state, at WSC.

1951 - Seattle YMCA hosts Pacific Northwest AAU Championships. (Joint sponsorship.)
- Hubie Dunn brings exhibition teams to Western Washington area.

1952 - Chuck Thuot, Kennewick High School - first high school gymnastics coach in state to have a boys gymnastics program.

1954 - Eric Hughes takes his team to BC for the Pacific Northwest AAU Championships. This marks the first Husky competitive appearance.

1954 - SPU's new gym (Brougham Pavilion) was the site of the 1954 AAU Pacific Northwest Open.

1955 - March 26, First Pacific Northwest College Invitational (PNWCGC) was held at WSC. Started by Hubie Dunn. WSC wins 138, MSC 38, UW 25, and U of Idaho 15.

1956 - UW men's gymnastics is recognized as a varsity sport.
- Feb. 26, first official UW varsity intercollegiate gymnastics men's meet, held at UW.
- First competition for Eastern Washington College men's team. They competed at the PNWAAU Championships in Vancouver, BC.
- Dec. 20, Eric Hughes held first post WWII coach's clinic at UW.
- UW and EWCE began varsity mens competition.
- First Coaches Clinic and High School Invitation Gymnastic Meet held at the UW by Eric Hughes.

1957 - Feb. 7, WSU met EWU - the first time they competed against each other.
- Shoreline High School hired Max Carter as varsity boy's gymnastics coach.
- UW took first at the PCAAU Meet. Bill Crow was the star, winning free calisthenics (floor ex), trampoline, and tumbling. This was the first tournament win for UW
- First boy's high school meet in Eastern Washington. Kennewick 88, Wapato 13, and Richland 7.

1958 - March 1, UW beat WSC for the first time.

1958 - Dr. Hubert (Hubie) Dunn held the first official High School Boys State Meet at WSC.
Highline High, coached by Ev Woodward won the team title. They were a powerhouse in this state for years.
- Bill Crow from UW, coached by Eric Hughes, was the first UW gymnast to enter a national gymnastics championship. (National AAU meet in San Fernando, California)
- First Summer Gym Kamp, sponsored by Highline School District. Ev Woodward originated the camp. Jack Mackenroth was Camp Director and Eric Hughes was Program Director. This was the first summer camp in the state.

1959 - Pacific Northwest College Meet was first recognized in this year, as a championship meet. UW won this
first championship meet with 97 points to UBC 84, and WSC 62.
- WSU gymnasts competed at the 17th annual NCAA Championships in Berkeley. First year that any Pacific Northwest College was represented.
- NCAA championships in Berkeley, CA. Jay Eliason, (WSC) places ninth in the rope climb and Charlie Denny (UW) placed 10th in the flying rings.
(The first college gymnasts from the region to place at the NCAA Championships.)
- First Inland Empire Open Gymnastic Meet.
- WIAA (WA Interscholastic Activities Assoc.) officially recognizes boy's gymnastics as varsity sport.

1960 - EWC held the Inland Empire AAU Gymnastics Meet. WSU took first place.

1961 - Greater Seattle Gymnastics Club formed.
- Renton High won the High School State Boy's Gymnastics Meet. First time a team other than Highline won the meet!

1962 - 74th National AAU Gymnastics Championship Meet was held in conjunction with the Worlds Fair in Seattle on May 3-5.
A Seattle Gym Club gymnast, Charley Denny won flying rings. This was the first National meet held in Seattle, and Charlie Denny was the first national individual champion for the UW.
- Dick Van Hersett (WSU) places seventh in tumbling at the NCAA Championships.
- Dr. Dunn leaves WSU for Northern Illinois University.

1963 - March 23rd, UW men won the Athletic Association of Western Universities Conference held at UCLA - its first conference championship.

1964 - First UW Women's Gymnastics Team.
- Bob Hall (UW) placed fourth on pommel horse at the NCAA Championships.
- UW placed fourth as a team at the NCAA Championships.

1965 - UW men place 2nd at the NCAA National Gymnastics Meet, held in Carbondale, Ill. This was the highest finish by a Washington college in an NCAA Championship.
- Bob Hall (UW) takes second on pommel horse and fourth in the all around. (Bob later is the first Husky to be on the National Team.)
- First College Women's Nationals. UW sent their first women's team. (It was designated a club team - not yet varsity sport.) They won 2nd place.
- Margaret Cant was the coach with Dale McClements as the assistant coach.

1966 - Seattle Gym Club met the National Gymnastics Team of New Zealand, in Seattle. This marks the first international meet ever held in Washington, excluding competition with Canada.
- UW Men take first at the PNW College Championships, and Mike Flansaas takes 1st all around.

1967 - Yoshi Hayasaki, UW, won the men's all-around title in the National AAU Gymnastics Championships. This made him the first UW gymnast to win an all-around title in the AAU Championships.

1968 - Yoshi won the all-around at the USGF Championships.

1968 - Richard Aronson started the men's team at Central Washington State College.
- The first gymnastics meet conducted and scored by videotape, between UW men and the University of Illinois. UW lost 180.70 to 172.10. (Innovation by Eric Hughes!)
- UW men won the National AAU Gymnastics team title.

1969 - UW men again won the National AAU Gymnastics team title.
- UW hosted the NCAA Championships.
- Mauno Nissinen of UW won all-around at the NCAA and AAU Championship meets. He was the first NCAA winner from UW.
- Joyce Tanac (Schroeder) won senior nationals AA -USGF.

1970 - Yoshi Hayasaki, UW, won the NCAA all-around title.

1971 - Yoshi won the NCAA all-around again. This was the 3rd straight year UW men went to the NCAA Nationals.

1972 - Eric Hughes is selected as manager (coach) to the men's Olympic team.

1973 - Laurel Tindall becomes National Vault champ. Hubie Dunn and Eric Hughes inducted into the national USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

1974 - SPU Women's Team - 1st year, under Virginia Husted.

1975 - George Lewis takes over the SPU team. George is inducted into the national USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Laurel Tindall wins Vault National Championship again.

1976 - Laurel Tindall takes over the SPU team.

1980 - Al Sanders was named Co-Coach of the year in the Pac-10 for his work in his first season with the WSU Women's Gymnastics Team. PSSG wins State in all levels, III, II, and I. Cheryl Chambliss places 3rd Vault Nationals.

1981 - Roni Barrios, PSSG,places 10th AA at the American Classic Elite Nationals.

1982 -  Roni Barrios wins 3 national beam titles and 2 national bar titles from 1980 to 1982.

1983 - Yumi Mordre (Pringle), PSSG, gold medallist in team competition and in FX at the Pan American Games, and silver in the All-around. She made the World Team in 1983, and 4th at the World Trials in Budapest. 12th at the USA Championships; National vault champion, 4th AA World Trials. Makes Budapest World Team, is ranked 55th in the World.

1984 - Yumi Mordre (Pringle) places 9th at the Olympic Trials and ends up 2nd alternate on the Olympic Team.
Dale McClements-Kephart was inducted into the USA Gymnatics Hall of Fame.

1985 - Kelly Baker, PSSG, makes Jr. National Team in 5th. Goes to Japan and France for International meets. Brad Loan is selected to coach at World Training Camp.

1986 - Catherine Williams 1st AA US Classic Elite Nationals, Elli Maulding 3rd. In the American Classic, Elli Maulding 1st AA, Mike Meyers 4th AA.

1987, '88, and '89 - State Championships - Gymnastics Unlimited girls win with Linda Haverly (Lutz), Lisa Pizl, Erin Brewer, DeAnne Dengate, Lisa Pizl, Heather Starr and Staci Wicklund.

1987 - Linda Haverly took 1st on Bars, 2nd AA at Regionals and at JO Nationals: 2nd Bars.

1990 - Joyce Tanac Schroeder, inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.


2. Price, Keeney, Giallombardo, Phillips. Gymnastics and Tumbling. U.S. Naval Institute. 1943; George Banta, Co., Inc.
3. Judd, DeCarlo, Kern. Exhibition Gymnastics. 1969. Associated Press, New York.