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Olympic Games Gymnastics Demonstrations

The Swedish gymnastics ('Ling') method used no apparatus, consisting of calisthenics and exercises. There were demonstrations of Swedish gymnastics many times at the Olympic Games, predominantly as a large display at the main stadium. The group gymnastics exhibitions are similar to the large choreographed displays during the opening and closing ceremonies at more recent Olympic Games.

At the 1906 intercalated games in Athens, there were demonstrations of gymnastics by Danish, German and Swedish groups. See more about the sports demonstrations in 1906. The official Olympic report of 1912 also discusses a women's group gymnastics event.

The Swedish women group gymnastic display The 1912 Swedish women group gymnastic display
from: The Official Report of the Olympic Games 1912

At the time of the Antwerp Games in 1920, gymnastics in Belgium was governed by the three competing schools – the Belgian Gymnastics Federation, the Catholic Gymnastics Federation, and the Socialist Gymnastics Federation. In addition to the official competitions, on Sunday, 22 August, the three Belgian gymnastics federations gave a collective gymnastics demonstration in the Olympic Stadium.

In 1948 at the London Games there was a demonstration of Ling Gymnastics events for both men and women, staged by the Svenska Gymnastikforbundet of Stockholm. This style of gymnastics was developed by Per Henrik Ling, considered the father of the Swedish Ling Gymnastics, and began in the early 1800s. The demonstration was by 200 female and 200 male gymnasts. See the Ling Gymnastics Video.

The Official Report of the XIV OLYMPIAD LONDON 1948 stated that "the gymnasts themselves not only gave of their services, but defrayed the cost of the journey to London out of their own pockets. They were treated as competitors, being issued with identity cards, commemorative medals, etc.". Two demonstration displays were given, one on August 7 immediately prior to the start of the Marathon and one on August 13 before the Football Final.

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