Franco Menichelli

  • Italy

Menichelli’s trademark style on floor exercise consisted of a non-stop, free-flowing movement, combined with powerful tumbling. By the time of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Menichelli was considered a favorite.

Franco Menichelli will long be remembered as the most fluid and original floor exercise performer of his generation.

Franco Menichelli grew up in Rome, Italy. He was born on the third of August, in 1941, and young Menichelli, who preferred to walk on his hands, began formal training in gymnastics at the age of eleven.

By the end of his illustrious career, under the tutelage of Luigi Ulysay, Franco Menichelli helped revolutionize men’s floor exercise. In his first European Championships in 1959,  he placed 14th in the all-around and fourth in floor exercise. In 1960, in his first of three Olympics, Menichelli’s Italian team placed third, and he was 10th in the all-around and third on floor. 

Over the next several years, Menichelli was a fixture on the awards podium at major international events. At the 1961 European Championships, he was fourth in the all-around, and he won the gold in floor exercise, a silver in vault, and bronze on the parallel bars. After winning a bronze in floor exercise at the 1962 World Championships, Menichelli repeated as European Champion on floor at the 1963 championships. 

Menichelli’s trademark style on floor exercise consisted of a non-stop, free-flowing movement, combined with powerful tumbling. By the time of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Menichelli was considered a favorite. He won three individual medals, the gold in the floor exercise, silver on rings, and a bronze on the parallel bars. 

At the 1965 European Championships, it was Menichelli’s time to dominate, as he won the all-round, floor exercise, rings, high bar, and a silver on the parallel bars.  He won two more bronze medals on rings and floor exercise at the 1966 World Championships, and four more individual medals at the 1967 European Championships. 

Menichelli’s final Olympic competition came at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. He injured his Achilles tendon and that marked the end of his impressive career.

His major medal total is five Olympic medals—one gold, one silver and three bronze—three bronze World Championships medals and 14 European Championships medals—six gold, four silver, and four bronze.

But Franco Menichelli will long be remembered as the most fluid and original floor exercise performer of his generation.

1960 OLYMPIC GAMES

  • Bronze Medalist:
    • Team
    • Floor Exercise

1962 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Bronze Medalist:
    • Floor Exercise

1964 OLYMPIC GAMES

  • Gold Medalist and World Champion:
    • Floor Exercise
  • Silver Medalist:
    • Rings
  • Bronze Medalist:
    • Parallel Bars

1966 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Bronze Medalist:
    • Floor Exercise
    • Rings

2003 INTERNATIONAL GYMNASTICS HALL OF FAME

  • Inducted as a member of the Class of 2003

Induction Speech Video