By the way, the athlete shown here is Carl Schuhmann who won four Olympic Gold Medals in gymnastics and wrestling in Athens. Schuhmann’s first opponent in wrestling was actually Launceston Elliot and beat him handily. Schuhmann also competed in the weightlifting event, finishing fourth.
Like most gymnastic events, the Pommel Horse has its roots in military training. In this case approximating mounting and dismounting a real horse. Early pommel horses actually looked like a horse although once it was adopted into physical training the pommel horse became much more symmetrical, thereby allowing for more elaborate moves. It has been said that the pommel horse is one of the most difficult and technically demanding of all the gymnastic events. This shot was taken at the 1896 Olympics.