The 50-th anniversary of the Helsinki Olympics

Soviet athletes took part in the 15-th summer Olympics Games in Helsinki for the first time in history.

The USSR national Olympic committee was established in April 1951. Until then, the Soviet Union didn't take part in the Olympic movement for political considerations. Nonetheless, the USSR joined 22 international sports organizations over the entire 1946-1950 period.

Soviet athletes set 848 national records throughout the 1949-1950 period alone; of that number, 49 national records surpassed world records. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized the USSR national Olympic committee May 7th, 1951; moreover, its chairman Konstantin Andrianov was elected an IOC member in 1952.

The 15-th summer Olympics were opened in Helsinki July 19th, 1952 in an impressive setting. It was intended to hold such games back in 1940; however, the Second World War thwarted such plans.

The program of the games comprised 17 sports and 149 events. The 15-th Olympics involved more athletes, i.e. 5,429 athletes from 69 countries of the world, than any other previous games. 518 women also took part in the games. The Soviet team consisted of 295 athletes, who took part in all events, except field hockey.

The Helsinki Olympics became a landmark event just because Soviet athletes, as well as those from other socialist countries, took part in them for the first time ever. Quite a few mass-media bodies kept comparing the performance of Soviet and US teams, as well as those of other capitalist and socialist countries.

The Soviet team won 71 medals, including 22 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze, during the games. Discus-thrower Nina Romashkova became the first Soviet Olympic champion. For her own part, shot-putter Galina Zybina also won a gold medal, setting a world record (15 meters and 28 centimetres). The weight-lifting event was also marked by Soviet-US rivalry. As a result, Soviet athletes won three gold medals, with the US team receiving four gold medals.

Free-style and Greco-Roman wrestling competitions involved 244 athletes from 37 countries of the world vying for 16 medal sets. Soviet wrestlers made it to the top, winning six gold medals. Soviet gymnasts also scored a rather convincing victory. Victor Chukarin obtained a noticeable advantage over his rivals during all-round events for men. Maria Gorokhovskaya did the same in the course of all-round events for women, winning two gold and five silver medals in the long run. No other woman has so far managed to surpass her record throughout the entire history of modern Olympic Games.

US and Soviet athletes scored 494 points each in the unofficial team qualification. However, US athletes won much more gold medals (40, all told). Their Soviet rivals got 22 gold medals. The break-down for all other medals follows below:

The USSR ................ 30 silver and 19 bronze medals



States .................. 19 silver and 17 bronze medals

The Hungarian team came third with 259.5 points, as well as 42 medals (16 gold, 10 silver and 16 bronze).

66 Olympic records, including 18 world records, were set in Helsinki.