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London 2012 Olympics: The USSR and Russia – Two Giants in the Summer Games

Cold War: The USSR At The Olympic Games

After thirty-nine years of success stories in Olympic sports, the Soviet sport came to its end when the European-Asian country broke apart into 15 independent states in the early 1990s. Women’s sport participation in the Olympics was escolhasegura one top priority during the Soviet administration. The former Soviet republics were: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Tayikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Eighty years ago, representing the Tsarist Empire, Russia’s squad had earned 8 medals between 1900 and 1912.

Historically, the country, then the Soviet Union, played a key role in the Olympic Movement throughout the 20th century. It began to emerge as an athletic powerhouse at the XV Olympiad which was held in Helsinki (Finland’s capital city) in 1952.

Making its international debut in the Olympiad, the Communist State sent a group of fledgling athletes to Scandinavia. The USSR’s 295 participants -from 10 Soviet Socialist republics— earned the most medals in the Helsinki Games, capturing unprecedented 71 Summer Olympic medals (22 gold, 30 silver, and 19 bronze). Almost immediately, this performance had a far-reaching impact not only on Soviet soil but also in the Eastern-bloc countries, from Bulgaria and Hungary to Poland and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). In Scandinavia, the national athletes won the first place in three medal-rich Olympic disciplines: gymnastics, freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling. Likewise, they finished second in sports such as boxing, basketball, rowing, and track-and-field. Aside from that, the nation also won its first shooting gold. Under this Olympic atmosphere, there were several sporting icons: Nina Romaschkova (women’s discus throw), Ivan Udonov (weightlifting), Ioannes Kotkas (Greco-Roman wrestling), Anatoly Bogdanov (shooting), Yuri Tyukalov (rowing), and Galina Zybina (women’s shot put).

Over the next Olympiad in Melbourne (Australia), the 1956 Olympic squad also placed first in the medal standings and gaining four tournaments (gymnastics, kayak, shooting, and soccer). Additionally, the Soviets were runners-up in rowing, basketball, freestyle wrestling, track-and-field, and weightlifting. In Oceania, the nation won its first canoeing gold.Distance runner star Vladimir Kuts was the USSR’s top athlete there, earning the respect of international fans and fellow Soviets. He won the 5,000m and 10,000 m golds, becoming the first Soviet to do so. During his sporting career, Kuts was one of the first competitors from his country to set world records. Other major figure was Lev Yashin, a goalkeeper which led the national side to its first win in the men’s football championship. Over the next few years, the power of the USSR in Olympics worried America and other countries from Western Europe.

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