GENERICO.ruCulture"Games of veterans": unique shots of the first post-war Olympics

“Games of veterans”: unique shots of the first post-war Olympics

MOSCOW, 29 Apr. We continue the series of materials about a unique collection of digitized attributed photographs from the repository, which contains more than three million frames. The earliest date back to the middle of the 19th century. Employees of the Visual Projects Service conduct scientific work to find reliable information for historical photographs of different years.
Today we will talk about the debut of the USSR national team at the XV Summer Olympic Games in Finland. In Helsinki, in a stadium built specifically for the 1940 Olympics, which did not take place due to the outbreak of World War II, on July 19, 1952, the XV Olympic Games opened. They are informally called “Front-line games”. The backbone of the Soviet team was made up of people who went through the war – they visited the front, were prisoners in concentration camps and blockade, many spoke after severe injuries.
Outstanding photojournalist Anatoly Garanin, who during the Great Patriotic War filmed the fighting of the Soviet army on different fronts, managed to capture the achievements of our athletes at the first Olympics after the war.

The first picture shows the USSR women's national gymnastics team – Olympic champions in the team championship.

Soviet gymnasts triumphantly performed in Helsinki, participating in major international competitions for the first time. In total, they won 22 medals. Men – five gold, five silver and one bronze, women – four gold, six silver, one bronze.

XV Summer Olympic Games 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. Competitions in gymnastic all-around among men. Töölö Gym, Exhibition Hall I. Soviet gymnast, multiple champion of the USSR, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR Viktor Chukarin performs exercises on the rings.
Victor Chukarin is the absolute champion of the Olympic Games in Helsinki in individual and team championships. The gymnast volunteered for the war in 1941, but was wounded and taken prisoner. This is the only Soviet champion who went through 17 concentration camps. Despite the fact that Victor was exhausted and weakened after his release, he did not give up gymnastics and prepared for the 1952 Olympics. At that time, the athlete was already 31 years old, he was considered a veteran. Perseverance and perseverance allowed the gymnast to become the absolute champion of the Olympic Games in Helsinki. However, he did not stop there and in 1954 became a three-time world champion, and in 1956 he again went to the Olympics in Australia, where he also won.

XV Summer Olympic Games 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. The first Soviet Olympic champion to win a gold medal, weightlifter Ivan Udodov.

Rostov athlete Ivan Udodov went through terrible trials during the war on the way to his “Olympic gold”. He had to spend two years in the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. At the time of the release of the prisoners in 1945, 20-year-old Ivan weighed less than 30 kilograms and could not move independently. After just seven years, he would become the first Olympic champion from the USSR in weightlifting competitions. When he raised the bar, on his hand one could see the number that was assigned to the prisoners of the concentration camps. Everyone was amazed and the referee was so moved that he hugged the athlete tightly.


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