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Cold War Olympic Timeline

  • Soviet Union enters the Olympics

    Soviet Union enters the Olympics
    Starting after the Bolshevik Revolution the Soviet Union refused to compete in the Olympics because they believed sports were elitist. In 1952 the Soviets rejoined the IOC. While participating in the Helsinki Soviet athletes were kept separate from noncommunists. The presence of the USSR created a strong sense of competition between the two superpowers. The US was able to win in medal count but only by a small number.
  • 1956 Winter Olympics

    1956 Winter Olympics
    During the 1956 winter Olympics in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy the Soviets come out with the most medals of any other country. The Soviet ice hockey team also defeats the defending champions Canada leading to a victory strike for the next seven Winter Olympic games. This creates​ a push in the US for women in sports.
  • 1956 Summer Olympic Boycotts

    1956 Summer Olympic Boycotts
    Before the 1956 summer Olympics, several countries declared a boycott of the games. Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon would not participate because the Suez Crisis.The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland boycotted as a way to protest the Soviet Unions invasion of Hungary. Just 2 weeks before the games the People's Republic of China boycotted in protest of the Republic of China being allowed to compete using the name Formosa.
  • Hungary vs. USSR water polo

    Hungary vs. USSR water polo
    During the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, the USSR and Hungry faced off in water polo. The took place following the Soviets violent shut down of an anticommunist uprising in Budapest. In the last minute of the game, a Hungarian player was hit in the eye causing fans to start treating the Soviet player. After the games, ​all of the water polo team defected​ to the US never returning back to there home country.
  • Sputnik Launched

    Sputnik Launched
    The USSR launched an unmanned satellite named Sputnik. This caused fear in the American people who believed the Soviets could use it as a weapon against​ them.
  • Explorer 1

    Explorer 1
    The US launched their first satellite named Explorer 1. This was a large step for the US and helped heighten the competition​ between the two cold war nations.
  • Explorer 2

    Explorer 2
    The US tried to launch another satellite into space, Explorer 2, was made on March 5, 1958, but the fourth stage of the Jupiter-C rocket failed to ignite.
  • First man in Space

    First man in Space
    Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first man to go into space. He traveled in the Vostok 1 a Soviet spacecraft and orbited the planet. This heightened​ tension between the US and USSR.
  • 1968 Summer Olympics

    1968 Summer Olympics
    While the Soviet anthem was playing at a medal ceremony at the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City Věra Čáslavská turned her head away from the Soviet flag and looked down. She did as a protest to the Soviet Unions invasion of Czechoslovakia. After the games were over Vera became a hero to the Czechoslovakia people but was criticized by the Soviet-run​ govenment.
  • 1968 Olympics Polish Scandal

    1968 Olympics Polish Scandal
    During the 1968 Olympic in Moscow, a polish pole vaulter named Władysław Kozakiewicz gave an obscene gesture in all four directions to the Soviet public. This action led to international scandal and Kozakiewicz medal being revoked. During the games, there were accusations of Soviet officials negating points for there advantage. The accusations became so severe IAAF officials​ had to look over the shoulders of Soviets to try and keep the scoring fair.
  • Olympic Men's Basketball Final

    Olympic Men's Basketball Final
    The US had won all seven gold medals in basketball and was favored to win in 1972 Olympics. The final game was set between the US and the USSR. During the final few seconds of the game, a timeout caused controversy and in the end, the Soviets scored a last-second basket winning the game 51-50. In protest of the results of the game the US team refused to except there silver medals and recognize the Soviet team as the winners. 40 years later and the US still refuses the silver medals.
  • 1976 Summer Olympics Fencing

    1976 Summer Olympics Fencing
    A Soviet three-time world champion fencer name Boris Onishchenko was found using an illegally modified épée which allowed him to register a hit on the scoreboard without actually making contact with his opponent. Once this was discovered Onishchnko was kicked out of the games causing the Soviet Union to be disqualified from the team event.
  • Miracle on Ice

    Miracle on Ice
    In a large upset, the US hockey team beasts the four-time defending gold Soviet hockey team. In an exhibition game early on the Soviets overwhelmingly beat the US team creating low hope for a US victory. the US was able to hold on to their lead for the last 10 minutes of the game, winning 4-3. This miracle on ice was also an ideological victory in the Cold War and came right after the announcement of the 1980 summer Olympic boycott, it came in a time of need for US celebration.
  • USA announces boycott of 1980 Olympics

    USA announces boycott of 1980 Olympics
    The US announced that they would not participate in the Moscow Olympics. This announcement was prompted by the Soviets failure to comply to Carters February 20 dedline to withdraw troops for Afganistan. Along with the boycott America also placed an embargo on grain and information technology. This boycott also affected profits of companies like NBC and Carter threatened to take the passports​ of any US athletes who competed. This act showed the US's strong commitment to fighting communism.
  • Soviets announce boycott of the 1984 Olympics

    Soviets announce boycott of the 1984 Olympics
    The Soviets announced that they would be boycotting the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles. They stated the reason was that they did not believe their players would be safe. Many believe this was just a response to the US boycotting the 1980 Olympics. This boycott had a large impact on the US medal count. Since there was no competition​ from the Soviets, East Germany or other communist nations the US set a record wwinning83 gold medals​.