1952 Summer Olympics
Emblem of the 1952 Summer Olympics
|Host city||Helsinki, Finland|
|Athletes||4,955 (4,436 men, 519 women)|
|Events||149 in 17 sports (23 disciplines)|
The 1952 Summer Olympics (Finnish: Kesäolympialaiset 1952; Swedish: Olympiska sommarspelen 1952), officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held from 19 July to 3 August 1952 in Helsinki, Finland.
Helsinki had been selected to host the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II. It is the northernmost city at which a summer Olympic Games have been held. These were the first games to be held in a non-Indo-European language speaking country. They were also the Olympic Games at which the most number of world records were broken until they were surpassed by the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. The Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Thailand, and Saarland made their Olympic debuts at the 1952 Games. The United States won the most gold and overall medals.
Host city selection
Helsinki was chosen as the host city over bids from Amsterdam, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia at the 40th IOC Session on June 21, 1947, in Stockholm, Sweden. Minneapolis and Los Angeles finished tied for second in the final voting.
The voting results in chart below:
|City||Country||Round 1||Round 2|
|Los Angeles||United States||4||5|
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- These were the final Olympic Games organised under the IOC presidency of Sigfrid Edström.
- Israel made its Olympic debut. The Jewish state had been unable to participate in the 1948 Games because of its 1947–1949 Palestine war. A previous Palestine Mandate team had boycotted the 1936 Games in protest of the Nazi regime.
- Indonesia made its Olympic debut with three athletes.
- The newly established People's Republic of China (PRC) participated in the Olympics for the first time, although only one swimmer (Wu Chuanyu) of its 40-member delegation arrived in time to take part in the official competition. The PRC would not return to the Summer Olympics until Los Angeles 1984.
- The Republic of China (Taiwan) withdrew from the Games on July 20, in protest of the IOC decision to allow athletes from the People's Republic of China to compete.
- The Soviet Union participated for the first time. Soviet Olympic team was notorious for skirting the edge of amateur rules. All Soviet athletes held some nominal jobs, but were in fact state-sponsored and trained full-time. According to many experts, that gave the Soviet Union a huge advantage over the United States and other Western countries, whose athletes were students or real amateurs. Indeed, the Soviet Union monopolized the top place in the medal standings after 1968, and, until its collapse, placed second only once, in the 1984 Winter games, after another Eastern bloc nation, the GDR. Amateur rules were relaxed only in the late 1980s and were almost completely abolished in the 1990s, after the fall of the USSR.
- The Soviets turned the athletic competition into a metaphor for political propaganda: “Every record won by our sportsmen, every victory in international contests, graphically demonstrates to the whole world the advantages and strength of the Soviet system.”(Sovetsky Sport)
- The first meeting between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in football is still the most famous one. On the political level, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and the Yugoslav leader Josip Tito split in 1948, which resulted in Yugoslavia being excluded from the Communist Information Bureau. The origin of the conflict was Tito's refusal to submit to Stalin's interpretations and visions of politics and in process becoming a Soviet satellite state. Before the match, both Tito and Stalin sent telegrams to their national teams, which showed just how important it was for the two head of states. Yugoslavia led 5–1, but a Soviet comeback in the last 15 minutes resulted in a 5–5 draw. The match was replayed, Yugoslavia winning 3–1. The defeat to the archrivals hit Soviet football hard, and after just three games played in the season, CDKA Moscow, who had made up most of the USSR squad, was forced to withdraw from the league and later disbanded. Furthermore, Boris Arkadiev, who coached both USSR and CDKA, was stripped of his Merited Master of Sports of the USSR title.
- The Olympic Flame was lit by two Finnish heroes, runners Paavo Nurmi and Hannes Kolehmainen. Nurmi first lit the cauldron inside the stadium, and later the flame was relayed to the stadium tower where Kolehmainen lit it. Only the flame in the tower was burning throughout the Olympics. (See: 1952 Summer Olympics torch relay.)
- Hungary's Golden Team won the football tournament, beating Yugoslavia 2–0 in the final.
- Germany and Japan were invited after being barred in 1948. Following the post-war occupation and partition, three German states had been established. Teams from the Federal Republic of Germany and the Saarland (which joined the FRG after 1955) participated; the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was absent. Though they won 24 medals, the fifth-highest total at the Games, German competitors failed to win a gold medal for the only time.
- Rules in equestrianism now allowed non-military officers to compete, including women. Lis Hartel of Denmark became the first woman in the sport to win a medal.
- Emil Zátopek of Czechoslovakia won three gold medals in the 5000 m, 10,000 m and the Marathon (which he had never run before).
- The India national field hockey team won its fifth consecutive gold under captaincy of Kunwar Digvijay Singh
- Bob Mathias of the United States became the first Olympian to successfully defend his decathlon title with a total score of 7,887 points.
- Josy Barthel of Luxembourg pulled a major surprise by winning the 1500 m.
- Eva Perón, the celebrated First Lady of Argentina, died of cancer in July 1952 while the Olympics were taking place, so a memorial was held at the Games for the Argentine team.
The 1952 Summer Olympics featured 17 different sports encompassing 23 disciplines, and medals were awarded in 149 events. In the list below, the number of events in each discipline is noted in parentheses.
- Athletics (33)
- Basketball (1)
- Boxing (10)
- Canoeing (9)
- Road (2)
- Track (4)
- Dressage (2)
- Eventing (2)
- Show jumping (2)
- Fencing (7)
- Field hockey (1)
- Football (1)
- Gymnastics (15)
- Modern pentathlon (2)
- Rowing (7)
- Sailing (5)
- Shooting (7)
- Weightlifting (7)
- Freestyle (8)
- Greco-Roman (8)
With an annual average temperature of 5.9 °C (42.6 °F), Helsinki is one of the coldest cities to have hosted the Summer Olympics.
- Hämeenlinna – Modern pentathlon
- Harmaja – Sailing
- Helsinki Football Grounds – Football
- Huopalahti – Shooting (shotgun)
- Käpylä – Cycling (road)
- Kotka – Football
- Laakso – Equestrian (eventing – riding)
- Lahti – Football
- Liuskasaari – Sailing
- Malmi Rifle Range – Shooting (pistol/ rifle)
- Maunula – Cycling (road)
- Meilahti – Rowing
- Messuhalli – Basketball (final), boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling
- Olympic Stadium – Athletics, Equestrian (jumping), Football (final)
- Pakila – Cycling (road)
- Ruskeasuo Equestrian Hall – Equestrian (dressage, eventing)
- Swimming Stadium – Diving, Swimming, Water polo
- Taivallahti – Canoeing
- Tali Race Track – Equestrian (eventing steeplechase)
- Tampere – Football
- Tennis Palace – Basketball
- Turku – Football
- Velodrome – Cycling (track), Field hockey
- Westend Tennis Hall – Fencing
Participating National Olympic Committees
A total of 69 nations participated in these Games, up from 59 in the 1948 Games. Thirteen nations made their first Olympic appearance in 1952: The Bahamas, the People's Republic of China, Gold Coast (now Ghana), Guatemala, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria, Soviet Union (USSR), Thailand, and Vietnam.
Japan and Germany were both reinstated and permitted to send athletes after being banned for 1948 for their instigation of World War II. Due to the division of Germany, German athletes from Saar entered a separate team for the only time. Only West Germany would provide athletes for the actual German team, since East Germany refused to participate in a joint German team.
These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1952 Games.
|Totals (10 nations)||126||97||91||314|
50th anniversary coin
The 50th anniversary of the Helsinki Olympic Games was the main motif for one of the first Finnish euro silver commemorative coins, the €10 silver coin minted in 2002. The reverse depicts part of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, as well as a section of the 1952 500 markka coin. The obverse has lettering SUOMI FINLAND 10 EURO, a flame, and Finland is the only country highlighted on Earth.
Paavo Nurmi enters the Helsinki Olympic Stadium carrying the torch during the opening ceremonies. He became the first well-known athlete to light the Olympic Flame.
After Jean Boiteux won the 400 m freestyle race his father jumped into the pool to congratulate him
Just before the 2nd round of Prix des Nations
- Summer Olympic Games
- Olympic Games
- International Olympic Committee
- List of IOC country codes
- 1952 Summer Olympics torch relay
- "Factsheet - Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad" (PDF) (Press release). International Olympic Committee. September 13, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 14, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- Bascomb, Neal (2005). The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It. Mariner Books. ISBN 9780618562091.
- "International Olympic Committee Vote History". September 9, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- "Past Olympic Host City Election Results". Games Bids. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- Mulvenney, Nick (August 7, 2008). "Chen Chengda, China's almost Olympian". Reuters. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- "On This Day: 1952: 20 July: Zatopek wins gold at Helsinki". BBC News. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- "The Role of Sports in The Soviet Union – Guided History". blogs.bu.edu.
- "Info" (PDF). www.cia.gov.
- "USSR – Yugoslavia, the Story of Two Different Football Conceptions". russianfootballnews.com. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- 1952 Summer Olympics official report. p. 91. – accessed 1 August 2010.[dead link]
- Marc Sollinger (February 6, 2014). "The 9 weirdest cities that have hosted the Olympics (and why!)". www.marketplace.org.
- Byron, Lee; Cox, Amanda; Ericson, Matthew (August 4, 2008). "A Map of Olympic Medals". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1952 Summer Olympics.|
- "Helsinki 1952". Olympic.org. International Olympic Committee.
- Helsinki 1952 Official Olympic Report la84foundation.org
- Helsinki 1952 Official Olympic Report olympic-museum.de
| Summer Olympic Games
XV Olympiad (1952)