1952 Olympics - Helsinki

The Soviet Union returned to the Olympic fold in 1952 after a 40-year absence, a period of time that included a revolution and two world wars. Ironically, the Soviets chose to make their comeback in Finland, a country they had invaded twice during World War II.

This time it was the United States that was surprised by the Soviets, and the USA had to scramble on the last day of competition to hold off the USSR's assault on first place in the overall standings. It was the beginning of an all-consuming 36-year Cold War rivalry.

Despite the Soviets' impressive debut, it was a Communist from another Iron Curtain country who turned in the most memorable individual performance of the Games. Emil Zátopek of Czechoslovakia, the 10,000-meter champion in London, not only repeated at 10,000 meters, but also won at 5,000 and in the marathon–an event he had never run before. He also set Olympic records in each race and topped it off by watching his wife Dana Zátopková win the women's javelin.

Zátopek's unique triple was wildly applauded by the distance-minded Finns, but their greatest outburst came in the opening ceremonies when legendary countryman Paavo Nurmi, now 56, ran into the stadium with the Olympic torch and handed it off to another native legend Hannes Kolehmainen, now 62, who lit the flame to start the Games.

Also, Harrison Dillard of the U.S. won the 110-meter hurdles. In 1948, Dillard, the world's best hurdler, failed to qualify for the hurdles and won the 100-meter dash instead.


Event   Time  
 100m Lindy Remigino, USA 10.4  
  Herbert McKenley, JAM 10.4  
  Emmanuel McDonald-Bailey, GBR 10.4  
 200m Andy Stanfield, USA 20.7  
  Thane Baker, USA 20.8  
  James Gathers, USA 20.8  
 400m George Rhoden, JAM 45.9 OR
  Herbert McKenley, JAM 45.9  
  Ollie Matson, USA 46.8  
 800m Mal Whitfield, USA 1:49.2 =OR
  Arthur Wint, JAM 1:49.4  
  Heinz Ulzheimer, GER 1:49.7  
1500m Josy Barthel, LUX 3:45.1 OR
  Bob McMillen, USA 3:45.2  
  Werner Lueg, GER 3:45.4  
5000m Emil Zátopek, CZE 14:06.6 OR
  Alain Mimoun, FRA 14:07.4  
  Herbert Schade, GER 14:08.6  
10,000m Emil Zátopek, CZE 29:17.0 OR
  Alain Mimoun, FRA 29:32.8  
  Alexander Anufriyev, USSR 29:48.2  
Marathon Emil Zátopek, CZE 2:23:03.2 OR
  Reinaldo Gorno, ARG 2:25:35.0  
  Gustaf Jansson, SWE 2:26:07.0  
110m H Harrison Dillard, USA 13.7 OR
  Jack Davis, USA 13.7  
  Arthur Barnard, USA 14.1  
400m H Charley Moore, USA 50.8 OR
  Yuriy Lituyev, USSR 51.3  
  John Holland, NZL 52.2  
Horace Ashenfelter, USA 8:45.4 WR
  Vladimir Kazantsev, USSR 8:51.6  
  John Disley, GBR 8:51.8  
10k Walk John Mikaelsson, SWE 45:02.8 OR
  Fritz Schwab, SWI 45:41.0  
  Bruno Yunk, USSR 45:41.0  
50k Walk Giuseppe Dordoni, ITA 4:28:07.8 OR
  Josef Dolezal, CZE 4:30:17.8  
  Antal Róka, HUN 4:31:27.2  
4x100m USA (Dean Smith, Harrison Dillard,
Lindy Remigino,Andy Stanfield)
  Soviet Union 40.3  
  Hungary 40.5  
4x400m JAM (Arthur Wint, Leslie Laing, Herb
McKenley, George Rhoden)
3:03.9 WR
  United States 3:04.0  
  Germany 3:06.6  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Walt Davis, USA 6- 81/2 OR
  Ken Wiesner, USA 6-7  
  J.Telles da Conceiceiăo, BRA 6-6  
Pole Vault Bob Richards, USA 14-11 OR
  Donald Laz, USA 14-9  
  Ragnar Lundberg, SWE 14-5  
Long Jump Jerome Biffle, USA 24-10  
  Meredith Gourdine, USA 24-81/4  
  Ödön Földessy, HUN 23-111/4  
Triple Jump Adhemar da Silva, BRA 53- 23/4 WR
  Leonid Shcherbakov, USSR 52-5  
  Arnoldo Devonish, VEN 50-11  
Shot Put Parry O'Brien, USA 57- 11/2 OR
  Darrow Hooper, USA 57-01/2  
  Jim Fuchs, USA 55-111/2  
Discus Sim Iness, USA 180- 6 OR
  Adolfo Consolini, ITA 176-5  
  James Dillion, USA 174-91/2  
Hammer József Csermák, HUN 197-11 WR
  Karl Storch, GER 193-1  
  Imre Németh, HUN 189-5  
Javelin Cy Young, USA 242- 1 OR
  William Miller, USA 237-81/2  
  Toivo Hyytiäinen, FIN 235-10  
Decathlon Bob Mathias, USA 7887 pts WR
  Milton Campbell, USA 6975  
  Floyd Simmons, USA 6788  


Event   Time  
 100m Marjorie Jackson, AUS 11.5 WR
  Daphne Hasenjager-Robb, S. Afr. 11.8  
  Shirley Strickland, AUS 11.9  
 200m Marjorie Jackson, AUS 23.7  
  Bertha Brouwer, NED 24.2  
  Nadyezda Khnykhina, USSR 24.2  
80m H Shirley Strickland, AUS 10.9 WR
  Maria Golubnichaya, USSR 11.1  
  Maria Sander, GER 11.1  
4x100m USA (Mae Faggs, Barbara Jones,
Janet Moreau, Catherine Hardy)
45.9 WR
  Germany 45.9  
  Great Britain 46.2  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Esther Brand, S.Afr. 5- 53/4  
  Sheila Lerwill, GBR 5-5  
  Aleksandra Chudina, USSR 5-4  
Long Jump Yvette Williams, NZE 20- 53/4 OR
  Aleksandra Chudina, USSR 20-11/2  
  Shirley Cawley, GBR 19-5  
Shot Put Galina Zybina, USSR 50- 13/4 WR
  Marianne Werner, GER 47-91/2  
  Klavdiya Tochenova, USSR 47-63/4  
Discus Nina Romaschkova, USSR 168- 8 OR
  Elizaveta Bagriantseva, USSR 154-51/2  
  Nina Dumbadze, USSR 170-8  
Javelin Dana Zátopková, CZE 165- 7  
  Aleksandra Chudina, USSR 164-01/2  
  Yelena Gorchakova, USSR 163-3