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The Whole World Was WatchingSport in the Cold War$
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Robert Edelman and Christopher Young

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781503610187

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503610187.001.0001

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Action in the Era of Stagnation

Action in the Era of Stagnation

Leonid Brezhnev and the Soviet Olympic Dream

(p.73) 4 Action in the Era of Stagnation
The Whole World Was Watching

Mikhail Prozumenshikov

Stanford University Press

After the Soviet Union’s successful second-place result in the 1952 Olympic Summer Games, its sports officials began to dream of hosting the great mega-event in Moscow. Able leaders like Konstantin Andrianov and Nikolai Romanov repeatedly pushed the party leadership to go along with their plans but to no avail. Joseph Stalin, who departed the world in 1953, had little interest in sport, and his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, was hostile. Everything changed when Leonid Brezhnev came to power. He was an ardent fan of sport who had supported teams and clubs in all the localities through which he passed on the way to the top of the Soviet hierarchy in 1964. Ten years later, after numerous false starts, the Soviet capital was awarded the Games. In this case, a single individual in an authoritarian state had a profound effect.

Keywords:   Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Olympic Games, Cold War, Politburo

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