Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympic Games

The 15th Olympics went down in history as a most pleasant event, mostly due to the heartiness and welcoming nature of the Finnish organizers.


Time and Place: Helsinki (Finland); 19 July – 3 August 1952
Other candidates: Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia
Participation: 69 countries, 4955 athletes
Number of sports: 17 sports, 149 events

Number of Slovenian athletes: 10
Fire lit by: Paavo Nurmi (track and field)
Games opened by: Juho Paasikivi (President of Finland)
Olympic oath: Heikki Savolainen (gymnast)


Trivia from the Melbourne 1956 Summer Olympic Games

The Fins made their mark on the Olympics and had their fun with the leading men of the Olympic Committee at the very beginning. The Committee banned the famous athlete Paavo Nurmi from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics for violating the rules on amateurship. It was his image that then adorned the official posters of the 1952 Olympics and it was he who brought the Olympic torch into the stadium during the opening ceremony. The Helsinki games saw many rookie athletes, athletes coming back from a break and athletes competing under new flags. Thus for the first time after 1912, when they appeared for the royal Russia, the Olympics again hosted athletes from the Soviet Union. Germans also made a return, appearing as two separate teams (the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic). South Korea made its first Olympic appearance (prior appearances were made under the flag of a "united" Korea). The numerous international disputes and differences in political systems made their mark in sports and many achievements had a strong political connotation. The cold war successfully extended its tentacles into the heart of Olympic events.


Olympic heights

Far from the negotiating table and weapons, the exceptional Czech athlete Emil Zatopek, a true legend and icon of the 1952 Summer Olympics, proved his skill and ability by winning the 5 and 10 km races and the marathon. Although he did not receive the glory of the "Czech locomotive", gymnast Victor Chukarin, quadruple Olympic champion and double vice-champion won even more medals. Notable Olympic heroes included iItalian fencer Edoardo Mangiarotti, gymnasts Grant Shaginyan, Nina Bocharova and Maria Gorohovskaya and American track and field athlete Bob Mathias. A special medal was won by Danish equestrian competitor Lis Hartel who was paralyzed below the knees due to polio. She won the silver medal.

Slovenians and the 1952 Summer Olympics

The Olympic Games in Helsinki, best remembered by Emil Zatopek, hosted a 94-strong contingent from Yugoslavia, including 10 Slovenian athletes (4 of those were female). None of the athletes achieved a notable result. Stanko Lorger made his first appearance at the Olympics in Helsinki and later went on to achieve good results in international competition.