Military Review

Twelve Olympic Legends

In the annals of the Olympic Games there are no brighter pages than those associated with the victories of our front-line soldiers. Today, Russia is trying to push out of the Olympic family. But we hope that in stories there will be no scandals, but victories. The wounded heroes of the Great Patriotic War, like no other, have shown what inflexible will, patience, and endurance are. In ancient Greece, Olympic champions were given lifetime monuments, by their accomplishments contemporaries learned to believe in a man ... Our veterans, overcoming themselves, revived this faith in the twentieth century. In the history they remained invincible, unsurpassed. We could not embrace everyone in a brief article, but we could not but recall twelve bright destinies. After all, it was not for nothing that we were once called the victorious people ...

1. VICTOR CHUKARIN (1921 – 1984)

He twice won the title of absolute Olympic champion in gymnastics - in 1952-m in Helsinki and four years in Melbourne. No one was able to surpass this result, only Japanese Savao Kato managed to repeat Chukarin's result in 1972 and 1976. But Kato was never able to become the absolute world champion, and Chukarin in 1954 won this title in a fair fight. In addition, he won his first Olympic medal in 31 year - for gymnastics it is the retirement age. And in Melbourne, Chukarin won three gold medals at thirty-five! And few knew that the elegant king of the dais in 1941 had volunteered for the front. After being wounded, he was captured. Passed through several concentration camps, was sentenced to death ... When Victor returned home, the mother did not recognize him, so he was exhausted. But he, as an obsessive person, resumed training and already in 1946-m took part in the USSR championship, and two years later became the absolute champion of the country in gymnastics. Amazing fate.

Twelve Olympic Legends

2. Alexey Katulin (1906 – 1982)

He alone in our list did not win the Olympic "gold" as an athlete. At a time when wrestler Alexei Katulin reigned on the mat, the Soviet Union did not take part in competitions. But it was Katulin who, as trainer and chairman of the federation, organized the triumphal debut of the Soviet wrestlers at the 1952 Olympiad, the winners of which were Boris Gurevich, Yakov Punkin, Shazam Safin and Johannes Kotkas.

His youth came in the 1920s. Alexey worked at a shoe factory, in the summer almost every day he played football, in the winter he skated. However, this sporting fame overtook him when Katulin tried his strength on the wrestling mat. At the beginning of 1930, he became the strongest wrestler of the country, and then proved himself as a coach. Shortly after the start of the war, Katulin led a partisan detachment in the occupied Smolensk region. He acted bravely and prudently, derailed German echelons, blew up communications ... In one of the shootings, he was captured after a heavy concussion. He - a communist, an officer - by a miracle (and not without military tricks) managed to avoid execution. On the fifth attempt, Katulin was able to flee to his ... He became an indispensable sports intellectual: the chairman of the Soviet Wrestling Federation and the first domestic vice president of the International Wrestling Federation (FILA). Sedin, glasses, elegant suit ... He rarely recalled the military past.

3. IVAN UDODOV (1924 – 1981)

The first Soviet Olympic champion was he - the easiest in weightlifting, weightlifter, Rostovite Ivan Udodov. Before him, the Olympic triumph was opened by the lady of the disc thrower Nina Ponomareva-Romashkova. The main rival of the Rostov weightlifter at the Olympics was considered Iranian unique Mahmud Namdiyu, world record holder, multiple Olympic champion ... But Udodov unexpectedly won with the Olympic record. An Iranian lagged behind 7,5 kg ... He later confirmed his Udodov class at the world championships.

Strange as it may seem, doctors brought him to weightlifting. They advised to go in for sports. When the war began, seventeen-year-old Udodov did not have time to get into service. In the autumn, when the Nazis first captured Rostov-on-Don, the youth was hijacked directly from an orphanage to forced labor in Germany. He had to work at an aircraft factory. Udodov decided to escape, but was captured ... He, like other fugitives, was sent to a concentration camp. Two years, until the very end of the war, the future champion spent in Buchenwald. In April, American soldiers carrying 1945 were carrying a sick guy to the hospital. He weighed 29 kg. I had to re-learn to walk ... strength returned gradually. In Rostov, the doctor advised him on sport, weightlifting. Ivan studied as a chauffeur, and in the evenings he came to the gym ... Talent manifested itself quickly: in 1949, Udodov took a high fifth place in the national championship in the easiest category, and in 1951, he became the champion of the USSR.

4. YAKOV PUNKIN (1921 – 1994)

A young athlete, wrestler of the classical (Greco-Roman) style, Jacob Punkin, has been with the Red Army since April 1941. Just a time has come to serve. Punkin was on the front line already in June. And in one of the first battles in the summer of 1941, he, contused, was captured. Until the summer, 1942 was in the Fullen prisoner-of-war camp in northwestern Germany, and since the summer of 1942, he was transferred to Osnabrück, from where he was sent to farms for agricultural work. In captivity, he, a Jew, presented himself as an Ossetian. In 1945, he was released from the Mennen camp. Punkin continued his service in the Red Army and soon became the champion of the Armed Forces in the semi-lightweight category. Then he developed his crown reception - throw deflection, with a sharp change in the trajectory. In the final of the 1952 Olympics, this shot helped him to extinguish two of his strongest rivals - the Hungarian
and Egyptian. Punkin was called "lightning on the carpet." The Olympics in Helsinki was the high point of the front-line soldier.

5. NIKOLAY SOLOGUBOV (1924 – 1988)

In the 1950s, he was the best defender in world hockey. Our athletes first took part in the Winter Olympics in 1956 in the Alpine Italian town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Nikolai Sologubov then became the first "winter" standard-bearer of the USSR national team. Only one hockey player in history was twice named the best player in the Olympics. It was he - the Soviet defender, front-line soldier, soldier Nikolai Sologubov - in 1956 and in 1960. By the way, already in 1956 he turned 32 years old. Until now, no one - not a single goalkeeper, defender or forward - has managed to repeat his achievements. The rivals did not know that Sologubov had returned from the front with broken tibia. He fought desperately and skillfully, twice returned to service after being seriously wounded ...

He not only interrupted his opponent’s attacks with unexpected power moves and deft maneuvers, but also attacked. When the Canadian defender broke his face at the Olympics 56, Sologubov dismissed the doctor: “We will be treated after the game!”. In 350 games, he threw 128 pucks - a unique result for the defender.

First place - Arkady Vorobiev!

6. ARKADY SPARROWS (1924 – 2012)

He had a motto: "To fight knee-deep in blood and to win, forcing other people's rooms to stand up to the sounds of our hymn."

Arkady Vorobyov - an era in the history of world sports. An outstanding weight-lifter, a real hero, a sports intellectual, he twice won the Olympic "gold", and won a silver medal at his first Olympiad in Helsinki. In 1960, at the Olympics in Rome, Sparrow in 36 years became a two-time Olympic champion.

He beat world records more than once. He managed to continue the victorious traditions as a coach of the national team. We remember Vorobyov as a talented doctor, doctor of medical sciences, researcher, founder of the Malakhov Institute of Physical Education. He rushed to the front from the school bench - and at seventeen, on the third attempt, put on a gymnast. He served in the Marine Corps, was a diver, distinguished himself when crossing the Danube. His first sports title is the champion of the Black Sea fleet. A ticket to sports life was given to front-line soldier Marshal Georgy Zhukov ...


I saw the bust of Alexander Suvorov in the Novoladozhsky local history museum. “This is a gift from the Leningrad sculptor Yury Tyukalov!” The guides tell. When the war ended, he was walking for the fifteenth year, but the boy was already wearing the medal “For the Defense of Leningrad”. He spent all the days of the blockade in the besieged city. Barely alive, he helped those who were completely weak, put out fires. I was ready to stand for Leningrad until my last breath. And after the victory, he recuperated not only in hospitals, but also in gymnasiums. From the time of Peter the Great, they knew a lot about rowing fun on the Neva. Tyukalov in the beginning. The 1950's became one of the best Soviet rowers. At our first Olympiad - in Helsinki in 1952 - he won the prestigious “loner”, and four years later in Melbourne became the champion in the “two”. After a great sport, he graduated from the Leningrad Higher Art and Industrial School named after VI. The fly In his sculptures - the history of St. Petersburg, the history of the Great Patriotic. Defender of Leningrad, Olympic champion, sculptor, and today works in his hometown.

8. ANATOLY BOGDANOV (1931 – 2001)

Award-bearer, two-time Olympic champion, multiple world champion, Europe and the USSR in bullet shooting in rifle exercises. He surpassed all the heirs of William Tell. Anatoly Bogdanov - one of the most titled masters of his craft, an outstanding shooter. He was given a surname in an orphanage: Bogdanov is God-given. And he had to mature in besieged Leningrad. At eleven he was already rushing to the front. He admired the fighters, naval sailors who defended Leningrad. Bogdanov became the cabin boy, served on the boat. There, in the navy, during the war years he learned to shoot. And then he also mastered an intricate musical instrument - the trombone, performed in a military orchestra. He suffered a serious illness. And then, after the Victory, he found himself in the sport and became one of the best snipers of the twentieth century.

9. GRANT SHAGHINYAN (1923 – 1996)

At the Olympics debut for our athletes in Helsinki in 1952, Grant Shaginyan won two gold and two silver medals. The most impressive was his performance on horseback, at the end of which he performed a dismount for the first time, which later entered into international terminology as “Shaginyan’s spinner”. In the struggle for absolute primacy, he lost only to Viktor Chukarin, and for the exercise on the rings he won the Olympic gold medal. During the competition it was difficult to notice that the gymnast limping. But he returned to the sport after being seriously wounded ...
In the summer of 1941, a young, promising gymnast volunteered to the front. From the war he returned as an officer, with awards and wounds. I could hardly move with my wand. Overcoming the pain, straightened his leg to try again in the gym. Three years after the Victory, Grant became one of the best athletes of the Union.

10. EUGENE LOPATIN (1917 – 2011)

Before the war he was the weightlifting champion of Leningrad in lightweight. And since August 1942, Lieutenant Lopatin, the commander of a company of anti-tank guns, fought at Stalingrad. The power was useful to him at the front: the gun weighed 22 kg. The Nazis rushed to the Volga. September 11 under Yerzovka Lopatin caught a German sniper. Friends in the battle killed, and the weightlifter seemed to have lost his hand. The bullet went right through, cut the bone. In order to save his hand, Lopatin developed a set of special exercises for himself. Squeezing constantly spring dumbbell, rubber ball, holding the load with half-bent, curled fingers. Fingers began to come alive. In 1945, he took part in the USSR Championship and won a silver medal. And two years later, hard work became the champion of the country. At the Olympics in Helsinki, the wounded officer failed to win. The rival turned out to be too strong - the American Thomas Kono, a multiple champion of everything. However, such a silver medal is worth any victory. And then the soldier raised his son - the world record holder in the same sport.

11. ANATOLY PARFENOV (1925 – 1993)

In the film "Seventeen Moments of Spring" there is a scene: General Wolf returns from Switzerland, and at the airfield waiting for him from the Gestapo. On a close-up, a very impressive figure in a hat. This "Gestapo man" was born in the village of Dvornikovo near Moscow. And he fought against such here the Nazis, so that ridges cracked. In October, 1943, the detachment in which Anatoly Parfyonov served, received a task: to cross the Dnieper using improvised means. With a machine gun calculation, they sailed on the river, but the Nazis turned on the searchlights, and the storm fire hit the rafts. Anatolia blast wave thrown into the water. The machine gun went to the bottom. He dived and was able to get a machine gun from the bottom, and then first reached the shore and opened fire. In this battle he was wounded twice. And later, in a trench, he coped with three enemies. Senior Sergeant Parfyonov awarded the Order of Lenin. He didn’t play sports, he didn’t know the rules of wrestling. Only in 1951 year in 26 years began to engage in the gym. And, although after injuring his arm moved poorly, he quickly became one of the strongest athletes in the country and earned the nickname Hercules.

Anatoly Parfyonov in the film “Seventeen Moments of Spring”

Tall Parfenov struggled in the heaviest weight of the "classic". In 1956, he represented our country at the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Equal to him was not. Powerful German Wilfried Dietrich rescued before the Russian hero. "Gold"! And then the brave and strong man became a wonderful coach. Among his students is Nikolai Balboshin, one of the best wrestlers of the twentieth century, standard-bearer of the Moscow Olympics. And Parfenov sometimes filmed in the cinema.

12. MARIA GOROHOVSKAYA (1921 – 2001)

Maria Gorokhovskaya - the first in the history of the absolute Olympic champion in gymnastics. In Helsinki, she became the queen of the dais. She has two more records. In 1952, in Helsinki, for one Olympiad, she won seven medals: two gold and five silver. Until now, no one has managed to surpass this result. As none of the beautiful ladies could not win the absolute championship in such a "veteran" age - in thirty years. And during these thirty years, she happened to see something that would be enough for two lives ... The city of her childhood - Evpatoria. However, the war found Mary in Leningrad. During the blockade she worked in a military hospital and was on duty on the roofs of Leningrad buildings at night. In a state of extreme exhaustion, it was taken to Kazakhstan and they miraculously left it. She gave all her strength to work "for the front, for victory." It was for what to fight: the father was shot in the Crimea during the occupation, his brother died at the front. And there was enough will to become the best gymnast in the world!

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, daily additional materials that do not get on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. midshipman
    midshipman 30 July 2016 08: 30
    He began to engage in artistic gymnastics in 1950. Received the first grade. For us V. Chukarin was a model and a star. We revered him, and Shahinyan's "cross" quickly learned how to do it. I have the honor.
  2. grandson of the hero
    grandson of the hero 30 July 2016 08: 47
    Maybe just about the topic.
    1987, Minsk, April. I got married and we have a wedding in one of the restaurants of the city. You have no idea what my surprise was when, nearby, at the next table, I saw A. Medved. Three-time Olympic champion, multiple champion of the world, Europe and the USSR. He turned out to be my uncle's uncle. In what ... happens.
  3. Panikovsky
    Panikovsky 30 July 2016 09: 14
    Wonderful article! I applaud while standing! Very positive!
  4. evil partisan
    evil partisan 30 July 2016 09: 20
    Great article. Many thanks to the author.
    But unfortunately, the attention of the Authors writing on the topic of front-line athletes always escapes what our other athletes - chess players - were the first to declare to the whole world about their superiority. The famous USSR-USA radio match in 1945 shocked the entire chess (and not only chess) world. The strongest chess team in the world, the US team, was defeated head-on: 15,5 - 4,5. And although none of the winners directly at the front was not willing to call them rear services. Kotov created and created a mortar with breech loading, Bronstein restored Stalingrad immediately after its liberation, many of them traveled to hospitals conducting simultaneous game sessions, lecturing in hospitals and in forming units. And many chess players of the first "socialist" wave did not live to see this triumph, died the death of the brave on the fields of war, such as S. Belavenets, L. Kayev, the most talented M. Stolberg, Silich ... In besieged Leningrad, Ilyin-Zhenevsky, Rauser, Kubbel, I. Rabinovich ... Many returned to chess after 45: E. Geller (repeated champion of the USSR), A. Tolush, A. Cherepkov, R. Nezhmetdinov ...
    And the first of their Olympics in 1952. it was the Soviet chess players who won in Helsinki. And a significant contribution to the overall victory was made by the front-line soldier, the future legend of Soviet chess, Odessa native Yefim Petrovich Geller.
  5. tundra
    tundra 30 July 2016 12: 10
    Today’s feet would be woodpeckers, one ten thousandth share,
    the will to win, those Athletes.
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 30 July 2016 13: 18
      Quote: tundra
      tundra (1) RU Today, 12:10 New

      CAPITAL PEOPLE !!!!!!
      Today’s feet would be woodpeckers, one ten thousandth share,
      the will to win, those Athletes.

      And there were also excellent books by Lev Kassil about sports and athletes: Peking boots and the Goalkeeper of the Republic about Football Players. The White Queen's Walk is about skis and skiers. There were "Leather Ball" and "Golden Puck" and there was no talk about bubble, grandmothers, tugriks and Bucks. Any work should be paid, but I consider it immoral to prioritize earnings. Even the great professionals of hockey in the old days had to work somewhere. Read books about Boby Orr, Bob Hull, Gordie Howe. Even professional sports were not a source of income. And now sport is not a sport, but a show of money bags. Whoever paid more won.
      1. Mykl
        Mykl 30 July 2016 20: 21
        "Beijing boots", "Goalkeeper of the Republic", "Ours played in Izmir" - generally the best examples of literature about sports! Now there are none. Take any work about sports - it's either about doping, or about a drunken hero-lover, or a bloody detective story. The concepts of "honor of the country", "responsibility for a common cause" are now out of fashion, scoop.
  6. Andrey VOV
    Andrey VOV 30 July 2016 13: 15
    Hmm ..... there are no such people anymore ... alas ... but maybe it will still be back to square one, but on a different level .. here about whom it is necessary to make films, here about whom it is necessary to constantly tell children, that's who must be an idol ...
  7. Fedyl
    Fedyl 30 July 2016 16: 07
    They beat the counter-counterparts not for money, but for their homeland !!! Not like some!
  8. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 30 July 2016 21: 44
    In 1981, Vorobyov published an excellent book for athletics, and there were techniques for any audience, ways to avoid characteristic injuries, an amazing book were discussed.
  9. demotivator
    demotivator 16 October 2016 06: 36
    All of them are participants in the 1952 Summer Olympics. in the city of Helsinki. Participating in the Olympics after a difficult war, the famous Soviet athletes won 22 gold medals and 19 bronze ones without anabolics and growth hormones, without promoters and crazy prize pools. Leaving behind the number of awards all of Europe, Australia and losing only to the United States. The phenomenal result! Especially, if we take into account that all of them, as can be seen from the text of the article, the war veterans, blockades, prisoners of concentration camps who miraculously did not fall into the gas furnace, formed the main backbone of the Soviet team.
    It would seem that after these people survived and took a sip, according to all the textbooks of psychology, they could only sit at home with the mouse and hide bread under the pillow for the rest of their lives. But no! They behaved exactly the opposite! They showed the whole world that the joy of life is the best dope! That the Olympics after the horrors of war are seeds. What to jump on the crippled legs farthest than all is nonsense if you managed to survive in a trench ironed by a tank.
    And only 4 years later, at the Olympics in Melbourne, the USSR Olympic team will leave even the Americans far behind, both in grades, in gold medals, and in the total number of medals.
    And none of the Soviet leaders gave any of the winners either a Mercedes or a yacht!
    Here it is the strength of the Soviet system, clearly expressed in specific numbers and results.
    Sport in the USSR was truly massive. Stadiums, pools, children's sports fields were built, on which future champions grew and trained.
    Involuntarily you begin to compare the Soviet and current Olympians and admit the comparison is not in favor of the latter. The heroes of Helsinki are truly great and honored athletes. Not at all what the current, shallow tribe of snickering millionaires is.