Cold War Games shows vividly how the USSR and US exploited the Melbourne Olympic Games for propaganda, turning athletic fields, swimming pools and other sporting venues into battlefields in which each fought for supremacy.
The 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games have become known as the ‘friendly games’, but East-West rivalry ensured that they were anything but friendly. From the bloody semi-final water polo match between the USSR and Hungary, to the 46 athletes who defected to the West, sport and politics collided during the Cold War.
There were glimmers of peace and solidarity. Cold War Games also tells the love story between Czechoslovak discus thrower Olga Fikotová, and American hammer thrower Hal Connolly, and their struggle to overcome Cold War politics to marry.
Cold War Games is a lively, landmark book, with fresh information from ASIO files and newly discovered documents from archives in the USSR, US and Hungary, revealing secret operations in Melbourne and showing just how pivotal the 1956 Olympic Games were for the great powers of the Cold War.
About the author
Harry Blutstein is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University. Since 1972, he has been a freelance journalist and has published feature articles in op-eds in major Australian newspapers on a wide variety of topics. His articles on sport have ranged from bodybuilding to croquet.