Political defection

London was the first Olympics to have a political defection. Marie Provaznikova the 57-year old Czechoslovakian President of the International Gymnastics Federation refused to return home, citing "lack of freedom" after the Czech coup in February led to the country's inclusion in the Soviet Bloc. Marie Provaznikova (24 October 1890 11 January 1991) was a Czechoslovak sports official active in the Sokol movement. Born in Prague, she was a coach of the Czechoslovak womens gymnastics team at the 1948 London Olympics and there she decided to defect, because of "lack of freedom" in her homeland brought about by the February coup.[1] After a few months stay in London she moved to the United States and resided there for the rest of her life, teaching PE and organizing Sokol units in the United States and internationally. She lived to see the 1989 Velvet revolution and greeted with enthusiasm the revival of the Czechoslovak Sokol movement after four decades of Communist suppression. She died at the age of 100 years in Schenectady, New York.[2] In 1992 she was awarded the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, in memoriam, class III.Czechoslovakia (or Czecho-Slovakia;[1] Czech and Slovak: Ceskoslovensko, Cesko-Slovensko)[2] was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993. From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate. In 1945, the eastern part of Carpathian Ruthenia was taken over by the Soviet Union. The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) or International Federation of Gymnastics (IFG) is the governing body of competitive gymnastics. Its headquarters is in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was founded on July 23, 1881 in Liege, Belgium, making it the worlds oldest existing international sport organisation.[1] Originally called the European Federation of Gymnastics, it had three member countries Belgium France and the Netherlands until 1921, when non-European countries were admitted, and it was renamed to its current name.[2] The federation draws up the rules, known as the Code of Points, which regulate how gymnast's performance is evaluated. Six gymnastics disciplines are governed by the FIG: Artistic gymnastics (further classified as Men's Artistic Gymnastics MAG and Women's Artistic Gymnastics WAG), Rhythmic gymnastics (RG), Aerobic gymnastics (AER), Acrobatic gymnastics (ACRO) and Trampolining (TRA). Additionally, the federation has been considered the authority responsible for determining whether gymnasts are old enough to participate in the Olympics.The 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'etat (often simply the Czech coup) (Czech: Unor 1948, Slovak: Februar 1948, both meaning "February 1948") in Communist historiography known as "Victorious February" (Czech: Vitezny unor, Slovak: Vitazny februar) was an event late that February in which the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with Soviet backing, assumed undisputed control over the government of Czechoslovakia, ushering in over four decades of dictatorship under its rule. The coups significance extended well beyond the countrys boundaries, however, as it was a clear marker along the already well-advanced road to full-fledged Cold War. The shock with which the West greeted the eventwhich bore distinct echoes of Munichhelped spur quick adoption of the Marshall Plan, the creation of a state in West Germany, vigorous measures to keep Communists out of power in France and especially Italy, and steps toward mutual security that would, in little over a year, result in the establishment of NATO and the definitive drawing of the Iron Curtain until the Fall of Communism in 1989. The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact.[1][2][3] The terms Communist Bloc and Soviet Bloc were also used to denote groupings of states aligned with the Soviet Union, although these terms might include states outside Central and Eastern Europe.

Menu