1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the
Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in
Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics
, which were
cancelled due to World War II.
Host city selection
was chosen as the host city over bids from Amsterdam and five American cities: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, at the 40th IOC Session
on June 21, 1947, in Stockholm, Sweden.
The voting results, in a chart below, comes from the
International Olympic Committee Vote History
Paavo Nurmi and the Olympic
- To the enjoyment of the Finnish crowd, the Olympic Flame was lit by two Finnish heroes,
Nurmi and Hannes
- For the first time, a team from the Soviet Union participated
in the Olympics. The first gold medal for the USSR was won by
Nina Romashkova in the women's
Discus Throwing event, and the Soviet
women's gymnastics team won the first of its eight consecutive gold
- Israel made its
Olympic debut. The Jewish state had been unable to
participate in the 1948 Games because of its War of Independence. A previous
Palestine Mandate team had boycotted the 1936 Games in protest of the Nazi regime.
Taipei/Taiwan), listed as "China (Formosa)", withdrew from the
Games on July 20, in protest of the allowing of the People's
Republic of China's men and women to compete.
- Hungary, a country of 9 million inhabitants, won 42 medals
at these games, coming in third place behind the much more populous
United States and Soviet Union.
Golden Team won the football tournament in
style, beating Yugoslavia 2-0 in the
- Germany and Japan were invited after being barred in 1948.
Following the post-war occupation and partition, three German
states had been established. Only West German athletes took part, from
Republic of Germany and the Saarland, which joined the FRG after
1955. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was absent. Though they won
24 medals, the fifth-highest total at the Games, German competitors
failed to win a gold medal for the only time.
- Rules in equestrianism now allowed
non-military officers to compete, including women. Lis Hartel of Denmark became the first woman in the sport to win a
Zátopek of Czechoslovakia won three gold medals in the 5,000m, 10,000m and the
Marathon (which he had never run
- The India national
field hockey team won its fifth consecutive gold
- Bob Mathias of the United States
became the first Olympian to successfully defend his decathlon title with a total score of 7,887
- Josy Barthel of
Luxembourg pulled a major surprise by winning the 1500
Pictured in blue are nations participating for the first
A total of 69 nations participated in these Games, up from 59 in
the 1948 Games
. Twelve nations made
their first Olympic appearance in 1952: The Bahamas, Gold
Coast (now Ghana), Guatemala, Hong
Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands
Antilles, Nigeria, Soviet
Union (USSR), Thailand, and Vietnam.
Due to the division of Germany
, German athletes
entered a separate
team for the only time.
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games.