Kozakiewicz’s gesture

So I was reading this strange article by Christopher Hitchens (who else?) while I saw this photo.

The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were already mired by controversy even before they opened. The United States led the boycott of 64 other countries in protest of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They instead participated in the Olympic Boycott Games or the “Liberty Bell Classic” in Philadelphia, which opened 3 days before the actual games. Fifteen other countries (mainly European) that participated did so under the Olympic Flag instead of their national flags. The Olympic Flag and Hymn were used at Medal Ceremonies when athletes from these countries won medals. The Soviet television alternately ignored and criticized this.

After setting a new world record on July 30th, Polish pole vaulter Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz made a rude gesture (bras d’honneur) to the hostile, jeering Moscow crowd. The crowd was rooting for Soviet jumper Konstantin Volkov. The image was seen around the world except ironically in the Soviet Union and its satellite states. To many, it signified Polish resentment of Russia’s control over Eastern Europe; in Poland, the gesture became immediately known as Kozakiewicz’s gesture. (gest Kozakiewicza).

After the Olympics, the Soviet ambassador to Poland demanded that Kozakiewicz be stripped of his medal over his “insult to the Soviet people”. The official response of the Polish government was that the gesture had been an involuntary muscle spasm caused by his exertion. Kozakiewicz for his part promptly defected to West Germany.

16 thoughts on “Kozakiewicz’s gesture”

    1. You are either an idiot or completely ignorant of World’s history and geopolitics. The Russian occupation of Afghanistan has NOTHING in common with what the US is trying to do there now.

      1. You’re such an innocent, they’re looking for terrorists, bah!! I wish you return here to read this bullshit. hahah US “occupies” Vietnam at that time, as also killed Chile president and supported series of dictatorship in all of South America which killed thousand of people.

        You suppose to be very good in World’s history and geopolitics wrote by your own government, as the invasion of Iraq. Poor little mind.

    2. US invasion of Afghanistan has UN approval which means it has much stronger international support and even RUSSIA approved of it. The Soviet invasion was completely illegal and Soviets bled to the point where the whole USSR collapsed.

  1. the Kozakiewicz’s gesture (as far as i know) is/was regarded as a protest not only in the Afghanistan case… but – as in the article – against Soviet Union politics of controlling countries of the Eastern Europe.
    motion picture: http://www.sportwizja.pl/film/4127/gest-kozakiewicza—olimpiada-moskwa-1980/

    sad is the story ending: in 2007 there was an advertisement in Polish tv with Mr Kozakiewicz making his famous gesture. you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng4oCTVa9XA
    greetings from PL.

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