Archive for 1968 OG Grenoble

Grenoble ’68 : Solitary East-West Struggle

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Action from the only Olympic ice hockey meeting ever between the two Germanys, East and West.

The East Germans occasionally wore red as as opposed to their customary blue when assigned the dark jerseys in international competition. 

Perhaps as a symbol of solidarity with their communist brethren from the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic appeared in their alternate uniforms for the final day game with the Federal Republic of Germany at the Grenoble Games in 1968.

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Although the two sides had played several times prior to contest Olympic participation in addition to regular meetings at the annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Championshps, as in the case of soccer’s World Cup, there was only ever one match between East and West Germany at the Winter Olympics.

The two nations, who did not formally recognize each other’s existance politically, met on the last day of competition at the Winter Olympics in 1968.

Always a big deal to the boys down at the propaganda ministries competing for hearts and minds, the meeting in the French Alps took on added significance for both East and West as a battle to avoid the basement at the ice hockey tournament of the Grenoble Games.

Each team stepped onto the ice at LE STADE DE GLACE having lost their first six games of the 1968 Olympics. The West Germans had been outscored 37-9 while the East Germans racked up a deficit of 44 goals conceded versus eleven goals scored.

Momentum might have been on the side of East Germany, who had decisively defeated the Federal Republic 8-1 at the 1967 IIHF World Championships in Vienna.

It was the Federal Republic, however, who registered the only goal of the first period in Grenoble and built a 3-1 lead after two periods. The East Germans, in an effort to stimulate the squad, changed goaltenders for the third period. To no avail as it turned out; each team added another goal and West Germany, who held a 31-21 shot-on-goal advantage, skated off 4-2 winners.

LORENZ FUNK, GUSTAV HANIG, PETER LAX and LEONHARD WAITL were the West German goal-scorers — LOTHAR FUCHS and BERND HILLER replied for East Germany in the historic match.

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West German Fashion In France

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WEST GERMANY, wearing white shirts and black pants, desperately defend against the attacking SOVIET UNION in their traditional all-red attire at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France.

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The photo at the top of the page best exhibits the crossed-flags of West Germany and the Olympic movement that adorned the shoulders of the Federal Republic’s jerseys at the 1968 Winter Games in France.

The national flag, with the Olympic rings inside, was also used for a crest emblem on the West German sweaters at Grenoble.

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Konovalenko Completes Olympic Career

Goaltender VIKTOR KONOVALENKO was a rarity among USSR internationals in that he did not play for a Moscow-based club at some point. Konovalenko spent his entire career in the Soviet elite league tending the nets for his hometown Torpedo Gorky.

Goaltender VIKTOR KONOVALENKO was a rarity among USSR internationals in that he did not play for a Moscow-based club at some point. Konovalenko spent his entire career in the Soviet elite league tending the nets for his hometown Torpedo Gorky.

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The final four seconds tick of the clock at LE STADE DE GLACE in the French Alps. Shortly, the Soviet Union will repeat as Olympic champions at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble.

With the contest’s conclusion, the whole of the Soviet squad rush to congratulate USSR goaltender VIKTOR KONOVALENKO. Konovalenko stopped 25 shots in the 5-0 victory over Canada in the tournament’s final match. In keeping with a Russian tradition, the Soviet skaters surround the two-time Olympic champion goaltender and toss him into the air :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k70SxeBJhPg&feature=related.

Konovalenko had been beaten for five goals by Czechoslovakia in the Soviets’ preceding match, which the USSR lost to their Warsaw Pact rivals. The Czechoslovaks, however, could only muster a 2-2 draw with Sweden on the final day of play at Grenoble.  This left the the door open for the Soviet Union to claim the gold medal with a victory over Canada.

Konovalenko and the Soviets gratefully made the most of their second chance.

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Heaviest Defeat Of Cold War

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The leadership of the old USSR never made any bones about the fact that sport was one means by which to advance political ideology. Ice hockey was, of course, included in this thinking process. Naturally, triumph over the United States was particularly satisfying to the Soviets.

It was in the French Alps that the United States suffered their heaviest hockey defeat of the Cold War at the hands of the superpower rivals.

In part fueled by a hat trick from ANATOLI FIRSOV, the Soviets squashed the Americans 10-2 at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France.

Firsov’s CSKA Moscow linemate, VIKTOR POLUPANOV, and Spartak Moscow defenseman VIKTOR BLINOV both added a pair of goals for the USSR.

Spartak’s VYACHESLAV STARSHINOV as well as the CSKA pair of YURI MOISEEV and defenseman VIKTOR KUZKIN completed the scoring for the Soviets in the noteworthy match for propaganda rights.

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Grenoble ’68 : Firsov Finishes Canada

ANATOLI FIRSOV (11) scores a spectacular goal, his second of the game, as the USSR shutout Canada 5-0 in the final match of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games at Grenoble, France.

ANATOLI FIRSOV (11) scores a spectacular goal, his second of the game, as the USSR shutout Canada 5-0 in the final match of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games at Grenoble, France.

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As lightning-fast a piece of fakery if not as skillful a piece of stickwork as can be found.

Receiving the feed from center VIKTOR POLUPANOV (17) on the forehand to the left of the Canadian goal, the right-handed shooting ANATOLI FIRSOV (11) and his backhand-to-forehand trick completely befuddles Maple Leafed goaltender KEN BRODERICK.

With Broderick literally frozen stiff, the Soviet legend returns to the backhand in the blink of an eye and buries the puck in the back of the net for the game’s final goal as the USSR blank Canada 5-0 on the final day of the ice hockey competition at the 1968 Winter Olympics :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf56X2NT1Ug

Both Canada and the Soviet Union had come into the very last match of the ’68 Grenoble Games sporting records of five wins and one loss for ten points. Czechoslovakia, perhaps emotionally exhausted following their 5-4 upset of the USSR in their last match, could only draw 2-2 with Sweden in their end game and, thus, finished with 11 points (5 W, 1 L, 1 T). This development turned the Canada – Soviet Union finale into the de facto Gold Medal Game.

Firsov, who ended up the on top with 12 goals at Grenoble and earned both a media All-Star selection as well as the award for Best Forward given by the International Ice Hockey Federation Directorate, wasted little time stamping his authority on the match with Canada.

After Soviet winger VLADIMIR VIKULOV (12), who led all players at the Grenoble Games with 10 assists, busts a move at the Canadian blueline and storms down the right to center the puck, it is Firsov who appears in the slot to one-time the puck past the hapless Broderick with a snap-shot :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pCukYr0HpA&feature=related

EVGENY MISHAKOV, VYACHESLAV STARSHINOV and EVGENY ZIMIN accounted for the other Soviet scores in between Firsov’s book-end goals against Canada at Grenoble, for the record.

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Grenoble ’68 : Firsov Was Fearsome

ANATOLI FIRSOV (falling, center) fires a shot into the pads of Finland goaltender URPO YLONEN at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. As the scoreboard in the background indicates, a little over seven minutes have been played (Olympic hockey clocks count time up, not down as in the NHL) in the first period with the Soviets already leading 3-0. On the opening day of the final round-robin, the Soviet Union defeated Finland 8-0 with Firsov scoring once.

ANATOLI FIRSOV (falling, center) fires a shot into the pads of Finland goaltender URPO YLONEN at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. As the scoreboard in the background indicates, a little over seven minutes have been played (Olympic hockey clocks count time up, not down as in the NHL) in the first period with the Soviets already leading 3-0. On the opening day of the final round-robin, the Soviet Union defeated Finland 8-0 with Firsov scoring once.

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VLADIMIR ZABRODSKY of Czechoslovakia racked up an astonishing 27 goals in just seven games at the 1948 Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The Czechoslovak captain’s scoring remarkable scoring feat was, however, accomplished in an era prior to that of modern international ice hockey. The contemporary era, in all earnest, commenced when the Soviet Union began sending teams to international tournaments in 1954. Perhaps it is appropriate then that the modern record total for most goals at an Olympic finals should be held by a Soviet player.

More than 40 years have passed since ANATOLI FIRSOV amassed 12 goals in seven games for the USSR at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble. Fellow Soviets VYACHESLAV STARSHINOV and VIKTOR POLUPANOV, Firsov’s linemate, each scored six goals that winter in France. But the closest player from another country, VACLAV NEDOMANSKY of Czechoslovakia, finished with less than half Firsov’s haul on five lamp-lighters.

Included in Firsov’s dozen were a pair of hat tricks registered against East Germany and the United States, respectively, as well as the two important tallies on the tournament’s final day as the Soviet Union shut out Canada 5-0 and clinched the gold medal.

Firsov ended with 16 points to lead all players, as well, in Grenoble. Rightly so, the 27-year-old CSKA Moscow left wing was selected to the media All-Star team. Even more deservedly, Firsov was named the top forward for the tournament by the International Ice Hockey Federation Directorate.

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ANATOLI FIRSOV came to Grenoble having already won the award for top forward at the 1967 IIHF World Championships in Vienna, Austria. Firsov was also selected to the that tournament’s All-Star squad, beginning a four-year streak for that honor lasting thru the 1970 IIHF WC event in Stockholm, Sweden. Firsov also collected an unprecedented third top forward award at the 1971 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland.

In his career, Firsov represented the Soviet Union at the Winter Games three times and contested 20 Olympic games, scoring 20 goals and adding 12 assists for 32 points.

At the Sapporo Games in 1972, Firsov and Soviet teammates VITALY DAVYDOV, VIKTOR KUZKIN and ALEXANDER RAGULIN became the very first ice hockey players in the history of the world to win a third Olympic gold medal.

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