Sologubov Stopped By

An artist's rendition of USSR defenseman NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV

An artist's rendition of USSR defenseman NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV


Trailing by a goal with but twenty minutes to play in their final match against Czechoslovakia at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, coach JACK RILEY’s United States squad greeted an intriguing guest between periods at Squaw Valley.

The captain of the USSR national team, NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV, arrived and, unable to speak English, began to employ hand signals in an effort to provide aid to the Americans. The 35-year-old CSKA Moscow man was suggesting that the U.S. skaters, in the altitude of the northeastern California mountains, should take oxygen. Although at first unable to understand, the Americans ultimately were able to secure an oxygen tank and accept Sologubov’s advice.

The United States, suitably refreshed, stormed back with six unanswered third period goals to down the Czechoslovaks, who took no oxygen, 9-4.

Some say Sologubov appeared in the spirit of goodwill and sportsmanship that is part of the Olympic ideal.

Not to discredit the Soviet captain, but the theory is shaky at best. The USSR, standing on five points, were set to play a powerful Canada later in the day. Meanwhile, the Czechoslovaks, having four points, could have moved ahead of the Soviet Union with a victory over the United States.

Ultimately, both Eastern European rivals lost on the final day — this left the USSR with the set of bronze medals.


If VYACHESLAV FETISOV was the Soviet answer to BOBBY ORR, then NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV, if not quite as rough, was certainly the USSR’s version of EDDIE SHORE.

The original offensive threat from the Soviet blueline, Sologubov (5 ga, 1 go 8 as, 9 pts) earned his third career selection for Best Defenseman by the International Ice Hockey Federation Directorate at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley for the bronze medalist from the Soviet Union.

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