Hear the pole-vaulter who offended the entire Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow explain himself.
#stories from the eastern west
Władysław Kozakiewicz, a pole-vaulter who dominated the event for over a decade, didn’t have much luck during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Despite being a strong favourite, he failed to medal, after his foot broke while taking a warm-up jump. Four years later, he was healthy and ready to make up for the Montreal upset – but there were other adversities to overcome.
The Moscow Olympics was overshadowed by a massive boycott – many Western sports powers had pulled out in condemnation of the Soviet-Afghan War. The overall atmosphere was gruesome and to make things even worse, the judges were doing their best to make sure athletes from the Soviet Union won. And then there was the crowd.... easily 70 000 people, booing, jeering and whistling at every non-Soviet athlete.
Kozakiewicz felt strong and challenged them in the most provocative way possible. If you want to know how it ended, and how far the repercussions of his daring behaviour went, listen to the ARM, the very first episode of Season II of Stories From The Eastern West!
This episode is a Stories From The Eastern West co-production with WBUR’s Only a Game.
Check out their show and episode archive at http://www.wbur.org/onlyagame
[00:54] The Black Power protest
[02:09] Historical Background
[03:10] The strange atmosphere of the Moscow Olympics
[05:57] How the competition rolled out
[08:37] The arm!
[11:24] The aftermath of Kozakiewicz's controversial behaviour
[13:52] Kozakiewicz's struggles with the Polish communist authorities
[16:30] Thanks & credits
Władysław Kozakiewicz / for sharing his story with us and giving us a ride from the train station to his home on the edge of a forest. Władysław Kozakiewicz is a legendary pole-vaulter, an Olympic gold medallist and a world record breaker.
Joachim Ciecierski / for becoming Władysław Kozakiewicz’s English voice. Joachim is a long-time journalist at Radio Poland, Poland’s official international broadcasting station.
DJ Spike & Break Da Funk / for allowing us to use Masztalesz, the funky tune playing during the credits and throughout the bonus episode.
Stories from the Eastern West
podcasts about Poland
- Karen Given (Only a Game): editing
- Wojciech Oleksiak: script, scoring, sound design, mixing
- Nitzan Reisner: host, one-person pep rally
- Adam Zulawski: host, editing