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Memories of the 1969 World Championship

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11-16-2013, 11:44 PM
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Sentinel
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Memories of the 1969 World Championship

From the memoirs of Eugene Rubin, a special correspondent for the Soviet newspaper "Futbol-Hockey":

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Before the game USSR-Czechoslovakia I was approached by pale Nikolai Ozerov, a Soviet commentator, who showed me a notepad. Moments prior he received a phone call from Moscow and was dictated a list of words that he could not use during the game coverage: "attack," "defense," "battle," "tactics," "defeat," "victory," and so on. All war-like terminology. Ozerov managed, but USSR lost by one goal. Josef Golonka, captain of Team Czechoslovakia came to the Soviet bench, lowered his stick and made a "machine-gun" motion towards the players. The crowd chanted, cried, kissed, and prayed. Even coach Vladimir Kostka, a loyal Party member, said at the press conference that the "game's result far surpasses a mere sport victory." Later I flew on the same plane with the Czech team and saw what happened in Prague: on the entire airfield, as far as the eye could see, there was not a spot of bare land. Hundreds of thousands of people must have shown up to greet their heroes.

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In the Soviet Union the Czech victory also made an impression. Groups of youth wandered around chanting "Tanks won't help you on ice," until most of them were round up by the police.


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