Games of the XV Olympiad
19 July - 3 August 1952
The 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki lasted for 14 days and were beautifully organised in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Fundamental Changes in Equestrian Sport
The 1952 Olympic Games brought some fundamental changes to equestrian sport. Most visible was the change from army officers to civilians. In the 1948 Jumping competition, 41 of the 44 starters were riding in uniform; in 1952 more than half were civilians.
The FEI had made some essential decisions:
- Non commissioned officers, corporals and soldiers were allowed to compete in all three disciplines.
- Women were allowed in Dressage but not in Jumping - the FEI having decided against it in 1951 - and not in Eventing, which the FEI did not even consider. FEI’s decision not to allow women in Jumping forced the USA to drop their sole woman on their squad.
- There would be two rounds in the Jumping competition (Nations Cup).
- Piaffe and passage would again be part of the Dressage test.
Enter the Soviet Union
For the first time since 1912 Russian riders competed – now representing the Soviet Union. They did not stand the slightest chance of winning after 35 years of isolation and total ignorance of modern-day rules and judging principles. But they learned fast: 10 years later a Soviet rider won Olympic Dressage gold, the Soviet Eventing team was European champion and the Soviet Jumping team won the prestigious Nations Cup of Paris.
Games Facts & Figures
- 69 nations
- 4,955 athletes (519 women; 4,436 men)
- 17 sports
- The Soviet Union entered the Olympics for the first time, although their athletes were housed in a separate "village".
- It was also a first for Israel only four years after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.