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Cold War GamesPropaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign Policy$
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Toby C. Rider

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040238

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040238.001.0001

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The Union of Free Eastern European Sportsmen

The Union of Free Eastern European Sportsmen

(p.67) 4 The Union of Free Eastern European Sportsmen
Cold War Games

Toby C. Rider

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers the U.S. propaganda's use of defecting athletes in revealing a negative side of life behind the Iron Curtain. After all, no propagandist could say it better than someone who had lived under communist rule—for although athletes from Eastern Europe could be symbols of communist supremacy, they could just quite as easily be symbols of its frailty. For this reason, the Hungarian National Sports Federation (HNSF) and the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE) constantly lobbied the IOC to change its rules on the admission of stateless athletes, and from their efforts emerged the Union of Free Eastern European Sportsmen (UFEES). The prospect of a refugee athlete competing against the government of their communist homeland, or even under the flag of a capitalist country, was marvelous propaganda that would seriously damage a communist regime's prestige.

Keywords:   defecting athletes, refugee athletes, Hungarian National Sports Federation, National Committee for a Free Europe, Union of Free Eastern European Sportsmen, stateless athletes

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