RCW: A Look Back 3.32

This week, let’s take A Look Back at an artifact related to a historic event at the Kansas Relays: a Soviet Union flag.

Thirty-four years ago, on April 19, 1983, a delegation of Soviet athletes arrived in Lawrence to participate in the Kansas Relays at the invitation of an organization called Athletes United for Peace.  They wanted to use the Relays to promote nonviolent competition between the two nations during a time of mounting tensions. The Soviet Union sent its most accomplished athletes, including Olympic medalists and world-record holders.  The Soviets won every event they entered, setting seven meet records (three of which still stand).

The flag featured in this article flew at Memorial Stadium for the duration of the meet, after which it was taken down and put into the box it remains inside to this day. It was recently returned to the Kansas Athletics collection, and is currently on exhibit at Rock Chalk Park.
Soviet Athlete Event Results (Event, Athlete, Winning Mark, [if a record, when record was beaten])

  1. Decathlon, Grigory Degtyarev, 8,252 points* (previous record was 8,240 points; record was broken by Steve Fritz at 8,380 points in 1997)
  2. Two-Mile Relay (women), Veselkova, Raldugina, Mineeva, Olizarenko, 8:49.06
  3. 800-meter run (women), Nadezhda Olizarenko, 2:06.87
  4. Shot Put (men), Janis Bojars, 20.92 (68′ 7 ¾”)* (previous record was 67′ 2 ½”; record was broken by Kevin Toth at 68′ 8″ in 1993)
  5. Triple Jump (men), Nikolai Musiyenko, 17.00 (55′ 9 ¼”)* (previous record was 55′ 4 ½”; record was broken by Kenny Harrison at 55′ 11″ in 1986)
  6. Pole Vault (men), Alexander Krupsky, 5.59 (18′ 4″)* (previous record was 17′ 8″; record was broken by Steve Stubblefield at 18′ 4 ½” in 1984)
  7. Hammer Throw, Yuri Tamm, 74.42m (244′ 2″)* (previous record was 222-8; RECORD STILL STANDS)
  8. 1,500-meter run (women), Nadezhda Raldugina, 4:08.94* (previous record was 4:20.4; RECORD STILL STANDS)
  9. 3,000-meter run (women), Svetlana Ulmasova, 9:13.50* (previous record was 9:15.1; RECORD STILL STANDS, but event no longer competed as of 2014 Kansas Relays)