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The Soviet Union was not part of the international sports circuit during the Interwar period. After the Bolshevik October Revolution, the newly formed communist state focused on developing its own political structures, which also affected sports in the Soviet Union. After the Second World War, the policy of isolation was given up and the Soviet sports management targeted the Olympic Games as a platform to demonstrate the superiority of the communist system by planning to win the Olympic medal tally. The Soviets considered fencing a class-hostile, ‘bourgeois sport’ and did not promote it among civilians during the Interwar period. This radically changed as soon as the Soviet political and sports leadership decided to participate in the Helsinki Olympic Summer Games of 1952. The 21 medals that the Olympic fencing competition had to offer became interesting for the medal ranking. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, knowledge and experience in fencing became highly relevant for the USSR. The geopolitical relations had changed after the Second World War; now, the Soviet Union was ruling over Central and Eastern Europe, and Hungary became one of its satellites. Hungary had a long fencing tradition and dominated international and Olympic fencing competitions, especially in saber, during the Interwar period. By the end of 1951, a delegation of Hungarian elite fencers and coaches was brought to Moscow to prepare Soviet fencers for the 1952 Olympic Games. Based on this exchange and its follow-up sessions in the first half of the 1950s, the success of the Soviet fencing team progressed quickly, and in the course of the 1960s, the Soviets took over the Hungarian hegemony in the Olympic discipline of fencing.

Keywords: Hungary, Soviet Union, fencing, Hungarian elite fencers, 1951 Moscow joint Soviet-Hungarian training camp, Olympic Game

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