Political strife marred the opening of the twelfth European Games in Prague on Tuesday (29 August) when the West Germans refused to march in the opening ceremony.
GV Athletes marching during opening ceremony
GV East German team marching (2 shots)
GV British team marching
GV Games flag and athletes at opening ceremony
GV 10,000 metres in progress, Foster takes lead in last lap (3 shots)
GV Foster in lead and being overtaken by Vainio and Ortis on run-in (6 shots)
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Background: Political strife marred the opening of the twelfth European Games in Prague on Tuesday (29 August) when the West Germans refused to march in the opening ceremony.
SYNOPSIS: Thirty thousand people packed to Rosicky Stadium to watch the opening and the first events of the games. But the ceremony did not go as planned. Only the East German marched under their national colours. The West Germans refused to join the opening ceremony after a dispute over whether they would be called the German Federal Republic or simply Germany, Another controversy surrounds these games: Many western European athletes are critical of the lack of testing for steroids -- body-building drugs -- in athletes from Eastern Europe.
But political and medical differences were forgotten as the competition for the first gold medal got underway. It was for the ten thousand metres title. The favourite to take the gold was Brendan Foster of Britain. He held his position among the leaders through the middle distances and as the bell sounded to mark the start of the last lap he made his break; passing Flourib of Rumania and Antipov of the Soviet Union.
But Foster had left it too late to make his break for the line. Within a few seconds Martti Vainio of Finland had overtaken him and as Foster flagged visibly, Italian Venanzio Ortis and Russian Alexander Antipov swept past.
For Vainio it was a triumph. His time of 27 minutes, 31.0 seconds was the third fastest ever recorded and nearly half a minute faster than he had ever run the distance before.