The californization of Olympian love : Olga Fikotová and Harold Connolly's cold war romance / Mark Dyreson

Dyreson, Mark

At the height of the Cold War, as nuclear Armageddon between the Western bloc and the Eastern bloc loomed, a ray of hope appeared at the 1956 Olympics. An American gold medallist named Harold Connolly and a Czech gold medallist named Olga Fikotová fell in love. After a whirlwind courtship in front of the world press corps, they married and migrated to the United States, becoming global celebrities. They eventually settled near the golden beaches of California. The narratives about their romance constructed by the media and by the Connollys themselves proclaimed that California dreams could win the Cold War without resort to weapons of mass destruction by employing the engines of mass consumption. From the 1950s through the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, that idea remained endlessly fascinating to the American public and to the advocates of soft-power strategies in Olympic arenas.

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