Kiev’s Republican Stadium


=======================================================
Of the five different arenas used in conjunction with the football tournament of the Games of the XXII Olympiad hosted by Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the impressive REPUBLICAN STADIUM in the Ukrainian S.S.R.’s capital city of KIEV was, beyond all comparison, the sporting venue of the 1980 Summer Olympics that had undergone the most numerous changes to its name over the course of its history.
=======================================================

For the no fewer than the seventh time since the RED STADIUM of TROTSKY first opened fifty-seven years earlier, the football field situated on the slopes of the Cherepanov Hill in the Ukrainian capital city of KIEV was re-christened to celebrate the arrival of the Summer Olympic Games in 1980. The moniker “Central Stadium”, which had been in use since 1962, was jettisoned by the powers that be in favor of a return to traditional roots. The site had first been designated as the REPUBLICAN STADIUM in 1936, the very same year that saw local tenant Dynamo Kiev finish second in the first-ever all-U.S.S.R. league football championship.

Work on increasing the capacity to 50,000 spectators at the ground was begun in the late 1930s and, in 1941, the facility was finished and now re-titled the Republican Stadium of Khrushchev in honor of the contemporary leader of the Ukrainian communist party (Nikita) who would, one day, become the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as well as Premier of the entire U.S.S.R., itself. But not before the Great Patriotic War and the Nazi occupation both had arrived in the summer of 1941, after which time the home field of Dynamo Kiev was abruptly re-named the All-Ukrainian Stadium. Of course, that would be rescinded in early 1944 after victory was achieved on the battlefield the previous fall.

Almost needless to say, the liberated Republican Stadium of Khrushchev had suffered extensive damage during the Second World War and required major repair work, which would come in the years to follow.

===================================================

===================================================
The main facade of the REPLUBLICAN STADIUM OF KHRUSHCHEV was completed in 1954, as were the iconic columns (not pictured here) in the courtyard outside the football ground of Dynamo Kiev (white shirts, dark shorts running out onto the pitch); a more modernized scoreboard, featuring a contemporary-styled stadium clock and electric lights, would not arrive for another two years.
=======================================================

=======================================================
A shot of what was then still known as the REPUBLICAN STADIUM of KHRUSHCHEV in Kiev taken in 1961 — the same year that the Ukrainian capital city club, DYNAMO KIEV, won the very first of what would ultimately be a total of 13 league championships in the U.S.S.R.’s top flight.
=======================================================

=======================================================
The CENTRAL STADIUM of KIEV underwent a major renovation in 1967 with the addition of a second tier and, in doing so, increased the arena’s capacity to an official figure of 100,000 spectators; this development left the home ground of Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian capital city amongst the largest football stadiums in all Europe — just behind the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium in Moscow while level with Leipzig’s humongous Zentralstadion in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik.
=======================================================

Kiev became only the third city (after Leningrad and Tbilisi) in the U.S.S.R., up to that point in history, other than Moscow to ever host the national team of the Soviet Union when the Central Stadium staged its first full international match in mid-October of 1969. A noteworthy crowd of 71,115 spectators dutifully turned out to see the home side dispatch visiting Turkey 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying match, then. After Dynamo Kiev boss VALERY LOBANOVSKY was appointed trainer of the national team in the mid-1970s, the U.S.S.R. hosted all four of its qualification matches for the 1976 UEFA European Championships at the Central Stadium in Kiev.

Prior to the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, the record attendance of for a Soviet Union national team match at the Central Stadium in the Ukranian capital city had been the total of 84,480 speactators who saw the U.S.S.R., on the strength of goals from Dynamo Kiev players OLEG BLOKHIN and VIKTOR KOLOTOV, upend the incoming Republic of Ireland 2-1 in a European Championships qualifier in May of 1975.

In 1977, the Central Stadium was actually closed for a spell as the facility underwent yet another major renovation, this time in advance of the Summer Olympic Games to be held in the Soviet Union. The drainage system for the field playing surface was completely overhauled and a new pitch laid while four new lightning poles, each 82 meters high, were installed, as well. In 1980, the Central Stadium name was shelved in Kiev and subsequently replaced with the historical “Republican Stadium” label.

==================================================

==================================================
A shot taken during the 1980 Summer Olympic Games hosted by the U.S.S.R. shows the recently-installed, towering light fixtures as well as the iconic columns that great visitors to the massive REPUBLICAN STADIUM in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev; the Olympic football program at the Republican Stadium included six round-robin matches (three games each in Groups C and D) as well as one quarterfinal contest (featuring the defending Olympic gold medalists from East Germany).

Comments Off on Kiev’s Republican Stadium

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments are closed.