During the post Second World War years, a number of athletes defected from the newly established Communist regimes of Eastern Europe. Many of these exiled athletes wanted to compete in the Olympic games, but the rules of the Olympic Charter stipulated that they could not. As such, this study examines how the International Olympic Committee negotiated the persistent efforts of exiles to change the organization’s eligibility rules. This campaign eventually achieved some success in 1964, when the International Olympic Committee enacted changes to its Charter that allowed individuals to compete at the games for a second country of citizenship after a period of naturalization. Crucially, this issue also casts further light on the complicated role of sport in the Soviet bloc and the challenges it posed for the Olympic Movement.

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