kozakiewicz

In Poland, the Bras d'honneur became known as “Kozakiewicz’s gesture” (gest Kozakiewicza). Kozakiewicz made the gesture on 30 July 1980 to Russian spectators in the stadium during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The crowd supporting Soviet jumper Konstantin Volkov booed, hissed, jeered, and whistled during Kozakiewicz’s spectacular performance. Having just secured his gold medal position, Kozakiewicz made the gesture in defiance to the Soviet crowd. He later confirmed his dominance over the competition by breaking the world record, clearing at 5.78 meters.

The photos of this incident circled the globe, with the exception of the Soviet Union and its satellites. While international observers varied in their reaction to the incident, Kozakiewicz’s act received much support in Polish society, which resented Soviet control over Eastern Europe (Poland was in the midst of labor strikes that led to the creation of the labor union Solidarity less than two months later). After the 1980 Olympics ended, the Soviet ambassador to Poland demanded that Kozakiewicz be stripped of his medal over his “insult to the Soviet people”.The official response of the Polish government was that Kozakiewicz’s arm gesture had been an involuntary muscle spasm caused by his exertion.