The Soviet Union didn't participate in the Olympics until 1952, so it was obviously a big deal when they first appeared on the world's biggest sporting stage. And figuring out the first Soviet gold medalist was a big deal as well.
On July 20, Maria Gorokhovskaya won the all-around gold in gymnastics, and was primed to become that first Soviet champion. One problem: across town, almost simultaneously, Nina Ponomaryova won the gold in the discus. So who got the fanfares?
Remember, this was not the time of instantaneous news and around-the-clock coverage, so it's not clear if the Soviets actually knew who was first. Whatever the case, Ponomaryova was the one lauded. Gorokhovskaya soon retired from gymnastics and lived a quiet life... until 1990, when she revealed she was Jewish and immigrated to Israel.
You see, no one in the general public knew the truth, but the Soviet sport machine definitely did. Gorokhovskaya's Jewishness prevented her from being considered for the extra honors.
Of course, let's not forget that Gorokhovskaya's lone Olympics didn't end with that lone medal. She added another gold and five silvers to her tally, setting the standard for a single Olympics that no woman has topped since.
Even the Soviets couldn't take that away.