The Munich silver medalist in the individual pentathlon competitions was approaching the Montreal games as the top seed. He also brought Germany’s top award, but he got it in a team tournament. Boris Onishchenko dreamed of personal gold, which he had already lost once, and in the last form – cross-country. Boris’s desire became an obsession, and he began looking for ways to gain an irrevocable advantage by entering racing distance.
Such a “loophole” was found in fencing. Engineering education came to the aid of Onishchenko. Now his sword was equipped with a button, pressing which caused the closure of the electrical circuit necessary to register the injection. He remained to test the invention in action. And the representative tournament in London, which brought together almost all the strongest pentathletes in Europe, came in handy.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
For the invention – five, for the subject – unsuccessful
Boris almost got caught there, and if the judges had guessed to study his weapons even then, he would not have flown to any Montreal. British team leader Jeremy Fox seemed doubtful of some of the injections reported in fencing bouts involving Onishchenko, and went to watch the videos. In one situation, the “mistake” of the shot-fixing system was so obvious that Fox went to the judges. Then Onishchenko got away with it: the mistakenly counted injection was written off as faulty equipment. And Boris felt that he could get away with it in Montreal.
But in Canada, the Soviet team and Onishchenko personally have already been observed. Firstly, the same British are the main competitors in the team tournament. Thunder struck during the duel of Onishchenko with the same Fox. In one of the episodes, Jeremy competently evaded Boris’s attack, but the light that fixed the injection of the Soviet athlete lit up. Video playback showed that Boris’s sword passed at least four inches from the Briton’s body. The judges ordered a gun for inspection and found the same awkwardly concealed button. Onishchenko received another sword and with it he won all the remaining matches of the fencing part of the competition. But the scandal was already inevitable. Boris was expelled from the Olympic village in disgrace and disqualified for life, the Soviet team was also removed from the competition – our athletes were only allowed to compete in individual competitions.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
Crime and Punishment
At home, Onishchenko was waiting for the most severe “interrogation”. He was expelled from the party, deprived of the title of Honored Master of Sports and military rank (Boris played for Dynamo). And abroad they began to call him none other than Dishonishenko (from dishonor – dishonor). After that, a variety of rumors and assumptions circulated about the fate of the disgraced former pentathlete, up to the fact that he was exiled to Siberia or shot. In fact, Onishchenko quietly worked as a coach at the Atlet sports base in kyiv, retiring only more than thirty years after the Montreal embarrassment. In September, Boris Grigorievich will be 86 years old. He does not communicate with journalists, does not want to remember that long-standing story that made him a household name abroad and in which, if you call things by his name, only he himself is to blame.