The East Germany v Soviet Union semi-final match during the Montreal Olympics of 1976 were too good an opportunity for twenty year old Ukrainian-Canadian Danylo Hybral to miss.
Danylo bought himself a ticket for the game, took his seat among the 58,000 strong audience and waited for just the right moment.
The Soviet Union team at that time was dominated by players from Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv, which added to the symbolism of what was to come.
In the second half, with the score level at 0-0, Danylo took his chance and ran onto the pitch, waving the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine. Shouting “Freedom for Ukraine!” he gave a rendition of the Hopak Cossack dance before the police arrived and led him away.
And here’s a video:
The match ended 2-1 to East Germany, who went on to beat Poland 3-1 in the final. As for the Soviet Union side, the Ukrainian Weekly (Sept 76) reported that:
All three coaches of the Soviet Union team…Valeriy Lobanovsky, Oleh Bazylevych and Yury Morozov were “relieved of their duties” as coaches of the USSR’s national team by the Soviet Sports Committee on the recommendation of the presidium of the national soccer federation. The presidium said that “the players and coaches failed to meet the tasks placed before them,” resulting in what it deemed a below par performance.
Of Danylo Hybral I can find no trace on the internet. He would be in his 60s by now and I hope he enjoys showing the video of his dance to his grandchildren.
Here’s the match in full if you really want to watch it: