The death of 21 people due to chewing gum – the 1975 tragedy in Moscow

Ordinary “Wrigley’s” chews, which cost a cent in the store, caused the death of 21 people on March 10, 1975 in Moscow, in the Sokolniki arena. On that day, a match took place in the arena between the USSR junior hockey team and the Canadian youth team “Barrie Colts”, which at the end of the game and after the game began to throw packets of chewing gum in the stands. The spectators, mostly schoolchildren, who came to the game rushed to catch chewing gum, and the mess turned into chaos, which ended in the deaths of several people.

Until the 1980s, chewing gum was a virtually unattainable treat for Soviet children. He was more lucky Moscow and the inhabitants of the port cities of the USSR, because there was a greater opportunity to meet foreigners, from whom it was possible to run out or change chews. Several Latvians in exile also remember that one of the first things they encountered when traveling to Moscow through the streets of the USSR capital was chewing children, who quickly recognized foreigners in clothing and rushed to them in tourist favorite places.

Neither the stories of Soviet teachers that chewing gum causes gastritis and intestinal obstruction helped, nor the horror stories written by pioneer leaders that razors were hidden in the chewing gums shared by foreigners, or that the delicacy itself was poisoned. The Soviet children tried their best to get the “forbidden fruit”, and this reason played a major role in the spring of 1975 in the Sokolniki arena.

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In early 1975 Canadian Ontario’s youth hockey team “Barrie Colts” went on tour to the USSR and was looking for a sponsor, writes the portal “Eurosport”.

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