1972 Summer Olympics
Learn more about 1972 Summer Olympics
|Games of the XX Olympiad|
|Host city||Munich, West Germany|
|Athletes participating||7124 (6075 men, 1059 women)|
|Events||195 in 23 sports|
|Opening ceremony||26 August 1972|
|Closing ceremony||11 September 1972|
|Officially opened by||Gustav Heinemann|
|Athlete's Oath||Heidi Schüller|
|Judge's Oath||Heinz Pollay|
|Olympic Torch||Günther Zahn|
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were held in Munich, West Germany, from 26 August to 11 September 1972. Munich won its Olympic bid in July 1966 over the cities of Detroit, Madrid and Montreal.
The 1972 Summer Olympics were the second Summer Olympics held in Germany, after the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. The Munich Olympics were intended to present a new, democratic and optimistic Germany to the world, as shown by its official motto, "the Happy Games." The emblem of the Games was a blue solar logo (the "Bright Sun"). The Olympic mascot, the dachshund "Waldi," was the first officially named Olympic mascot. The games also saw the introduction of the now universal sports pictograms designed by Otl Aicher.
The Olympic Park (Olympiapark) is based on Frei Otto's plans and after the Games became a Munich landmark. The competition sites, designed by architect Günther Behnisch, included the Olympic swimming hall, the Olympics Hall (Olympiahalle, a multipurpose facility) and the Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion), and an Olympic village very close to the park. The design of the stadium was considered revolutionary, with sweeping canopies of plexiglass stabilized by metal ropes, used on such a large scale for the first time.
The games were marred by an act known as the Munich massacre. On 5 September Palestinian terrorists from the Black September terrorist group held 11 Israeli athletes hostage in their apartment in the Olympic village for almost 18 hours. During a failed rescue attempt at the military airport of Fürstenfeldbruck all the Israeli hostages were massacred by their captors and all but three of the terrorists were killed. All Olympic events were briefly suspended but Avery Brundage, the International Olympic Committee president, decided that "the Games must go on" and they were continued a day later. The events of the Munich massacre were chronicled in the Oscar-winning documentary, One Day in September, and a fictional account of the aftermath was dramatized in Steven Spielberg's 2005 film Munich. The massacre led Germany to realize the inadequacy of its approach to combat terror, and create the elite counter-terrorist unit GSG 9 to address future incidents. It also led Israel to launch an aggressive counterterrorism campaign known as Operation Wrath of God. The attack prompted heightened security at future Olympics, beginning with the 1976 Winter Olympics, and increased at the 2002 Winter Olympics due to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
 Notable Events
- Mark Spitz, a swimmer from the United States, set a world record when he won seven gold medals (while on the way to setting a new world record for each of his seven gold medals) in a single Olympics, bringing his lifetime total to nine (he had won two golds in Mexico City's Games four years earlier). As a Jew, Spitz was forced to leave Munich before the closing ceremonies for his own protection, after fears arose that he would be an additional target of those responsible for the Munich massacre.
- Olga Korbut, a tiny Soviet gymnast, became a media star after winning a gold medal in the team competition event, failing to win in the individual all-around after a fall (she was beaten by Lyudmilla Turischeva), and finally winning two gold medals in the Balance Beam and the floor exercise events.
- In basketball, the United States' Olympic winning streak, which started in 1936, was ended by the Soviet team's victory in the gold medal game, which USA Basketball calls "the most controversial game in international basketball history" . Doug Collins made two free throws with three seconds left to give the USA a 50-49 lead, despite the horn going off in the middle of his second attempt. The Soviets failed to score on the ensuing possession, but the clock was stopped at 0:01 after one official heard the earlier horn and the Soviets were frantically urging time-out. The clock was reset to three seconds and play began again. Again, the Soviets failed to score, time apparently expired, and the United States began celebrating, with ABC displaying the 50-49 margin as "final". However, after the vehement protests of FIBA secretary general R. William Jones of Great Britain, the referees determined to add three seconds back to the clock due to error in re-starting the timer, even though Jones had no authority to intervene in an Olympic game. The extra three seconds allowed the Soviet Union to have one more chance. The Soviets threw the ball downcourt, and Aleksander Belov made a lay-up as time expired for the final margin of 51-50. A U.S. protest, filed after the match, was denied by FIBA, which voted 3-2 against the protest along Cold War lines (Italy and Puerto Rico voted for; Hungary, Poland, and Cuba voted against). The Soviet athletes were awarded gold medals. The U.S. team voted unanimously to refuse the silver medal and to this day have not accepted them. They remain in a vault in Lausanne, Switzerland. USA team captain Kenny Davis even has written in his will that his wife and children can never accept the silver medal. The end of the USA-USSR gold medal game remains one of the most controversial events in Olympic history and has been the subject of numerous film and television specials, including HBO's documentary 0:03 from Gold.
- Lasse Virén of Finland won the 5,000 and 10,000 m (the latter after a fall), a feat he would repeat in the 1976 Summer Olympics. The late United States middle-distance legend Steve Prefontaine finished a disappointing fourth in the 5,000 m after swapping the lead multiple times with the victorious Virén
- Valeri Borzov won both the 100 m and 200 m in track and field. The top two US sprinters and medal favorites in the 100 m, Rey Robinson and Eddie Hayes, won their first rounds. But they were given the wrong starting time for the next round by their coach and missed the race, eliminating them.
- Also in track and field, two black American 400-m runners, Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett, acted casually on the medal stand, twirling their medals (gold and silver, respectively) and joking with one another as "The Star-Spangled Banner" was being played during the award ceremony. They were banned from the Olympics for life, as were Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 Summer Olympics.
- Dave Wottle won the AAU 800m title before equalling the world record over 800m of 1:44.3 at the US Olympic Trials. In the Olympic 800m final, Wottle immediately dropped to the rear of the field, and stayed there for the first 600m, at which point he started to pass runner after runner up the final straightaway, finally grabbing the lead in the final metres to win by just 0.03 seconds. This gained him the nickname of "The Head Waiter". At the victory ceremony, Wottle unconsciously forgot to remove his golf cap. This was interpreted by some as a form of protest, but Wottle later apologized.
- Australian swimmer Shane Gould won three gold medals and two silvers at the age of 15.
- Handball (last held in 1936) and Archery (last held in 1920) returned as Olympic sports after a long absence.
- Slalom canoeing was held for the first time at the Olympics.
- Dan Gable won the gold medal in wrestling without having a single point scored against him.
- Wim Ruska became the first judoka to win two gold medals.
- For the first time, the Olympic Oath was taken by a representative of the referees.
- On 11 September a small plane was stolen in Stuttgart and authorities received information that Arab terrorists were planning to drop a bomb on the final ceremonies. IOC officials and Chancellor Willy Brandt, who were attending the ceremonies, were informed. Defense minister Georg Leber had two fighter planes follow the stolen plane, with the intent of shooting it down should it approach Munich. Radar contact to the plane was lost. A short while later, radar contact to an unknown plane was established, but it turned out to be a civilian passenger aircraft. The stolen plane was never found.
- Badminton and water skiing were the demo sports.
- Munich Olympic Park (Olympiapark)
- Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion) - opening/closing ceremonies, athletics, football/soccer, modern pentathlon, memorial service for Israeli athletes
- Boxing Hall (Boxhalle) - boxing, judo
- Cycling Stadium (Radstadion) - cycling
- Olympic Sports Hall (Sporthalle) - gymnastics, handball
- Hockey Facility (Hockeyanlange) - hockey
- Swimming Hall (Schwimmhalle) - swimming, diving, water polo
- Volleyball Hall (Volleyballhalle) - volleyball
- Olympic Village (Olympisches Dorf)
- Venues in Greater Munich
- Regatta Course (Regattastrecke), Oberschleißheim - rowing
- Basketball Hall (Basketballhalle), Siegenburger Straße - basketball, judo
- Fairgrounds, Fencing Hall 1 (Messegelände, Fechthalle 1) - fencing
- Fairgrounds, Fencing Hall 2 (Messegelände, Fechthalle 1) - fencing
- Fairgrounds, Weightlifting Hall (Messegelände, Gewichtheberhalle) - weightlifting
- Fairgrounds, Judo and Wrestling Hall (Messegelände, Judo- und Ringerhalle) - judo, wrestling
- Dante Swimming Pool (Dantebad) - water polo
- Shooting Facility (Schießanglange), Hochbrück - shooting
- Archery Facility (Bogenschießanlange), Englischer Garten - archery
- Riding Facility, Riem - equestrian events
- Dressage Facility Nymphenburg - equestrian events
- Other Venues
- Olympic Yachting Center, Kiel-Schilksee - water skiing, yachting
- Nürnberg - football/soccer preliminaries
- Regensburg - football/soccer preliminaries
- Passau - football/soccer preliminaries
- Ingolstadt - football/soccer preliminaries
- Augsburg - canoeing, football/soccer preliminaries, handball preliminaries
- Ulm - handball preliminaries
- Göppingen - handball preliminaries
- Böblingen - handball preliminaries
 Medals awarded
See the medal winners, ordered by sport:
 Medal count
These are the top ten nations that won medals at these Games.
|1||Image:Flag of the Soviet Union.svg USSR||50||27||22||99|
|2||Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States||33||31||30||94|
|3||Image:Flag of East Germany.svg East Germany (GDR)||20||23||23||66|
|4||Image:Flag of Germany.svg West Germany (FRG) (host nation)||13||11||16||40|
|5||Image:Flag of Japan (bordered).svg Japan||13||8||8||29|
|6||Image:Flag of Australia.svg Australia||8||7||2||17|
|7||Image:Flag of Poland (bordered).svg Poland||7||5||9||21|
|8||Image:Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary||6||13||16||35|
|9||Image:Flag of Bulgaria 1971-1990.png Bulgaria||6||10||5||21|
|10||Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy||5||3||10||18|
 Participating nations
Articles about Munich Summer Olympics by nation:
 See also
 Olympics with significant criminal incidents
- 1972 Summer Olympics – Munich, Bavaria, West Germany — Munich massacre
- 1996 Summer Olympics – Atlanta, Georgia, USA — Centennial Olympic Park bombing
 External links
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
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| Sports • Medal counts • NOCs|
Medalists • Symbols
| Summer Games: 1896, 1900, 1904, 19061, 1908, 1912, (1916)2, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, (1940)2, (1944)2, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024|
|Winter Games: 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, (1940)2, (1944)2, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022|
|Athens 2004 — Turin 2006 — Beijing 2008 — Vancouver 2010 — London 2012|
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