The 1972 Munich Olympic Games started on August 26 and ended September 10th. What started out like an outstanding Olympic Games would be one marred by the worst of events.
Munich won the right to hold the games over Madrid, Montreal and Detroit. I do not know why Detroit was always placing a bid. I am still scratching my head on that one.
A new record of 7173 athletes, 1058 of them women participated in the games. There were 121 nations taking part, another record. 195 events in 23 different sports, again. records at the time for the Olympic Games.
The newly built Olympic Stadium in Munich hosted the opening ceremony. The President of West Germany Gustav Heinemann declared the games open. The torch was lit by Gunther Zahn.
The big medal winner at the 1972 Munich Games was American swimmer Mark Spitz who won a record 7 medals, adding to the two he won at the Mexico City Games of 1968.
The Soviet gymnastic Olga Korbut was the talk of the games. Her outstanding performances would help popularize the sport.
In one of the great travesties of all times, the United States basketball team after winning 62 games in a row and winning 7 gold medals in a row were ripped off by the officials who gave the Soviet Union two do overs at the end of the game. They finally scored. More on that in a later post.
These were to be the games that celebrated peace, all was going well until September 6th when the Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic village. What happened was covered in a post yesterday by my colleague Quinn Maddux.
The Neanderthal leader of the IOC, Nazi sympathizer Avery Brundage declared the games would go on after the Munich Massacre. After a memorial service was held for the Israeli athletes who murdered, the games did continue. After a 34 hours the games resumed. The damage was done. These will always be remembered for the tragedy that happened.
The final medal count, The Soviet Union led the way with 50 gold and a total of 99 medals, The United States finished second with 33 gold and 94 total. East Germany finished 3rd with 20 gold and 66 total. Coming in fourth was the host country West Germany with 13 gold and 44 total medals and 5th place was Japan with 13 gold and 29 total medals.
It has been 40 years now since the Munich Games. When pressed at this Olympics to honor the murdered Israeli athletes at this years London Games the IOC declined. One has to also wonder will Germany ever be awarded the games again?