• Munich 1972

Munich 1972 - Quick Hits

ESPN staff
October 12, 2011
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The Olympic flag flew at half mast in respect of the 11 Israeli athletes who were shot dead by Palestinian terrorists © PA Photos
This Olympics site was built on the spot where British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met Adolf Hitler to sign the Munich Accords in 1938.

A call for respect
The 400 metre gold and silver medalists Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett of the United States were given a hostile reception by the crowd as they adopted a lax attitude on the winners' podium. While the star spangled banner played the two casually chatted to each other. The IOC and the US Olympic federation decided this was a serious enough offence to exclude them from taking part in any future Olympic events.

Brothers in arms
In the freestyle wrestling event, Americans John and Ben Peterson both collected an impressive haul of medals over the course of two Olympiads. In Munich, Ben became the light-heavyweight champion while John, his elder brother, was a silver medallist in the middleweight division. At Montreal however the brothers changed places. This time Ben won silver and John took the gold.

Late changes
The standardisation of the pole used in the pole vault caused quite a stir. A month before the event the International Amateur Athletics Federation banned a new model favoured by many top contenders. Three days before qualifying the ban was reversed only to once more be reinstated at the 11th hour. They went a step further this time by going into the athletics equipment room and confiscating the "illegal" poles. The result of this was that East German Wolfgang Nordwig dominated the event.

Controversy on the court
The basketball final between the USSR and the USA was thrown into confusion when the Americans thought they had won 50-49 and were already in wild celebration. The Soviets however rightly petitioned the referee for an additional three seconds to be played because of an error in the timing. The three seconds were played and the Soviets took advantage with the winning basket. The embittered Americans consequently refused to pick up their silver medals.

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