1972 Olympics - Munich

On Sept. 5, with six days left in the Games, eight Arab commandos slipped into the Olympic Village, killed two Israeli team members and seized nine others as hostages. Early the next morning, all nine were killed in a shootout between the terrorists and West German police at a military airport.

The tragedy stunned the world and stopped the XXth Olympiad in its tracks. But after suspending competition for 24 hours and holding a memorial service attended by 80,000 at the main stadium, 84-year-old outgoing IOC president Avery Brundage and his committee ordered “the Games must go on.”

They went on without 22-year-old swimmer Mark Spitz, who had set an Olympic gold medal record by winning four individual and three relay events, all in world record times. Spitz, an American Jew, was an inviting target for further terrorism and agreed with West German officials when they advised him to leave the country.

The pall that fell over Munich quieted an otherwise boisterous Games in which American swimmer Rick DeMont was stripped of a gold medal for taking asthma medication and track medalists Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett of the U.S. were banned for life for fooling around on the victory stand during the American national anthem.

The United States also lost an Olympic basketball game for the first time ever (they were 62-0) when the Soviets were given three chances to convert a last-second inbound pass and finally won, 51-50. The U.S. refused the silver medal.

Munich was also where 17-year-old Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut and 16-year-old swimmer Shane Gould of Australia won three gold medals each and Britain's 33-year-old Mary Peters won the pentathlon.


Event   Time  
 100m Valery Borzov, USSR 10.14  
  Robert Taylor, USA 10.24  
  Lennox Miller, JAM 10.33  
 200m Valery Borzov, USSR 20.00  
  Larry Black, USA 20.19  
  Pietro Mennea, ITA 20.30  
 400m Vince Matthews, USA 44.66  
  Wayne Collett, USA 44.80  
  Julius Sang, KEN 44.92  
 800m Dave Wottle, USA 1:45.9  
  Yewgeniy Arzhanov, USSR 1:45.9  
  Mike Boit, KEN 1:46.0  
1500m Pekka Vasala, FIN 3:36.3  
  Kipchoge Keino, KEN 3:36.8  
  Rodney Dixon, NZL 3:37.5  
5000m Lasse Viren, FIN 13:26.4 OR
  Mohamed Gammoudi, TUN 13:27.4  
  Ian Stewart, GBR 13:27.6  
10,000m Lasse Viren, FIN 27:38.4 WR
  Emiel Puttemans, BEL 27:39.6  
  Miruts Yifter, ETH 27:41.0  
Marathon Frank Shorter, USA 2:12:19.8  
  Karel Lismont, BEL 2:14:31.8  
  Mamo Wolde, ETH 2:15:08.4  
110m H Rod Milburn, USA 13.24 =WR
  Guy Drut, FRA 13.34  
  Thomas Hill, USA 13.48  
400m H John Akii-Bua, UGA 47.82 WR
  Ralph Mann, USA 48.51  
  David Hemery, GBR 48.52  
Kip Keino, KEN 8:23.6 OR
  Benjamin Jipcho, KEN 8:24.6  
  Tapio Kantanen, FIN 8:24.8  
20k Walk Peter Frenkel, E. Ger 1:26:42.4 OR
  Vladimir Golubnichiy, USSR 1:26:55.2  
  Hans Reimann, E. Ger 1:27:16.6  
50k Walk Bernd Kannenberg, W. Ger 3:56:11.6 OR
  Venjamin Soldatenko, USSR 3:58:24.0  
  Larry Young, USA 4:00:46.0  
4x100m USA (Larry Black, Robert
Taylor, Gerald Tinker,
Eddie Hart)
38.19 =WR
  Soviet Union 38.50  
  West Germany 38.79  
4x400m KEN (Charles Asati, Hezaklah
Nyamau, Robert Ouko,
Julius Sang)
  Great Britain 3:00.5  
  France 3:00.7  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Yuri Tarmak, USSR 7- 33/4  
  Stefan Junge, E. Ger 7-3  
  Dwight Stones, USA 7-3  
Pole Vault Wolfgang Nordwig, E. Ger 18- 01/2 OR
  Robert Seagren, USA 17-81/2  
  Jan Johnson, USA 17-61/2  
Long Jump Randy Williams, USA 27- 01/2  
  Hans Baumgartner, W. Ger 26-10  
  Arnie Robinson, USA 26-4  
Triple Jump Viktor Saneyev, USSR 56-111/4  
  Jörg Drehmel, E. Ger 56-91/4  
  Nelson Prudencio, BRA 55-111/4  
Shot Put Wladyslaw Komar, POL 69- 6 OR
  George Woods, USA 69-51/2  
  Hartmut Briesenick, E. Ger 69-41/4  
Discus Ludvik Danek, CZE 211- 3  
  Jay Silvester, USA 208-4  
  Rickard Bruch, SWE 208-0  
Hammer Anatoly Bondarchuk, USSR 247- 8 OR
  Jochen Sachse, E. Ger 245-11  
  Vasiliy Khmelevski, USSR 242-101/2  
Javelin Klaus Wolfermann, W. Ger 296-10 OR
  Janis Lusis, USSR 296-9  
  William Schmidt, USA 276-111/2  
Decathlon Nikolai Avilov, USSR 8454 pts WR
  Leonid Litvinenko, USSR 8035  
  Ryszard Katus, POL 7984  


Event   Time  
 100m Renate Stecher, E. Ger 11.07  
  Raelene Boyle, AUS 11.23  
  Silvia Chivas, CUB 11.24  
 200m Renate Stecher, E. Ger 22.40 =WR
  Raelene Boyle, AUS 22.45  
  Irena Szewinska-Kirszenstein, POL 22.74  
 400m Monika Zehrt, E. Ger 51.08 OR
  Rita Wilden, W. Ger 51.21  
  Kathy Hammond, USA 51.64  
 800m Hildegard Falck, W. Ger 1:58.55 OR
  Niole Sabaite, USSR 1:58.7  
  Gunhild Hoffmeister, E. Ger 1:59.2  
1500m Lyudmila Bragina, USSR 4:01.4 WR
  Gunhild Hoffmeister, E. Ger 4:02.8  
  Paola Cacchi, ITA 4:02.9  
100m H Annelie Ehrhardt, E. Ger 12.59 WR
  Valeria Bufanu, ROM 12.84  
  Karin Balzer, E. Ger 12.90  
4x100m W. Ger. (Christiane Krause, Ingrid
Mickler, Annegret Richter,
Heidemarie Rosendahl)
42.81 =WR
  East Germany 42.95  
  Cuba 43.36  
4x400m E. Ger. (Dägmar Käsling, Rita Kühne,
Helga Seidler, Monika Zehrt)
3:23.0 WR
  United States 3:25.2  
  West Germany 3:26.5  
Event   Mark  
High Jump Ulrike Meyfarth, W. Ger 6- 31/2 =WR
  Yordanka Blagoyeva, BUL 6-2  
  Ilona Gusenbauer, AUT 6-2  
Long Jump Heidemarie Rosendahl, W. Ger 22- 3  
  Diana Yorgova, BUL 27-21/2  
  Eva Suranova, CZE 21-103/4  
Shot Put Nadezhda Chizhova, USSR 69- 0 WR
  Margitta Gummel, E. Ger 66-43/4  
  Ivanka Khristova, BUL 63-6  
Discus Faina Melnik, USSR 218- 7 OR
  Argentina Menis, ROM 213-5  
  Vassilka Stoyeva, BUL 211-1  
Javelin Ruth Fuchs, E. Ger 209- 7 OR
  Jaqueline Todten, E. Ger 205-2  
  Kathy Schmidt, USA 196-8  
Pentathlon Mary Peters, GBR 4801 pts WR
  Heide Rosendahl, W. Ger 4791  
  Burglinde Pollak, E. Ger 4768