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The 1972 Summer Olympics were the second Summer Olympics to be held in Germany, after the 1936 Games in Berlin, which had taken place under the Nazi regime. The West German Government had been eager to have the Munich Olympics present a democratic and optimistic Germany to the world, as shown by the Games' official motto, "Die Heiteren Spiele", or "the cheerful Games". The logo of the Games was a blue solar logo (the "Bright Sun") by Otl Aicher, the designer and director of the visual conception commission. The hostesses wore sky-blue dirndls as a promotion of Bavarian cultural heritage. The Olympic mascot, the dachshund "Waldi", was the first officially named Olympic mascot. The Olympic Fanfare was composed by Herbert Rehbein. The Soviet Union won the most gold and overall medals.
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 acrylic glass stabilized by metal ropes, used on such a large scale for the first time.
The Games were largely overshadowed by what has come to be known as the "Munich massacre". Just before dawn on September 5, a group of eight members of the Palestinian Black September terrorist organization broke into the Olympic Village and took eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and officials hostage in their apartments. Two of the hostages who resisted were killed in the first moments of the break-in; the subsequent standoff in the Olympic Village lasted for almost 18 hours.
Late in the evening of September 5 that same day, the terrorists and their nine remaining hostages were transferred by helicopter to the military airport of Fürstenfeldbruck, ostensibly to board a plane bound for an undetermined Arab country. The German authorities planned to ambush them there, but underestimated the numbers of their opposition and were thus undermanned. During a botched rescue attempt, all of the Israeli hostages were killed. Four of them were shot, then incinerated when one of the terrorists detonated a grenade inside the helicopter in which the hostages were sitting. The 5 remaining hostages were then shot and killed with a machine gun.
"Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said that there were 11 hostages. Two were killed in their rooms, yesterday morning. Nine were killed at the airport, tonight. They're all gone."
--After a series of conflicting reports and rumours, Jim McKay of ABC brought the news at 3:24 a.m. local time.
All but three of the terrorists were killed as well. Although arrested and imprisoned pending trial, they were released by the West German government on October 29, 1972, in exchange for a hijacked Lufthansa jet. Two of those three were supposedly hunted down and assassinated later by the Mossad.Jamal Al-Gashey, who is believed to be the sole survivor, is still living today in hiding in an unspecified African country with his wife and two children. The Olympic events were suspended several hours after the initial attack, but once the incident was concluded, Avery Brundage, the International Olympic Committee president, declared that "the Games must go on". A memorial ceremony was then held in the Olympic stadium, and the competitions resumed after a stoppage of 34 hours. The attack prompted heightened security at subsequent Olympics beginning with the 1976 Winter Olympics. Security at Olympics was heightened further beginning with the 2002 Winter Olympics, as they were the first to take place after the 2001 September 11 attacks.
The massacre led the German federal government to re-examine its anti-terrorism policies, which at the time were dominated by a pacifist approach adopted after World War II. This led to the creation of the elite counter-terrorist unit GSG 9, similar to the British SAS. It also led Israel to launch a campaign known as Operation Wrath of God, in which those suspected of involvement were systematically tracked down and assassinated.
Otl Aicher's signage pictograms designed for the Munich Olympic Games
Procession of athletes in the Olympic Stadium- 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich, Germany
These were the final Olympic Games under the IOC presidency of Avery Brundage.
Mark Spitz 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). Being Jewish, Spitz was asked 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. Spitz's record stood until 2008, when it was beaten by Michael Phelps who won eight gold medals in the pool.
In the final of the men's basketball, the United States lost to the Soviet Union in what is widely considered as the most controversial game in international basketball history. In a close-fought match, the U.S. team appeared to have won by a score of 50-49. However, the final 3 seconds of the game were replayed three times until the Soviet team came out on top and claimed a 51-50 victory. Ultimately the U.S team refused to accept their silver medals, which remain held in a vault in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The 100 metres event was notable for the absence of favorites and world record holders Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson for their quarterfinal heats. American sprint coach Stan Wright, had been given the wrong starting time. All three qualified American athletes were at the ABC television headquarters watching what they thought were replays of their morning preliminary races. In fact, they were watching live coverage of the races they should have been in. Hart and Robinson, scheduled in the first two races, missed their heats. The athletes rushed to the stadium, with Robert Taylor hurrying to take off his warm up uniform before running the later heat.
Two American 400 m runners, Vincent Matthews (gold medalist) and Wayne Collett (silver medalist), staged a protest on the victory podium, talking to each other and failing to stand at attention during the medal ceremony. They were banned by the IOC, as Tommie Smith and John Carlos had been in the 1968 Summer Olympics. Since John Smith had pulled a hamstring in the final and had been ruled unfit to run, the United States were forced to scratch from the 4×400 m relay.
Dave Wottle won the men's 800 m, after being last for the first 600 m, at which point he started to pass runner after runner up the final straightaway, finally grabbing the lead in the final 18 metres to win by 0.03 seconds ahead of the favorite, the Soviet Yevgeny Arzhanov. At the victory ceremony, Wottle forgot to remove his golf cap. This was interpreted by some as a form of protest against the Vietnam War, but Wottle later apologized.
Australian swimmer Shane Gould won three gold medals, a silver, and a bronze medal at the age of 15.
For the first time, the Olympic Oath was taken by a representative of the referees.
American Frank Shorter, who was born in Munich, became the first from his country in 64 years to win the Olympic marathon. As Shorter was nearing the stadium, German student Norbert Sudhaus entered the stadium wearing a track uniform, joined the race and ran the last kilometre; thinking he was the winner, the crowd began cheering him before officials realized the hoax and security escorted Sudhaus off the track. Arriving seconds later, Shorter was understandably perplexed to see someone ahead of him and to hear the boos and catcalls meant for Sudhaus. This was the third time in Olympic history that an American had won the marathon (after Thomas Hicks 1904 and Johnny Hayes 1908) -- and in none of those three instances did the winner enter the stadium first.
Rick DeMont of the United States originally won the gold medal in the men's 400 metre freestyle swimming. Following the race, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped DeMont of his gold medal after his post-race urinalysis tested positive for traces of the banned substance ephedrine contained in his prescription asthma medication, Marax. The positive test following the 400-meter freestyle final also deprived him of a chance at multiple medals, as he was not permitted to swim in any other events at the 1972 Olympics, including the 1,500-meter freestyle for which he was the then-current world record-holder. Before the Olympics, DeMont had properly declared his asthma medications on his medical disclosure forms, but the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) had not cleared them with the IOC's medical committee. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has recognized his gold medal performance in the 1972 Summer Olympics in 2001, but only the IOC has the power to restore his medal, and it has refused to do so as of 2020.
The men's pole vault field event at the games took place on September 1 & 2. Controversy arose when the new Cata-Pole, used by defending champion AmericanBob Seagren and Sweden'sKjell Isaksson, was declared to be illegal, by the IAAF, on 25 July. The pole was banned based on the fact that the pole contained carbon fibers; after an East German-led protest revealed that it contained no carbon fibers, the ban was lifted on 27 August. Three days later the IAAF reversed itself again, reinstating the ban. The poles were then confiscated from the athletes. Seagren and Isaksson believed this gave other athletes, like the eventual gold medalist, Wolfgang Nordwig, an unfair advantage. Seagren and Isaksson were given substitute poles which they had never used before to jump with. Isaksson, who had lost the world record to Seagren only two months earlier, didn't clear a height in the qualifying round and was eliminated. After Seagren's last vault he was so incensed by the way IAAF officials handled the event, he took the pole he had been forced to vault with and handed it back to IAAF President Adriaan Paulen. This was the first Olympics where the pole vault had not been won by an American. Prior to 1972, the United States had won 16 straight. Since 1972, the United States has only won the men's pole vault twice, equalling the record of Poland and components of the Soviet Union. France has won three times since 1984.
The Oxford Olympics Study established the outturn cost of the Munich 1972 Summer Olympics at US$1.0 billion in 2015-dollars. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games. The cost for Munich 1972 compares with costs of US$4.6 billion for Rio 2016, US$15 billion for London 2012 (the most costly Summer Olympics to date) and US$21 billion for Sochi 2014 -- the most expensive Olympic Games in history. Average cost for Summer Games since 1960 is US$5.2 billion.
The 1972 Summer Olympic programme featured 195 events in the following 21 sports:
? No medals were awarded on 5 September as all Olympic competitions were suspended during the course of the day for a period of twenty four hours due to the Munich massacre.
Note: The Memorial service was held in the Olympic Stadium on 6 September which was attended by 80,000 spectators and 3,000 athletes. Following this all Olympic competitions were then allowed to resume.
These are the top ten nations that won medals at the 1972 Games.
The report, titled "Doping in Germany from 1950 to today," details how the West German government helped fund a wide-scale doping program. Doping of West German athletes was prevalent at the Munich Games of 1972.
^"Ein Geschenk der Deutschen an sich selbst". Der Spiegel (in German) (35/1972). August 21, 1972. pp. 28-29. ... für die versprochene Heiterkeit der Spiele, die den Berliner Monumentalismus von 1936 vergessen machen und dem Image der Bundesrepublik in aller Welt aufhelfen sollen
^Flyvbjerg, Bent; Stewart, Allison; Budzier, Alexander (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Oxford: Saïd Business School Working Papers (Oxford: University of Oxford). pp. 9-13. SSRN2804554.