1970s in sports

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Olympics[edit]

During the 1970s, the Olympics took place four times, with Munich hosting the games in 1972 and Montreal playing host in 1976. The 1972 Summer games became victim to both terrorism and international controversy with ties to the ongoing Cold War situation. During the games, Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli athletes and took nine hostage. After a failed rescue attempt, all hostages and all but three of terrorists were killed. The United States-Soviet Union basketball game was also embroiled in controversy. The U.S. basketball Olympic winning streak, which started in 1936, was ended by the Soviet Union team's close victory in the final game.

The U.S. complained about errors in officiating but the victory by the Soviet Union was upheld. Among the 1972 Summer Olympic highlights was the performance of swimmer Mark Spitz, who set seven World Records to win a record seven gold medals in one Olympics, bringing his total to nine. Other notable athletes at the 1972 games were sixteen-year-old Olga Korbut, whose success in women's gymnastics earned three gold medals for the Soviet Union, and British athlete Mary Peters, who took home the gold in the women's pentathlon.

The 1976 Summer games in Montreal marked the first time the Olympic games were held in Canada. Mindful of the tragedy during the 1972 games, security was high during the Montreal games. Due to its policy on apartheid, South Africa was banned from the games. Even so, twenty-two other African countries sat out to protest The 1976 Summer Olympics were highlighted by the legendary performance of Romanian female gymnast Nadia Comăneci. The 14-year-old Nadia Comăneci of Romania scored seven perfect 10s and won 3 gold medals, including the prestigious All Around in women's gymnastics. The performance by Comaneci also marked the rise of legendary women's gymnastics coach Béla Károlyi, who went on to coach the U.S. team in both the 1988 and 1992 summer Olympic games. The 1976 Summer games also featured the strong U.S. boxing team, which consisted of Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, Leo Randolph and Howard Davis Jr. The team won five gold medals and was arguably the greatest Olympic boxing team ever. In wrestling, Dan Gable won the gold medal in the 149-pound weight class without having a single point scored against him. Amazingly, this was done with a painful shoulder injury.


The Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo, Japan, in 1972 and Innsbruck, Austria, in 1976. Originally, Denver, Colorado, was supposed to host the '76 games, but voters rejected a plan to finance the venues needed and the IOC chose Innsbruck instead; the city had already had venues from hosting the 1964 Winter Olympics.

By year[edit]