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Athletics at the 1972 München Summer Games

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Host City: München, West Germany
Date Started: August 31, 1972
Date Finished: September 10, 1972
Events: 38

Participants: 1,330 (961 men and 369 women) from 104 countries
Youngest Participant: BAR Heather Gooding (14 years, 165 days)
Oldest Participant: CAN Alex Oakley (46 years, 131 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 3 medals
Most Medals (Country): USA United States (22 medals)

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The 1972 Olympics were awarded to the Bavarian city of München, which planned a great festival to offset the image that beset the 1936 Berlin Olympics. For the first week at München, they were the friendly Olympics, and a beautiful site. Sadly, on 5 September, the Games were interrupted when Arab terrorists, members of the Black September group, invaded the Olympic Village and took the Israeli Olympic team hostage. Hours of negotiations were ongoing, but eventually 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed, either in their Village rooms, or in a shoot-out at Fürstenfeldbruch Airport, a military facility on the outskirts of München. The Games were delayed for one day but they continued, a decision still considered somewhat controversial by some.

Amidst that setting, it was difficult to focus on events on the track, but there were some superb performances. Both a man and woman won the 100/200 sprint double, but surprisingly, neither was American. Valery Borzov of the Soviet Union and Renate Stecher of the GDR won both sprint races. Borzov was aided slightly in the 100 when two American threats, Eddie Hart and Rey Robinson, missed their starting times in the quarter-finals and were eliminated. Finland’s Lasse Virén also won two gold medals, winning both the 5K and 10K, returning Finland to Olympic distance running glory. He won the 10,000 in world record time despite falling in mid-race.


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's 100 metres URS Valeriy Borzov USA Robert Taylor JAM Lennox Miller
Men's 200 metres URS Valeriy Borzov USA Larry Black ITA Pietro Mennea
Men's 400 metres USA Vince Matthews USA Wayne Collett KEN Julius Sang
Men's 800 metres USA Dave Wottle URS Yevhen Arzhanov KEN Mike Boit
Men's 1,500 metres FIN Pekka Vasala KEN Kip Keino NZL Rod Dixon
Men's 5,000 metres FIN Lasse Virén TUN Mohamad Gammoudi GBR Ian Stewart
Men's 10,000 metres FIN Lasse Virén BEL Miel Puttemans ETH Miruts Yifter
Men's Marathon USA Frank Shorter BEL Karel Lismont ETH Mamo Wolde
Men's 110 metres Hurdles USA Rod Milburn FRA Guy Drut USA Tom Hill
Men's 400 metres Hurdles UGA John Akii-Bua USA Ralph Mann GBR Dave Hemery
Men's 3,000 metres Steeplechase KEN Kip Keino KEN Ben Jipcho FIN Tapio Kantanen
Men's 4 × 100 metres Relay USA United States URS Soviet Union FRG West Germany
Men's 4 × 400 metres Relay KEN Kenya GBR Great Britain FRA France
Men's 20 kilometres Walk GDR Peter Frenkel URS Volodymyr Holubnychiy GDR Hans-Georg Reimann
Men's 50 kilometres Walk FRG Bernd Kannenberg URS Veniamin Soldatenko USA Larry Young
Men's High Jump URS Jüri Tarmak GDR Stefan Junge USA Dwight Stones
Men's Pole Vault GDR Wolfgang Nordwig USA Bob Seagren USA Jan Johnson
Men's Long Jump USA Randy Williams FRG Hans Baumgartner USA Arnie Robinson
Men's Triple Jump URS Viktor Saneyev GDR Jörg Drehmel BRA Nélson Prudêncio
Men's Shot Put POL Władysław Komar USA George Woods GDR Hartmut Briesenick
Men's Discus Throw TCH Ludvík Daněk USA Jay Silvester SWE Ricky Bruch
Men's Hammer Throw URS Anatoliy Bondarchuk GDR Jochen Sachse URS Vasily Khmelevsky
Men's Javelin Throw FRG Klaus Wolfermann URS Jānis Lūsis USA Bill Schmidt
Men's Decathlon URS Mykola Avilov URS Leonid Lytvynenko POL Ryszard Katus
Women's 100 metres GDR Renate Stecher AUS Raelene Boyle CUB Silvia Chivás
Women's 200 metres GDR Renate Stecher AUS Raelene Boyle POL Irena Szewińska-Kirszenstein
Women's 400 metres GDR Monika Zehrt FRG Rita Jahn-Wilden USA Kathy Hammond
Women's 800 metres FRG Hildegard Falck URS Nijolė Sabaitė GDR Gunhild Hoffmeister
Women's 1,500 metres URS Lyudmila Bragina GDR Gunhild Hoffmeister ITA Paola Pigni
Women's 100 metres Hurdles GDR Annelie Ehrhardt ROU Valeria Bufanu-Ştefănescu GDR Karin Richert-Balzer
Women's 4 × 100 metres Relay FRG West Germany GDR East Germany CUB Cuba
Women's 4 × 400 metres Relay GDR East Germany USA United States FRG West Germany
Women's High Jump FRG Ulrike Meyfarth BUL Yordanka Blagoeva AUT Ilona Gusenbauer
Women's Long Jump FRG Heide Rosendahl BUL Diana Yorgova TCH Eva Šuranová
Women's Shot Put URS Nadezhda Chizhova GDR Margitta Helmbold-Gummel BUL Ivanka Khristova
Women's Discus Throw URS Faina Melnik ROU Argentina Menis BUL Vasilka Stoeva
Women's Javelin Throw GDR Ruth Fuchs GDR Jacqueline Todten-Hein USA Kate Schmidt
Women's Pentathlon GBR Mary Peters FRG Heide Rosendahl GDR Burglinde Pollak