Host City: München, West Germany
Date Started: August 27, 1972
Date Finished: September 9, 1972
Participants: 190 (190 men and 0 women) from 16 countries
Youngest Participant: Juan Antonio Corbalán (18 years, 25 days)
Oldest Participant: Ciso Bernardo (35 years, 32 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 36 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
The 1972 basketball program had a tournament for men only, which was the last time that woman were excluded, as they started to play Olympic basketball in 1976. The men’s tournament, which ended up being the most controversial one in Olympic history, took place at the Basketballhalle in München, which was built specifically for the 1972 Olympics. The venue was later called the Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle from 1974-2011, and then named for its sponsor, called the Audi Dome since 2011. The arena has been the site of concerts, fairs, and sporting events and since 2011 has been the home court for Bayern München’s basketball team.
There were again 16 teams with all teams having to qualify by various methods. The top four teams from the 1968 Olympics (United States, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Brazil) and the host nation, Federal Republic of Germany (West), were eligible. The following six tournaments qualified the other 11 teams as follows – 1971 Oceanian Championships (Australia); 1971 Asian Championships (Japan, the Philippines); 1971 African Championships (Senegal, Egypt); European Qualifying Tournament (Italy, Czechoslovakia); the 1971 Centrobasket Championships (Cuba, Puerto Rico); and a Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Poland, Spain).
The format was the same as in 1964 and 1968, with the 16 teams divided into two eight-team groups, which played a round-robin format. The top two teams in each group advanced to the semi-finals. The United States and the Soviet Union won the semi-finals and met in the final. There is more detail in the event description, but the Soviet Union defeated the United States 51-50 in the final, in a very controversial finish. This was the first time the United States did not win the Olympic basketball gold medal, and the US players were so upset with the officiating at the end of the game that they refused to accept the silver medals.