Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Dynamo Palace of Sports, Moskva; Sokolniki Palace of Sports, Mosvka
Date Started: July 20, 1980
Date Finished: July 30, 1980
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.
The first six teams of the 1978 World Championships qualified for Moscow, but the champion West Germans withdrew because of the boycott. Otherwise, the event had a strong line-up, even though two weaker nations, African champion Tunisia and Asian champion Japan, also boycotted, and they were replaced by Algeria and Kuwait respectively.
As in 1976, the winners of the pools qualified for the final directly, making the pool matches of vital importance. In Pool A, the East Germans didn't have too much trouble reaching first place. They were held to a draw by Hungary (14-14), but as the Hungarians had also drawn against Poland, they held matters in their own hand. The fourth pool match against Poland was close (22-21), but East Germany reached the final. The second pool was much closer. Yugoslavia turned their match against Romania around, trailing 10-16 in the second half but winning 23-21 eventually. The Soviets failed to beat Romania (19-22), despite the fact that they had led 15-9 at half-time and that one of the Romanians was sent off at 19-20. This meant the final pool match between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia was decisive: if the Soviets won by four or more goals, they would reach the final. The home nation pulled off that feat (22-17), helped by goalkeeper Mykola Tomin, who stopped five penalty shots.
The final, between the second and third finishers at the World Championships, was as close as could be expected. At half-time, the score was 10-10, and at full time both teams had double their scores: 20-20 - the Soviets having equalized a mere 22 seconds before the final whistle. Aleksandre Anp'ilogovi scored the first goal of overtime, the Soviets then saw a penalty shot stopped by East German goalie Wieland Schmidt, who had also saved at 16-18. The DDR then rallied to pull ahead 23-21. Anp'ilogovi scored again in the final minute, but the scored remained at 23-22, giving the Germans their first Olympic title. Scorer of the final German goal, Hans-Georg Beyer, enjoyed a successful family Olympics: his brother Udo won a shot put bronze (he was the 1976 champion), while sister Gisela came fourth in the discus throw.
The team coming in last was Kuwait. They had qualified because first Japan and then South Korea had forfeited their place due to their nations’ boycott of the Games. They lost all six of their matches, averaging 14.6 goals for and 34.6 against. Against Yugoslavia, they lost 44-10. The goal difference from that match, 34, is still an Olympic record as of 2008. It also remains a record for goals scored by a male team in one match. The record was equalled in 2000 (Sweden-Australia 44-23) although the Austrian women beat Brazil 45-26 at those same Olympics.