Updated: 16/03/2012 13:25 |
Olympic games : 100 moments

Basketball controversy, Munich 1972



The USSR receive their basketball gold medals but the USA team is absent at Munich 1972. - 31 (© Press Association)
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  • Al Oerter in the discus competition at Mexico City 1968. - 29 (© Press Association)
  • Lee Evans (centre) leads an American salute at Mexico City 1968. - 30 (© Press Association)
  • The USSR receive their basketball gold medals but the USA team is absent at Munich 1972. - 31 (© Press Association)
  • American Mark Spitz smiles after winning seven swimming golds at Munich 1972. - 32 (© Press Association)
  • A member of the Black September terrorist group who horrified the world at Munich 1972. - 33 (© Press Association)
  • Gymnast Olga Korbut performs a routine at the Munich 1972 Games. - 34 (© Press Association)
  • West Germany's Ulrike Meyfarth clears the high-jump bar at Munich 1972. - 35 (© Press Association)
  • Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci competes at Montreal 1976. - 36 (© Press Association)
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The men's basketball final between the United States and the Soviet Union at the 1972 Olympics is one of the greatest sporting controversies of all time.

The Americans had never lost an Olympic match and with three seconds of the game remaining, Doug Collins converted two free throws to put them 50-49 ahead.

The USSR tried to call a timeout immediately, but it was not awarded until there was one second remaining. The clock was reset to 0:03, but it showed 0:50 and the Americans celebrated when three seconds had passed.

However, due to the clock's malfunction the referees were ordered to put the three seconds back on again.

The Soviet team then scored for a 51-50 win and the Americans protested in vain. Forty years on, none of the USA team have ever collected their silver medals and they remain unclaimed in a vault in Switzerland.

1Comment
15/07/2012 18:08
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I have often wondered how this drunken protester got there, what punishment that he received and whether that race could not have been cancelled and rescheduled. Did De Lima deserve this and what plans are there to ensure that this does not happen in the future games?
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