1972 munich logo

Munich logo

The XX olympic summer games was hosted in Munich Germany but at the time was known as West Germany. 121 nations competed in 23 sports, split amoungst 195 events. The games were opened by President Gustav Heinemann. This was the second time Germany held the games, the first being Berlin in 1936. This was the first and only time it was hosted as West Germany, and East Germany never hosted the games.

Munich MassacreEdit

During these olympics the Munich Massacre overshadowed the spirit of the games. On September 5th a group of eight Palestinian terrorists from the group Black September broke into the athlete's village and took nine Israeli athletes hostage, killing two others right after the break in. The stand off lasted 18 hours. That evening they were transferred by helicopter to a military base where they were to board a plane to an Arab nation. German police planned to ambush them there but underestimated the terrorists. All of the Isreali hostages were killed. Four of them were killed when a Palestinian detonated a grenade inside the helicopter in which the hostages were sitting. The five remaining hostages were then machine-gunned by another terrorist. Only three of the Palestinian terrorists survived the battle. They were imprisoned and awaiting trial before they were released in exchanged for a highjacked jet and it's passengers.

The games were suspended briefly but Avery Brunage, the IOC President at the time, declared that the "Games must go on" to which the events continued a day later.

Other Historical EventsEdit

  • For the first time ever the Olympic Oath is taken by a referee.
  • America's Mark Spitz wins 7 gold medals as he breaks seven world records in swimming. Although when the games continue this Jewish athlete leaves Germany for his own safety. This Gold medal swimming record was held until 2008 when Micheal Phelps won 8 gold medals.
  • The American Basketball team loses for the first time and refuses to accept the silver medal, claiming there was cheating, involving multiple deliberate timekeeping errors made at the end of the game with the Soviet Union.
  • Handball returns to the olympics after being absent since 1936.
  • Archery also returned for the first time since 1920.
  • Canoe slalom made it's first olympic appearance.
  • Two American Athletes, Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett, who had won the gold and silver (respectively) in the 400 meter run, were banned for life from the Olympics when they were twirling their medals and joking with each other as the "Star Spangled Banner" played in the award ceremony.
  • Frank Shorter was the third American runner to win the gold medal in the marathon. Oddly enough in none of these cases was the winner that first entered the stadium. Student Norbert Sudhaus dressed up in a track outfit and joined in the last quarter mile as a joke. Thinking he was the winner the crowd began to cheer, until the judges realised the stunt and pulled him off. Shorter was very confused to not only see someone ahead of him as he entered the stadium but to hear boos that were meant for Sudhaus.


  1. Soviet Union 50 Gold, 27 Silver and 22 Bronze. 99 Total.
  2. United States of America 33 Gold, 31 Silver and 30 Bronze. 94 Total.
  3. German Democratic Republic (East Germany) 20 Gold, 23 Silver and 23 Bronze. 66 Total.
  4. Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) 13 Gold, 11 Silver and 16 Bronze. 40 Total.
  5. Hungary 6 Gold, 13 Silver and 16 Bronze. 35 Total.
  6. Japan 13 Gold, 8 Silver and 8 Bronze. 29 Total.
  7. Poland 7 Gold, 5 Silver and 9 Bronze. 21 Total.
  8. Bulgaria 6 Gold, 10 Silver and 5 Bronze. 21 Total.
  9. Italy 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 10 Bronze. 18 Total.
  10. Australia 8 Gold, 7 Silver and 2 Bronze. 17 Total.

Image GalleryEdit

See AlsoEdit

  • Logos - A collection of logos featuring this event.
  • Torch - Information about this Olympics' torch.

Preceded by
Sapporo 1972
Succeeded by
Innsbruck 1976
Preceded by
Mexico City 1968
Summer Olympics
Succeeded by
Montreal 1976
Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
Athens 1896Paris 1900St. Louis 1904Athens 1906London 1908Stockholm 1912Berlin 1916Antwerp 1920Paris 1924Amsterdam 1928Los Angeles 1932Berlin 1936London 1948Helsinki 1952Melbourne 1956Rome 1960Tokyo 1964Mexico City 1968Munich 1972Montreal 1976Moscow 1980Los Angeles 1984Seoul 1988Barcelona 1992Atlanta 1996Sydney 2000Athens 2004Beijing 2008London 2012Rio de Janeiro 2016Tokyo 2020Paris 2024Los Angeles 2028
Winter Olympic Games
Chamonix 1924St. Moritz 1928Lake Placid 1932Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936St. Moritz 1948Oslo 1952Cortina 1956Squaw Valley 1960Innsbruck 1964Grenoble 1968Sapporo 1972Innsbruck 1976Lake Placid 1980Sarajevo 1984Calgary 1988Albertville 1992Lillehammer 1994Nagano 1998Salt Lake City 2002Torino 2006Vancouver 2010Sochi 2014Pyeongchang 2018Beijing 2022