The 1972 Winter Olympics, officially the XI Olympic Winter Games (Japanese: 第11回オリンピック冬季競技大会, Hepburn: Dai Jūichi-kai Orinpikku Tōkikyōgi Taikai) and commonly known as Sapporo 1972 (Japanese: 札幌1972), were a winter multi-sport event held from February 3 to 13, 1972, in Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. It was the first Winter Olympic Games to take place outside Europe and North America.

XI Olympic Winter Games
Emblem of the 1972 Winter Olympics
Host citySapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Athletes1,006 (801 men, 205 women)
Events35 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)
OpeningFebruary 3, 1972
ClosingFebruary 13, 1972
Opened by
Hideki Takada
StadiumMakomanai Open Stadium

Host city selection edit

Sapporo first won the rights to host the 1940 Winter Olympics, but Japan resigned as the Games' host after its 1937 invasion of China. The 1940 Games were later cancelled. All the cities awarded Games that were cancelled due to war have since hosted the Games (London, Tokyo, Helsinki, Sapporo and Cortina d'Ampezzo).

Sapporo competed with Banff, Lahti, and Salt Lake City. The Games were awarded at the 64th IOC Session in Rome, Italy, on April 26, 1966.[1]

In preparation, the Japanese constructed new largescale facilities at Sapporo and conducted a trial run a full year in advance of the Games. An international sport week was held in February, 1971, to assess the city's preparations as well as "to test its civic mettle and hospitality", and this effort was acclaimed by Olympic observers as "a complete success".[2] The development of new infrastructure proved to be a huge boon for the Sapporo economy: by the time of the Games, the national government had invested some US$500 million in upgrades, including a new subway.[2] The Games' organizers themselves turned a healthy profit in part because they arranged a record $8.47 million for broadcast rights.[3]

1972 Winter Olympics bidding result[4]
City Country Round 1
Sapporo   Japan 32
Banff & Calgary   Canada 16
Lahti   Finland 7
Salt Lake City   United States 7

Highlights edit

Official poster for the 1972 Winter Olympics
  • Emperor Hirohito became the third dignitary to open the Olympic Games twice (first time in summer 1964), after Adolf Hitler had done in winter and summer 1936, then Giovanni Gronchi in winter 1956 and summer 1960.
  • Prior to these games, Japan had never won a gold medal, and had won only one medal (silver by Chiharu Igaya in 1956) overall, in the Winter Olympics. The host country's fans in Sapporo were boosted when three Japanese athletes, led by Yukio Kasaya, swept the ski jumping 70 m (current K-90 normal hill) event for gold (Kasaya), silver (Akitsugu Konno), and bronze (Seiji Aochi); those would also be the only medals Japan would earn in these Olympics.
  • Galina Kulakova of the USSR won all three cross-country skiing events for women.
  • Dutch skater Ard Schenk won three gold medals in speed skating.
  • In Women's Alpine Skiing, American Barbara Cochran, one of three siblings on the U.S. Ski Team, became the first U.S. woman since Andrea Mead Lawrence to win a gold medal in skiing when she took first place in the slalom.
  • In Alpine skiing, virtual unknown Swiss Marie-Thérès Nadig won both the downhill and the giant slalom events.
  • Magnar Solberg from Norway was the first repeat winner in the individual 20 km biathlon event, having first won in Grenoble.[5]
  • Spain scored its first Winter gold medal courtesy of slalom skier Francisco Fernández Ochoa. Poland did the same with Wojciech Fortuna winning large hill ski jumping competition.
  • American female speedskaters Anne Henning and Dianne Holum made the United States' best showing in the Winter Games, winning two gold, a silver, and a bronze.[3]
  • Three days before the Games, controversy over amateur status arose when IOC president Avery Brundage threatened to disqualify 40 alpine skiers who received endorsement and other deals. Austrian skier Karl Schranz, who received over $50,000 per year from ski manufacturers, was banned as an example. Meanwhile, Canada refused to send an ice hockey team, maintaining that professional ice hockey players from Communist nations were allowed to compete with no restrictions.[6]
  • On a historical note, these Games are the last where a skier won the gold medal using all-wooden skis. Since this time, top-level cross-country skiers use skis made mostly of fibreglass synthetics.[7]
  • In female Figure skating event, American skater Janet Lynn won not only a bronze medal, but also tremendous popularity among Japanese audiences because of her artistic free program, as to make appearance on the cover of "Olympic Winter Games, Sapporo 1972" photo books published in Japan, and even on Japanese TV commercials later.
  • Luge had its only tie in the history of the Winter Olympics in the men's doubles event.

Venues edit

1 New facilities constructed in preparation for the Olympic Games. 2 Existing facilities modified or refurbished in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Sports edit

There were 35 events contested in 6 sports (10 disciplines).

Participating nations edit

35 nations participated in the 1972 Winter Olympics. The Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan) and the Philippines participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees edit

Medal count edit

These are the top eleven nations that won medals at these Games. The host nation Japan finished 11th.

1  Soviet Union85316
2  East Germany43714
3  Switzerland43310
4  Netherlands4329
5  United States3238
6  West Germany3115
7  Norway25512
8  Italy2215
9  Austria1225
10  Sweden1124
11  Japan*1113
Totals (11 entries)33283091

Podium sweeps edit

Date Sport Event NOC Gold Silver Bronze
6 February Ski jumping Normal hill individual   Japan Yukio Kasaya Akitsugu Konno Seiji Aochi
7 February Luge Women's singles   East Germany Anna-Maria Müller Ute Rührold Margit Schumann
7 February Luge Men's singles   East Germany Wolfgang Scheidel Harald Ehrig Wolfram Fiedler

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Munich, Sapporo Given Olympics Games for 1972". The Albuquerque Journal. April 27, 1966. p. C2. Retrieved December 8, 2022 – via
  2. ^ a b Findling, John E.; Pelle, Kimberly D. (1996). Historical dictionary of the modern Olympic movement. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 285. ISBN 0-313-28477-6. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "70 Years, Many Magical Moments: 1972, Sapporo, Japan". The Washington Post. 1998. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Infoplease-Sapporo
  7. ^ "aolhometown". Archived from the original on June 18, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links edit

Winter Olympics
Preceded by XI Olympic Winter Games

Succeeded by