When? August 26 – September 11, 1972
Medals won? 3

Munich 1972

About the Games

A total of 7134 athletes from 121 countries participated in the Games and competed in 195 events.

Most medals won (from a total of 48 teams) by: 1. USSR – 99 (50, 27, 22), 2. USA – 94 (33, 31, 30), 3. GDR – 66 (20, 23, 23).

Lithuania in the Games

8 Lithuanian athletes participated in Munich Summer Olympics. They competed in basketball, swimming, canoeing, and track and fiend athletics events. Two Lithuanians climbed on the highest step of the podium, while track and field athlete Nijolė Sabaitė won silver.

Vladas Česiūnas and Jurijus Lobanovas triumphed in the finals of C-2 1000 meters event.

The bronze medalist of the Mexico City Summer Olympics Modestas Paulauskas became a champion as a member of the USSR basketball team in one of the most controversial finals in history.

In a decisive match between the USSR and the USA, the U.S. team player Doug Collins’ accurate free throws brought his team forward with the result of 50:49. Following his second throw, the USSR could not legally as ask for a timeout, therefore the match was continued. However, the attack by the USSR players was interrupted, because the team’s coaches fiercely claimed that they had asked for a timeout after the first free throw. The game clock was stopped with one second remaining. The secretary general of FIBA at the time William Jones convinced the secretariat on the need to replay the final 3 second of the game. The ball was given to Edeshko, who passed it to Modestas Paulauskas. Right after that the horn sounded. The Americans started rejoicing, however, it soon became apparent that the horn had sounded only to warn that the game clock was not yet reset and the game could not be resumed. Eventually the clock was set back by 3 seconds and the game continued. Edeshko threw the ball the length of the court toward Alexander Belov who having evaded his two opponents scored two “golden” points and reached the result 51:50.

Immediately after the match the USA filed a protest, which, however, was dismissed.  Ultimately the U.S team refused to participate in the Closing ceremony and to accept their silver medals.

Track and field athlete Nijolė Sabaitė won a silver medal in the 800 meters running event.

Romualdas Bitė placed 7th in the 3000 meters steeplechase event.

Interesting facts

The 5th of September in Munich became on of the worst days in the history of the modern Olympic Games. On this day, early in the morning Palestinian terrorists representing the militant group “Black September” entered the Olympic Village by climbing the fence and barged into the apartments of the Israeli delegation. Two Israeli athletes who resisted were killed in the first moments of the break-in. Nine delegation members were taken hostage.  The attackers demanded that 234 Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel and two German radicals held in Germany be released. Palestinians were offered money for the release of the athletes, but they refused.

Eventually the terrorists and their hostages were transported to a nearby NATO base, from where they were to be flown in two helicopters to Egypt, even though Egypt’s authorities refused to accept the Palestinians and their hostages.

During a botched rescue attempt at the airport all the hostages, five Palestinians and one German policeman were killed.

The Games were suspended for some time, but later a decision was made to continue them.

US swimmer Mark Spitz performed magnificently in the Munich Olympic pool.  He won 7 gold medals and broke seven world records. This achievement lasted until 2008, when it was surpassed by American Michael Phelps, who won eight golds at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Archery and handball were reintroduced into the Olympic programme. In fact, the Olympic Games programme included handball 11×11 until 1936, but After Munich Summer Olympics its “smaller” version 7×7 became the Olympic standard. Slalom canoeing was held for the first time at the Olympics.

Munich 1972 Summer Olympics website:


Lithuanian athletes in Munich 1972 Summer Olympics




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