About the Games
It was the first Winter Olympics to be held outside Europe and North America with 1006 participants from 35 countries. They competed in 35 events.
Most medals won (from a total of 17 teams) by: 1. USSR – 16 (8, 5, 3), 2. GDR – 14 (4, 3, 7), 3. Switzerland – 10 (4, 3, 3).
Before the Sapporo Games, Japan had never won a gold medal in the Olympic Winter Games. But in the normal hill ski-jumping event, the Japanese won all the three medals for the event – Yukio Kasaya claimed gold and his team-mates Akitsugu Konno and Seiji Aochi won silver and bronze. These were the only medals won by Japan in Sapporo.
Spain’s “Paquito” Fernandez Ochoa won the slalom and the first ever gold medal for Spain in the Olympic Winter Games. Wojciechas Fortuna became the first Polish champion of Winter Olympics by winning the men’s large hill individual ski jumping competition.
Three days before the Games, Austrian skier Karl Schranz, who received over $50,000 per year from ski manufacturers, was banned from the games, causing the controversy over amateur status. Meanwhile, Canada refused to send their ice hockey team protesting the fact that professional ice hockey players from the USSR and other Eastern European nations were allowed to compete with no restrictions.
Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics website: