DirectorProducersCreditsProduction NotesSynopsisTimelineBlack September, terrorist groupPeople interviewedLinks about the movieMovie Clips
It's easy to overlook the Games of the XXth Olympiad because of its background of violence. But to many, the Olympics means the seven gold medals of U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz, Olga Korbut's debut and the Soviet Union's stunning defeat of the United States in men's basketball. Of course, the controversy intruded on the games themselves, first by allowing the games to continue while the hostage drama continued, then by halting the games and holding a memorial service for the slain athletes. International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage came under heavy criticism for not immediately suspending the games. Nevertheless, the games were the high point for many of the more than 7,000 athletes from 122 nations who competed. Soviet sprinter Valery Borzov won the 100 and 200 meter races when two of his competitors missed their heats because of scheduling mix ups. Lasse Viren of Finland took the gold medal in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races. Frank Shorter was the first American since 1908 to win the marathon. Shane Gould of Australia took three gold medals, a silver and a bronze in women's swimming. And Mark Spitz's seven gold medals (three in relays) set a record for the most gold medals won. Soviets gymnast Olga Korbut (three gold and a silver) and weightlifter Vasily Alekseyev made their debuts at the games taking gold. Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba won the first of his three boxing gold medals in the heavyweight division. And to many Americans, the most stunning upset was the Soviet Union's 50-49 win over the U.S. men's basketball team. The Soviets made a long pass down the court with only three seconds left on the clock.