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Montreal 1976 Olympic Games

Montreal 1976 Olympic Games - XXI OlympiadMontreal 1976 Olympic Logo

Once the Games finally got started, our hearts were quickly stolen by 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who scored seven perfect 10s on her way to three gold medals.

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Montreal Olympics - A Games for the Coaches?

One has to wonder whether the GDR's domination of the women's swimming was not not more due to good preparation rather than just natural talent.  It cannot be coincidence that one nation won 11 out of 13 events in one discipline, even if they had the great Kornelia Ender.  You could also argue that it was as much coaching as talent that saw the American men, led by John Naber, win 12 out of 13 medals in the men's 1976 Olympic swimming.

The situation in the boxing was rather different, while the USA won 5 Olympic gold medals, four would become World world boxing champions, Ray Leonard, Howard Davis and the Spinks brothers, Michael and Leon, thus the Montreal Olympics witnessed a truly talented USA boxing team.

Highlights of the 1976 Olympic Track EventsMontreal 1976 Olympic Mascot

Finland's Lasse Viren took the 5,000 and 10,000. Viren missed a third gold when he placed fifth in the marathon.  Talking of this 26 mile gruelling race, Waldemar Cierpinski won the race, and would go on to win again in 1980 at Moscow.  The toughest event of them all was settled when Bruce Jenner won the decathlon.

While Greg Joy put some shine on Canada's record when he won a silver medal in the high jump, however, Canada became the first host country not to win a gold medal.  Meanwhile Viktor Saneyev of the Soviet Union won his third consecutive triple jump gold medal.

Olympic Trivia - Colemanballs

In track and field, Cuba's Alberto Juantorena won the 400 and 800-meter gold medals. Will and Guy remember the first Colemanballs.  While describing the 800m race David Coleman said: 'And there goes Juantorena down the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class'.

Scandal in Olympic Fencing - Boris OnishchenkoBoris Onishchenko - Cheat

Guy feels outraged and intrigued by Boris Onishchenko's cheating in the Pentathlon fencing.  Aside from drug taking this was the most blatant, and especially the most pre-meditated, cheating unearthed at any Olympic Games.

Onishchenko was a KGB officer, that in itself should put us on alert that all is not quite as it seems.  However, at the Montreal 1976 Olympics Onishchenko was a well known competitor having won a silver medal at Munich 4 years earlier.

What his Soviet KBG team had done (for how long?) was construct a special fencing épée.  All that Boris the Cheat had to do was pressed a secret button in the grip to simulate a 'Hit' on his adversary.  Normally a fencer has to actually touch his opponent before the circuit is completed and a hit registered, but Boris only had to wave his sword near his opponent and press his secret button and bingo, he registered a score.  It was Great Britain's Jim Fox who smelt a rat and exposed the "Disonischenko".  Incidentally, Great Britain went on to take the Pentathlon team gold medal. 

Some say that Boris was not only ejected from the competition, but also from a hotel window - by his team mates.  Others say that he would up in a Siberian salt-mine.  Most likely he was promoted to Captain in the KGB.

Princess Anne at the 1976 Olympics

In 1976, Princess Anne was a member of the English equestrian team in the Montreal Olympics.  In the only exception to qualifying standards in Olympic history, she was exempted from the mandatory physical examination.

'The horse is about the only person who does not know you are Royal.'
Princess Anne.  IOC committee member

Despite persistent rumours and urban myths, Princess Anne did not win a medal of any colour at these or any other Olympic Games.

 

Footnote
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See more about The London 2012 Olympic Games:

2012 London Olympics   • 1952 Helsinki Olympics   • 1956 Melbourne Olympics   • 1960 Rome Olympics

1964 Tokyo Olympics   • 1968 Mexico Olympics   • 1972 Munich Olympics   • 1976 Montreal Olympics

1980 Moscow Olympics   • 1984 LA Olympics   • 1988 Seoul Olympics   • 1992 Barcelona Olympics