Basketball at the 1972 Summer Olympics

Basketball at the 1972 Summer Olympics

Final results for the Basketball competition at the 1972 Summer Olympics. It was held from August 27 to September 9 at the Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle.

Medal summary



Gold Medal Match controversy

The 1972 Olympic men's basketball gold medal game, marking the first ever loss for Team USA in Olympic play, is arguably the most controversial in Olympic history. The United States rode their seven consecutive gold medals and 63-0 Olympic record to Munich for the 1972 Summer Olympics. The team won its first eight games in convincing fashion, setting up a final against the Soviet Union.

With three seconds left in the gold medal game, American guard Doug Collins sank two free throws to put the Americans up 50-49. The horn that would normally signal the end of the game erroneously sounded before Collins's second free throw. Immediately following Collins's free throws, the Soviets inbounded the ball and failed to score in those three seconds. But one official had whistled play to stop with one second remaining after hearing the earlier horn and seeing a disturbance near the scorers' table. The Soviets then argued that they had requested a timeout before Collins' foul shots. The referees ordered the clock reset and the game's final three seconds replayed. The clock was in the process of being reset when the referees put the ball in play. A length-of-the-court Soviet pass missed its mark, the horn sounded, and the USA again began celebrating.

However, R. William Jones, secretary general of FIBA, ordered the clock to be reset again at 0:03 and the game replayed from that point. Jones had no authority to make a ruling during a game, but his power in the sport was such that the officials complied with the order anyway. He was quoted later as saying, "The Americans have to learn how to lose." This time, the Soviet team's Ivan Edeshko threw the long pass. Aleksandr Belov and the USA's Kevin Joyce and Jim Forbes went up for the pass at the foul line. Belov caught the ball and threw his elbows, sending the two Americans sprawling. Belov then drove to the basket for the layup, scoring the winning points as the horn sounded for the last time.

The U.S. team immediately filed a protest, which was heard by a five-man jury of appeal. In a 3-2 decision divided along Cold War lines (Puerto Rico and Italy voted to uphold the appeal, while Hungary, Cuba and Poland voted to reject it), the jury voted down the protest and awarded the gold medals to the Soviet team. [ [ 10 Olympic Controversies - Sports - Book of Lists - Canongate Home ] ] The U.S. players voted unanimously to refuse their silver medals. The team and coaching staff refused to participate in the medals ceremony, and the public address announcer said over the loudspeaker that "The United States team refuses to accept the silver medal. They believe they deserve the gold." To this day, none of the players on that squad have requested their silver medals; in fact, several members have directed in their wills that their heirs are never to accept the medals, even posthumously. [ [] ]

In recent years, FIBA has instituted more stringent rules for international competitions to attempt prevention of similar incidents again:

* Only the coach may call the time-out.
** Must be called to the scorer and not the referee.
** Scorer will stop the clock and signal the time-out upon the dead ball or concession of field goal.
* A time-out can only be awarded upon:
** A dead ball
** When the calling team concedes a field goal.
*** It will not be awarded if the team calling the time-out scores.
* The game clock must register tenths of seconds in the final minute of a period.
* Starting in 1992, a duplicate game clock must be on top of the shot clock.
** As of 2004, the game shot clock must be seen by players and coaches on three sides.
* A whistle-stop unit must be installed where the officials can stop the clock on the sound of their whistle, as of 2004.
* As of 2006, the use of instant replay is permitted on last-second shots.


External links

* [ "ESPN Classic" account of the gold medal game]

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