1972 Olympic basketball - USA vs USSR

Discussion in 'NBA' started by Lance Alworth, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Lance Alworth

    Lance Alworth Mentor

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    I don't know what made me think of this today. But for whatever reason the 1972 Olympic basketball game between the US and Russia popped into my head. As most of you probably know, the Russian team got like 5 different tries to end the game before they were able to finally able to put it in. The silver medals to this day sit unclaimed in a vault in Switzerland.

    I honestly have kind of mixed feelings about this. I think the US should have been declared the winner of this game and that the officiating was indeed horrible. However, it doesn't really bother me much as the US team was mostly black and the Russians were all white so I'm sort of glad they lost.

    What were you guys opinions on this game?
     
  2. jaxvid

    jaxvid Hall of Famer

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    Here's a pic of that team (I believe) it looks like 6 of the 12 were white. So yeah I think they were cheated. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    I was looking for a good video of the game on YouTube but couldn't find any. This one is probably the best as it shows what happened though it has Russian narration and the footage is grainy and black and white.


    As I remember the U.S. team thought time had run out and they had won and were celebrating but then the officials ruled that there were still three seconds left. A Russian threw the ball inbounds the length of the court and a teammate caught it and laid it in for the win. There were two Americans guarding the Russian who caught the ball but they did their best Curley and Shemp imitation as defenders on the play.


    This game is to the Russians as the "Miracle on Ice" in Lake Placid in 1980 is to Americans. The U.S. had never before lost an Olympic basketball game. The complaining in the aftermath by the U.S. team and the corporate media that the Americans had been cheated was very bitter and prolonged.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqCXSSJHwU0&feature=relat ed
     
  4. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    Another thing I remember about that game is that Doug Collins was the best player for the U.S. team.
     
  5. Lance Alworth

    Lance Alworth Mentor

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    I couldn't find any decent footage of the game either. The only white player I remember seeing on the court for that team was Doug Collins. The reason I brought this up is because I wasn't around back in 1972 and I was wondering if this was a case of a team being cheated, or just more typical black whining as I know they have refused to accept the silver medals
     
  6. white tornado

    white tornado Mentor

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    the U.S. team was cheated. The clock had run out and ther game should have been over.
     
  7. white is right

    white is right Hall of Famer

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    The US had a case, their sour grapes, has made those silver medals valuable. I heard that some of the players want those medals now, but the team needs a unanimous vote to get their medals. I suspect the well off players don't want the medals and the more impoverished do.
     
  8. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Does anyone remember or know why the officials ruled there was still three seconds left?Even with the ruling, the odds of the Soviets pulling out a win, given that they had to go the length of the court and score in that time frame, were astronomically against them. It was an amazing play, helped considerably by the "defense" ofthe ebony and ivory U.S. duopositioned by the basket.
     
  9. white is right

    white is right Hall of Famer

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    I think the clock never started so the play never happened. It was pretty keystone cops like behavior.
     
  10. jaxvid

    jaxvid Hall of Famer

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    From Wikipedia (below), actually the Russians were given TWO chances to win, after missing the first the clock was reset and the in bounds pass was done AGAIN. It was joke of an ending.

    Gold medal game controversy
    The 1972 Olympics marked the first time that the United States did not win the gold medal in Olympic basketball since the sport's introduction as an official medal event at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

    It was perhaps the most controversial result in Olympic history. The United States basketball team had been unbeaten in 62 Olympic competitions. Then they met the Soviets in the 1972 gold medal game.

    USA guard Doug Collins sank two foul shots late in the game, giving the Americans a 50-49 lead with three seconds remaining and what looked like the gold medal.

    The Soviets inbounded the ball right away but the referee, Renato Righetto of Brazil, blew the whistle with one second on the clock.

    Following a conference with the officials, it was determined that the Soviet head coach Vladimir Kondrashin had called a time out. The Soviets were given a second opportunity to inbound the ball with three seconds left. After a Soviet player heaved a desperation miss from half court, the U.S. began their celebration, which proved to be grossly premature. The Soviet coach, Kondrashin, protested that the clock had been reset incorrectly and demanded a third chance.

    The Soviet team received the ball, and this time got the ball to their star player Aleksandr Belov, who sank the winning basket at the buzzer. The U.S. team, convinced they were robbed of the gold, flatly refused the silver and did not attend the victory ceremony, filing an official protest. On appeal, the five-man panel ruled the result fair despite testimony from the referee and the timekeeper pointing to the contrary; the 3-2 vote was split along Cold War lines.

    Here was the US team
    Kenneth Bryan Davis
    Doug Collins
    Thomas Edward Henderson
    Michael Allen Bantom
    Robert Clyde Jones
    Dwight Elmo Jones
    James Ricardo Forbes
    James Turner Brewer
    Tommy Burleson
    Charles Thomas McMillen
    Kevin Francis Joyce
    William Edward Ratleff
     
  11. Lance Alworth

    Lance Alworth Mentor

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    Actually they were given 3. First, the US had it won, but the Russians called time out. The second chance was when the clock never officially started. The third was when the one Russian rocketed the ball down the court and hit Alexander Belov with a perfect pass and he was able to put it in.

    EDIT: I re-read the post above. I consider the timeout to be one of their chances it appeared it was called late after the game had already ended.Edited by: Lance Alworth
     

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