Winter Olympics Through the Years: 1972

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff


The biggest controversy in the 48–year history of the Winter Games erupted just three days before the opening ceremonies were scheduled to get underway in northern Japan. That's when retiring IOC president Avery Brundage threatened to disqualify 40 Alpine skiers for professionalism.

At Grenoble in 1968, Brundage had demanded that all trademarks be removed from competitors' skis, but settled for having the offensive skis taken away from medal winners before they could be photographed. Now, the 84–year-old guardian of the Olympic flame wanted all the pros thrown out.

A compromise was reached when the IOC executive committee voted 28–14 to make an example of skiing's most commercialized star, 33-year-old Austrian World Cup champion Karl Schranz, who reportedly earned over $50,000 a year “testing” ski equipment.

All other offenders were allowed to participate.

Said Schranz after being banished: “This thing of amateur purity is something that dates back to the 19th century when amateur sportsmen were regarded as gentlemen and everyone else was an outcast. The Olympics should be a competition of skill and strength and speed—and no more.”

Schranz retired after the Games, having never won an Olympic gold medal.

The amateurism question caused controversy in the ice hockey event as well. Canada refused to send a team to Sapporo, having withdrawn from international amateur competition in 1969 to protest use of “professional amateurs” by Russia and other eastern bloc countries.

Top 10 Standings

National medal standings are not recognized by the IOC. The unofficial point totals are based on 3 points for a gold medal, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze. Total medals are in parentheses.

1USSR (16)85337
2East Germany (14)43725
3Switzerland (10)43321
 Norway (12)25521
5Holland (9)43220
6USA (8)32316
7West Germany (5)31112
8Italy (5)22111
9Austria (5)1229
 Finland (5)0419

Leading Medal Winners

Number of individual medals won on the left; gold, silver and bronze breakdown to the right.


No SportG-S-B
3Ard Schenk, NEDSp. Skate3-0-0
3Vyacheslav Vedenine, USSRX-country2-0-1
3Pål Tyldum, NORX-country1-2-0
2Fedor Simashov, USSRX-country1-1-0
2Gustav Thöni, ITAAlpine1-1-0
2Wolfgang Zimmerer, W. Ger.Bobsled1-0-1
2Peter Utzschneider, W. Ger.Bobsled1-0-1
2Jean Wicki, SWIBobsled1-0-1
2Edy Hubacher, SWIBobsled1-0-1
2Roar Grönvold, NORSp. Skate0-2-0
2Ivar Formo, NORX-country0-1-1
2Johs Harviken, NORX-country0-1-1
2Hansjorg Knauthe, E. Ger.Biathlon0-1-1
2Wolfram Fiedler, E. Ger.Luge0-0-2
2Sten Stensen, NORSp. Skate0-0-2


No SportG-S-B
3Galina Kulakova, USSRX-country3-0-0
3Marjatta Kajosmaa, FINX-country0-2-1
2Marie-Theres Nadig, SWIAlpine2-0-0
2Dianne Holum, USASp. Skate1-1-0
2Christina Baas-Kaiser, NEDSp. Skate1-1-0
2Alevtina Olunina, USSRX-country1-1-0
2Anne Henning, USASp. Skate1-0-1
2Annemarie Pröll, FRAAlpine0-2-0
2Atje Keulen-Deelstra, NEDSp. Skate0-1-1

Alpine Skiing


Event  Time
DownhillBernhard Russi, SWI1:51.43
SlalomFrancisco Ochoa, SPA1:49.27
G.SlalomGustav Thöni, ITA3:09.62


Event  Time
DownhillMarie-Theres Nadig, SWI1:36.68
SlalomBarbara Cochran, USA1:31.24
G.SlalomMarie-Theres Nadig, SWI1:29.90


Event MTAdj.Time
20 kmMagnar Solberg, NOR21:15:55.50
4x7.5kmUSSR (Tikonov, Safine, Biakov,


Event  Time
2-ManW. Ger. (Wolfgang Zimmerer
& Peter Utzschneider)
4-ManSWI (Jean Wicki, Edy Hubacher, Hans
Leutenegger, Werner Camichel)

Figure Skating

Event  Points
MenOndrej Nepela, CZE2739.1
WomenTrixi Schuba, AUT2751.5
PairsIrina Rodnina & Aleksei Ulanov, USSR420.4

Ice Hockey

Group A

(Overall records in parentheses)

1USSR (4-0-1)54-0-193313
2USA (4-2-0)53-2-061815
3Czechoslovakia (4-2-0)53-2-062613
4Sweden (3-2-1)52-2-151713
5Finland (3-3-0)52-3-041424
6Poland (1-5-0)50-5-00939
Note: Pivotal game—USSR over Czech., 5–2, in final contest for both teams. The 5–1 U.S. victory over the Czechs gave the Americans second place. Also, the USSR received a bye to Group A while the other seven teams had to win a one-game elimination round to qualify.



Event  Time
1-SeatWolfgang Scheidel, E. Ger.3:27.58
2-Seat(TIE) Horst Hörnlein
& Reinhard Bredow, E. Ger.
 Paul Hildgartner
& Walter Plaikner, ITA


Event  Time
1-SeatAnna-Maria Müller, E. Ger.2:59.18

Nordic Skiing


Cross Country

Event  Time
15kmSven-Ake Lundbäck, SWE45:28.24
30kmVyachelav Vedenine, USSR 1:36:31.15
50kmPål Tyldum, NOR2:43:14.75
4x10kmUSSR (Voronkov, Skobov, Simachev,

Ski Jumping

Event  Points
70mYukio Kasaya, JPN244.2
90mWojciech Fortuna, POL219.9

Nordic Combined

Event Points
15km/JumpUlrich Wehling, E. Ger.413.340


Cross Country

Event  Time
5kmGalina Kulakova, USSR17:00.50
10kmGalina Kulakova, USSR34:17.82
3x5kmUSSR (Moukhatcheva, Olunina,

Speed Skating


Event  Time  
500mErhard Keller, W. Ger.39.44OR
1500mArd Schenk, NED2:02.96OR
5000mArd Schenk, NED7:23.61 
10,000mArd Schenk, NED15:01.35OR


Event  Time  
500mAnne Henning, USA43.33OR
1000mMonika Pflug, W. Ger.1:31.40OR
1500mDianne Holum, USA2:20.85OR
3000mChristina Baas-Kaiser, NED4:52.14OR
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