Due to the tragedy at the 1972 Olympics, the Montreal games were subject to rigorous security measures and flawless organization which became the trademark of the XXI. Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Political tensions again found an outlet in sports.
Time and Place: Montreal (Canada): 17 July – 1 August 1976
Other candidates: Los Angeles and Moscow
Participation: 92 countries, 6084 athletes
Number of sports: 21 sports, 198 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 8
Fire lit by: Stephane Prefontaine and Sandra Henderson (athletes aged 16 and 15)
Games opened by: Queen Elizabeth II
Olympic oath: Pierre Saint-Jean (weight lifter)
Trivia from the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympic Games
The Montreal Games were boycotted by many African nations and their supporters. They demanded New Zealand to be excluded because their rugby team played in the Republic of South Africa. RSA was excluded a number of years ago due to racial discrimination. Nevertheless, the organizers invested massive amounts of money in the Games and they were a success, predominantly due to flawless organization.
The incredible gymnast Nadia Comaneci added a special treat to the Games as the first in history to receive a perfect 10. The 14-year old Romanian became the favorite of the Montreal crowd. She won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze one. Successful gymnasts included Nicolai Andrianov and Nelli Kim.
The swimming pools were the staging ground for an exceptional battle between swimmers from the German Democratic Republic and the United States of America. The great battle was thwarted only by Briton David Wilkie and Marina Kosheveya (USSR). The other 24 gold medals were divided among swimmers from the aforementioned nations with Americans edging ahead with 13. In the overall medal count, Americans came third behind athletes from the Soviet Union and the GDR.
The track and field stadium greatly suffered from the absence of African athletes. The balance of power thus shifted quite dramatically. The Finnish runner Lasse Viren rose to fame and won the 5 and 10 km runs and a fifth place in the marathon, coming close to repeating the achievement of the legendary Emil Zatopek from 1952. In the decathlon, American Bruce Jenner won with a new world record. The women's 400 meter world record time was broken by Polish runner Irena Szewinska, who chose the moment to end her active career after appearing in four Olympics.
Slovenians and the 1976 Summer Olympics
The 86-strong Yugoslavian contingent to Montreal included 8 Slovenian athletes. The best results were achieved in team sports. The "Slovenized" Croatian basketball player Vinko Jelovac was a proud member of the silver medal winning basketball team which lost only to the USA. Vlado Bojovič achieved fifth place with the handball team.