Innsbruck 1976 Winter Olympic Games

After only twelve years, the Winter Olympics returned to Innsbruck where athletes competed for the highest places from 4 to 15 February 1976.


Time and Place: Innsbruck (Austria), 4 – 15 February 1976
Participation: 37 countries, 1123 athletes
Number of sports: 8 sports, 37 events
Number of Slovenian athletes: 26
Fire lit by: Cristl Hass (alpine skier) and Josef Feistmantl (luger)
Games opened by: Rudolf Kirschläger (President of Austria)
Olympic oath: Wetner Delle Karth (bobsled)


Trivia from the Innsbruck 1976 Winter Olympic Games

 Candidates for organizing the Games included Sion, Are and Vancouver, but the primary candidate for the Games was Denver. However, the local population of the state of Colorado stopped the Games by vote at a referendum. Innsbruck thus again stepped in to hold the Games after only twelve years. The Austrians merely modernized their facilities and symbolized the second Games by lighting two Olympic fires at the stadium. They were lit by alpine skier Christl Haas and luger Josef Feistmantl.


Olympic heights


The Austrian fans expected a rather sizeable collection of medals and ended up rather disappointed with only six. They were however thoroughly pleased with the spectacular win of Franz Klammer. The alpine skier from Carinthia carried on despite massive pressure and won the gold in downhill skiing with a bold run. In women's competition, German Rosi Mittermaier took the leading role, winning in downhill and slalom and taking second place in the giant slalom.


The Games were marked by the exceptional results of athletes from the USSR. The Germans, Americans and Norwegians together managed to win as many gold medals as athletes from the USSR. The most notable appearances were those of cross country skier Raisa Smetanina, speed skater Tatiana Averina and biathlete Nikolai Kruglov.


The USSR hockey team also managed to win the hockey tournament for the fourth time in a row.

Ice skating made its Olympic debut at Innsbruck and was mostly dominated by the Russians. In figure skating, American Terry Kubicka performed the daring and dangerous backflip for the first time.