Sapporo 1972

The subject of amateurism stirred controversy at the Sapporo 1972 Games. Austrian skier Karl Schranz was declared ineligible because he had allowed his name and photo to be used in commercial advertising, but full-time ice hockey players from Communist nations were allowed to compete.

Japan’s jump joy

Before the Sapporo Games, Japan had never won a gold medal in the Olympic Winter Games. But in the normal hill ski-jumping event, Yukio Kasaya led from start to finish to claim gold. His team-mates Akitsugu Konno and Seiji Aochi won the silver and bronze to complete the Japanese clean sweep.

Triple champions

Cross country skier Galina Kulakova of the USSR won the 5km and 10km events and anchored the Soviet relay team to victory. Ard Schenk of the Netherlands won three speed skating golds in convincing fashion. Such was his popularity in the Netherlands that a flower was named in his honour: Crocus chrysanthus Ard Schenk.

Spanish first

The biggest surprise of the Games was the victory of 21-year-old "Paquito" Fernandez Ochoa, who won the slalom by a full second. His gold medal was the first ever to be won by a Spanish athlete in the Olympic Winter Games.

NOCs 35
Athletes 1,006 (205 women, 801 men)
Events 35

Ελληνικές Συμμετοχές: 0
Flag bearer: Dimas Pyrros
Team Captain: