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Athens 2004

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Security, understandably, was obsessive in Montreal but the threat to the Olympic movement came this time not from terrorism but from Africa.

Angered by a New Zealand rugby tour of South Africa, suspended from the Olympic movement because of its racial separation policies, 24 African and Caribbean nations walked out of the Games.

The world was accordingly denied a classic 1,500 metres race between New Zealand's John Walker, the eventual winner, and his predecessor as world mile record holder, Tanzanian Filbert Bayi.

Finn Lass Viren repeated his Munich double and the giant Cuban Albert Juantorena completed a rare 400m-800m double. Korbut turned up in Montreal but was eclipsed by 14-year-old Romanian Nadia Comaneci, who scored the first maximum 10.0 points at the Olympics on the first day of competition.

Before Montreal, East German women had not won a single swimming Olympic gold. Headed by Kornelia Ender, who set three world records, they won 11 of the 13 titles at stake. Meticulous scientific preparation and unprecedented attention to detail were the reasons given at the time. Documents available after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 revealed drugs systematically administered by the state had played a significant part.

For the first time the host nation failed to win a gold medal and the citizens of Quebec were landed with a bill they are paying off to this day.



** In view of the terrorist attack in the 1972 Games at Munich, for the first time in the Olympics elaborate security arrangements were made in the 1976 Games which cost an additional $100 million.

** The torch for the 1976 Games was brought into the stadium by two 15-year olds, a boy and a girl - Stephane Prefontaine of French stock and Sandra Henderson of English descent, which signified Canada's joint heritage. Interestingly, the pair were married some years later.

** Romanian female gymnast Nadia Comaneci during the 1976 Games became the first to achieve the first-ever maximum 10.00 marks in the Olympics. She ended the Games with a total of seven maximums.

** The finals of the 1976 women's gymnastics event attracted a record crowd of 18,000.

** Austrian-born Italian Klaus Dibiasi, competing in his fourth Games in 1976, became the first diver to gain three consecutive gold medals.

** Cuban Alberto Juantorena became the first man to win the 400m/800m Olympic double in the 1976 track and field events.

** Hungarian Miklos Nemeth who won the gold in the javelin in 1976 emulated his father Imre Nemeth who had won the hammer throw in the 1948 Games. They remain the only father and son in track and field to win gold medals.

** American Margaret Murdock became the first women to win a shooting medal (a silver) in the small-bore rifle event during the 1976 Games

** Italian show jumpers Raimondo and Piero D'Inzeo set an unprecedented record by competing in their eighth Games - from 1948 to 1976. ** In the 1976 Games West Germany's Alwin Schockemohle became the only third rider in the history of the Games to win a jumping title without any faults.

** Soviet Union's basketball player Iuliana Semenova at 2.18m (7ft 1 in) in 1976 became the tallest female to appear in the Olympic Games. She also remains the tallest athlete (male or female) to win a gold medal.

** The revenge men's baskeball match between Soviet Union and the USA did not take place as the former were beaten by Yugoslavia in the semi-finals.

** Canada in 1976 gained the unhappy distinction of being the only host country not to win a single gold medal. They won 5 silver and six bronze medals!


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