1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck

Originally the Olympiad was supposed to be held in the United States, in Denver. However, the city’s residents voted against hosting the games in a referendum, so the Olympic Committee was in a difficult situation. As a result, Innsbruck, already hosting them in 1964, agreed to host the Olympic Games.

1,123 people from 37 countries took part in the Winter Olympics. Competitions were held in ten sports disciplines: alpine skiing, bobsleigh, speed skating, biathlon, ski jumping, toboggan, ski racing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, hockey. According to the results of the Olympiad, athletes from the Soviet Union won 13 gold, 6 silver and 8 bronze awards. Second place went to the GDR with 7 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze medals. Representatives of the United States got the third place — 3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals.

One of the most spectacular competitions at the Winter Olympics is always hockey. Unfortunately, in Innsbruck the team of Canada, boycotting games, so in the final for the right to be named the strongest team of the world was fought by eternal rivals — teams of the USSR and Czechoslovakia. The beginning of the meeting was not in favor of hockey players from the USSR, already in the first half they lost 0-2. They managed to win back in the second half, but in the third, eight minutes before the end, the Czechs came forward again. However, their expectations were not destined to come true – goals from Alexander Yakushev and Valery Kharlamov allowed the team from the USSR to become champions for the fourth time in a row. Czechs got the second place, the third was taken by athletes from Germany.

Soviet athletes and in figure skating performed well. Gold in pair skating was won by Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev, victory in ice dancing was won by Lyudmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov. In men’s singles skating silver went to Vladimir Korolev, who lost only superbly to the British John Curry. The women’s gold medal was deservedly won by American Dorothy Hamill.

Successful games were also for Soviet skiers. The 30-kilometer race was won by Sergei Saveliev, with Nikolai Bazhukov and Evgeny Belyaev taking the top two places in the 15-kilometer race. In the team race the team of the Soviet Union managed to win bronze, gold was won by athletes from Finland.

Raisa Smetanina was the first women in the 10 kilometre ski race, won gold by the Soviet girls and in the relay. The

gold medal was taken to the USSR and biathletes — in the individual race for 20 kilometers Nikolay Kruglov became the first, was not equal to the Soviet athletes and in the relay.

Winter Olympics 1976 became one of the most successful athletes from the USSR and forever became the history of Soviet and Russian sports.

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