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The 1976 Games had been awarded to Denver, but the people of the state of Colorado voted to prohibit public funds from being used to support the Games. Innsbruck offered to step in and its offer was accepted by the IOC Executive Board. The city had previously hosted the Winter Games 12 years earlier.
The most memorable image of the Games was local hero Franz Klammer flying wildly down the downhill course, barely in control, on his way to a gold medal. Rosi Mittermaier of West Germany won two of the three Alpine skiing events and almost became the first woman to win all three. But in the final race, Canada’s Kathy Kreiner beat her by 12 hundredths of a second.
Ice dancing debuted as a full medal discipline and was dominated by the Russians. In figure skating, American Terry Kubicka performed a back flip - the first time in the history of figure skating this dangerous move had been successfully performed.
British figure skater John Curry tended to emphasise grace and artistic expression over athleticism, an approach that had cost him points with the judges in the past. But in Innsbruck he combined his natural elegance with a series of stunning jumps and was rewarded with the highest points total in the history of men's figure skating.
Athletes: 1,123 (231 women, 892 men)
The Games had been awarded to the city of Denver but the city withdrew on 15 November 1972 following a referendum which rejected the building of Olympic facilities for ecological reasons. Innsbruck offered to step in. It was accepted by the IOC as host city of these Games on 4 February 1973.
This was the second time the Games had taken place in this city, the first being in 1964. For this reason, two Olympic cauldrons were lit.
Olympic debut for ice dancing.
For the first time in the history of figure skating, a competitor (Terry Kubicka, USA) attempted, and succeeded, a dangerous back flip.
4 February 1976: There were two Olympic cauldrons, to celebrate not only the present Games but also the previous time they had been held in Innsbruck, 1964.
Official opening of the Games by:
President Dr Rudolf Kirschschläger
Lighting of the Olympic Flame by:
Two cauldrons were lit as a symbol of Winter Games being held twice in Innsbruck. The cauldron of 1964 was lit by Christl Haas (Alpine skiing) and the 1976 cauldron was ignited by Josef Feistmantl (luge).
Olympic Oath by:
Werner Delle-Karth (bobsleigh)
Officials' Oath by:
Willy Köstinger (Nordic combined)
The emblem represents the coat of arms of the city of Innsbruck, showing the bridge on the Inn which gives the city its name. The bridge and the five Olympic rings symbolize the link between the various peoples and the ties of friendship binding the young athletes of all nations for whom Innsbruck was once again a meeting place in 1976.
As was the case for the 1964 Innsbruck Games, the winners’ medal was created by the Viennese artist Martha Coufal-Hartl. The medals were produced by the Austrian mint in Vienna.
The obverse depicts the emblem of the Games (the same as the 1964 Games), comprising the Olympic rings and the coat of arms of the city showing the bridge on the Inn which gives the city of Innsbruck its name. For centuries, this bridge has been the link between the old town and the Hötting district. It symbolizes friendship and the people of the world coming together.
Schneemann means snowman in German.
Number of torchbearers: unknown
Total distance: 1 618 km in Austria
Countries crossed: Greece, Austria
Guided by the principle of not showing one sporting discipline in particular, Arthur Zelger the designer of the poster created a neutral poster, showing a skate, a common feature of winter sports. This skate symbolizes all the disciplines found in the Winter Games: a ski run, a sledge or bobsleigh and the blade of a skate. The white rectangle on the tip makes the “I” of Innsbruck. On the right, in the background, the coloured peaks symbolize the Tyrolean mountains.
Entitled “Final report”, the official report of the XII Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck 1976, was the first one published in a trilingual version – French, English and German.