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The 1976 Montreal Games were marred by an African boycott involving 22 countries. The boycott was organised by Tanzania to protest the fact that the New Zealand rugby team had toured apartheid South Africa and that New Zealand was scheduled to compete in the Olympic Games.
Women’s events in basketball, rowing and team handball all made their Olympic debut. Hockey was played on an artificial pitch for the first time, and boxer Clarence Hill of Bermuda earned a bronze medal to give Bermuda the honour of being the least populous nation (53,500) ever to have one of its athletes win a medal at the Summer Games.
Alberto Juantorena of Cuba completed the first 400m and 800m double victory. The Japanese women’s volleyball team proved untouchable, winning all their matches in straight sets, and Miklos Németh of Hungary won the javelin to become the first son of an athletics gold medalist to win a gold of his own.
Fourteen-year-old gymnast Nadia Comaneci of Romania was the undoubted star of the Games. She shot to fame when, for her performance on the uneven bars, she was awarded the first-ever perfect score of 10.0. She went on to earn seven maximum marks in total.
Athletes: 6,084 (1,260 women, 4.824 men)
For the Athens to Ottawa stage of the torch relay the Olympic flame travelled by air, but not by plane. Instead, a sensor used to detect ionized particles of the Flame turned them into coded impulses. The impulses were transmitted by satellite to Ottawa where they activated a laser beam which recreated the Olympic flame in its original shape.
Despite there being no African athletes present (they participated in a boycott organised by Tanzania, in which 22 countries came together to protest against a tour of South Africa by the New Zealand national rugby team), the standard of the competitions at the 1976 Olympic Games was very high.
With its 53,500 inhabitants, Bermuda became the most sparsely-populated country to win a medal at the Summer Games, thanks to Clarence Hill who won the bronze medal in boxing in the heavyweight category.
Hockey was played on an artificial pitch for the first time.
Women's events appeared in basketball, handball and rowing.
Montreal 17 July 1976. Flags of the nations during the Olympic oath.
Official opening of the Games by:
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
Stéphane Préfontaine and Sandra Henderson (two athletes aged 16 and 15).
Olympic Oath by:
Pierre Saint-Jean (weightlifting)
Official Oath by:
Maurice Forget (swimming)
It is made up of the Olympic rings mounted on an Olympic podium, which is also the graphic interpretation of the letter M, the initial of Montreal. In the centre, the athletics track, the focal point of the Games. This emblem invokes the universal fraternity offered by the Olympic Ideal, as well as the glory of the winners, the gallant spirit of their battles and the accession of Montreal to the rank of Olympic city.
On the obverse, the design of Guiseppe Cassioli, created for the Amsterdam Games in 1928. The principal symbols are Victory, Fraternity and Universality. The reverse was designed as intentionally bare. It comprises a stylized laurel crown, symbol of victory since the Games of Antiquity, and the emblem of the Montreal Games.
Amik means beaver in Algonquin, a widespread language among the North American Indians in Canada.
Number of torchbearers:
500 in Greece and 261 in Canada
775 km including 514 in Greece
The Games Organising Committee made two main series of posters. The first illustrated eight key themes: - the emblem of the International Olympic Committee (here) : entitled “The Invitation” and representing the five rings reflected symbolically by successive waves, thus inviting the athletes from all the continents to the 1976 Olympic Games. - the emblem of the Organising Committee - Kingston 1976 - Olympia and the Olympic torch carrier - Montreal and Antiquity - the Olympic Stadium - the international youth camp - the mascot The second series illustrates sports.
Published in 1978, the official report “Games of the XXI Olympiad Montreal 1976: official report” exists in French and English. Each of the three sets consists of three volumes (Organization; Facilities; Results).