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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.
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.
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.
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.
Athletes: 1,006 (205 women, 801 men)
Yukio Kasaya, Akitsugu Konno and Seiji Aochi gave the Japanese public a triple in ski jumping, on the 70m jump. It was the first Japanese Olympic title in the Winter Games.
An enormous amount of work had to be done to carve out ski and bobsleigh runs in the mountainside.
The hockey tournament took place without the Canadian team, who had not been taking part in international competitions since 1969. They did not send a team to Sapporo to protest against the covert professionalism rife in the USSR and Eastern Europe.
These were the first Olympic Winter Games organised in Asia.
Sapporo 1972. Opening Ceremony. Arrival of the Olympic Flame.
Official opening of the Games by:
His Majesty Emperor Hirohito
Lighting the Olympic Flame by:
Hideki Takada (schoolboy)
Olympic Oath by:
Keiichi Suzuki (speed skating)
Officials' Oath by:
Japan’s top eight designers put forward their ideas but it was Kazumasa Nagai’s design that was chosen to become the official emblem of the Sapporo Games. It represents the combination of three independent elements- 1) the Rising Sun, symbol of Japan; 2) a snowflake (sketch of the coat of arms of an ancient Japanese family), symbol of winter; 3) the rings with the inscription “Sapporo ’72”.
On the obverse, some lines cast slightly in relief represent the soft, feathery snow, as well as the sharp, pointed ice- evocative of a typical Japanese scene of peace and serenity. The obverse was designed by Kazumi Yagi.
On the reverse side, there is the inscription "XI Olympic Winter Games, Sapporo'72" in English and Japanese and the official emblem of the Games. The reverse was designed by Ikko Tanaka. The medals were made at the Mint Bureau of the Finanace Ministry. 267 medals in total, per category 89, including a number of spare ones.
Number of torchbearers: around 16 300
Total distance: 18 741 km including 335 km in Greece, 66 km in Okinawa and 4 754 km in Japan
Countries crossed: Greece, Okinawa (Under US administration) and Japan
Various well-known Japanese designers were involved in the creation of the posters - the first one was designed by Takashi Kono, the second and third by Yusaku Kamekura and the fourth by Gan Hosoya.
The work “The XI Olympic Winter Games Sapporo 1972: official report” was produced in 1973 as a bilingual French/English publication. The report is the first to contain numerous colour illustrations. There is also a Japanese edition.