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The 1972 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XI Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event held in Sapporo, Japan, from 3 to 13 February 1972. A total of 1,006 athletes representing 35 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) participated in 35 events from 10 different sports and disciplines.[1]

Seventeen NOCs won at least one medal and fourteen of them collected at least one gold. The Soviet Union finished at the top of the gold and overall medal counts with 8 and 16, respectively. Along with Norway, the Soviet team also won the most silver medals (5). East Germany, which ended the Games behind the Soviet Union with 14 medals, secured the most bronzes (7). The host nation, Japan, won a record total of three medals (one of each color), which included its first Winter Olympics gold medal.[2]

Three NOCs won a single medal: Canada (silver), Poland and Spain (gold). For the last two, these were their first-ever gold medals at the Winter Olympics,[3] and in the case of Spain, it was its very first medal.[4] This was Canada's weakest result since the 1936 Winter Olympics, when its athletes also brought home a single silver medal.[5] The NOCs from the Republic of China and the Philippines sent athletes to the Winter Olympics for the first time, but failed to win any medals.[6][7]


Main article: 1972 Winter Olympics
A man with short blond hair and blue eyes wearing a red scarf
Ard Schenk won three of the four gold that the Netherlands obtained in speed skating.
A young male figure skater is performing in an ice rink with a crowd in the background stands. He wears a formal black suit with white shirt and black bow tie, and his short hair is well combed.
Ondrej Nepela won for Czechoslovakia its second and last Winter Olympics gold medal.
A middle-aged short-haired blond man with strong complexion is wearing a white polo shirt under a red vest; his eyes are closed and he has glasses hanging from his collar. Other people face stand behind him facing towards the background with some tents and trees.
Wojciech Fortuna (ski jumper), Poland's first Winter Olympics gold medalist

Hosting the Olympic Winter Games for the first time,[1] Japan's record consisted of a single medal: a silver in alpine skiing at the 1956 Winter Olympics.[8] In Sapporo, Yukio Kasaya, Akitsugu Konno, and Seiji Aochi won the ski jumping normal hill (70 m) gold, silver, and bronze medal, respectively. Kasaya's gold was Japan's first-ever at the Winter Games.[2] This result would persist as the country's best for the next 20 years.[9]

Wojciech Fortuna of Poland won the ski jumping's large hill (90 m) event, while Spain's Francisco Fernández Ochoa prevailed in the alpine skiing's men's slalom, thus becoming their respective countries' first Winter Olympic champions.[3] Ochoa's gold medal was also Spain's first medal at the Winter Games.[4] Karen Magnussen's silver in the figure skating singles competition was Canada's sole medal and reflected what was the NOC's weakest performance since the 1936 Winter Games.[5] For the first time in its history, a delegation from Finland concluded its participation at the Winter Olympics without gold medals.[10]

Six Soviet Union medals were won by two cross-country skiers: Galina Kulakova, who took gold in both women's individual distances and in the relay event;[11] and Vyacheslav Vedenin, who won the 30 km—becoming the first Soviet skier to win an individual Olympic title—and the relay events, and came third in the 50 km.[12] East German lugers won eight medals for their NOC by taking every medal in the men's and women's singles, and placing two teams in the top three of the doubles event.[13][14] Paul Hildgartner and Walter Plaikner of Italy were the only non-East German athletes to win a luge medal, as they shared the doubles gold with Horst Hörnlein and Reinhard Bredow.[15] Italy's other gold medal was won by Gustav Thöni in the men's giant slalom;[16] he also took silver in the men's slalom,[17] thus contributing two of his country's five medals. Marie-Theres Nadig skied her way to victory in the women's downhill and giant slalom events,[18] winning half of Switzerland's gold medals and helping her country achieve its best result at that time.[n 1] Two-time world figure skating champion Ondrej Nepela added the Olympic men's singles title to his career and guaranteed Czechoslovakia's second and last gold medal in its Winter Olympics history.[19]

Half of the United States' eight medals were obtained in women's speed skating: Anne Henning won a gold in the 500 m and a bronze in the 1000 m, while Dianne Holum grabbed a gold in the 1500 m and a silver in the 3000 m.[20] Also in this discipline, Ard Schenk (three golds), Stien Baas-Kaiser (one gold and one silver), Atje Keulen-Deelstra (one silver and two bronzes), and Kees Verkerk (one silver) were responsible for all nine medals for the Netherlands.[21] This was the best performance by a Dutch delegation at the Winter Olympics,[n 2] and it took 26 years to be improved, when the Games returned to Japan.[22]

Medal table[edit]

The medal table is based on information provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is consistent with IOC convention in its published medal tables. By default, the table is ordered by the number of gold medals won by an NOC. The number of silver medals is taken into consideration next and then the number of bronze medals. If nations are still tied, equal ranking is given and they are listed alphabetically.

In the doubles event in luge, two gold medals were awarded for a first place tie and, consequently, no silver medal was awarded.[14] This explains the 36 gold and 34 silver medals distributed during the Games.

To sort this table by nation, total medal count, or any other column, click on the icon next to the column title.

      Host country (Japan)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Soviet Union (URS) 8 5 3 16
2  East Germany (GDR) 4 3 7 14
3  Switzerland (SUI) 4 3 3 10
4  Netherlands (NED) 4 3 2 9
5  United States (USA) 3 2 3 8
6  West Germany (FRG) 3 1 1 5
7  Norway (NOR) 2 5 5 12
8  Italy (ITA) 2 2 1 5
9  Austria (AUT) 1 2 2 5
10  Sweden (SWE) 1 1 2 4
11  Japan (JPN) 1 1 1 3
12  Czechoslovakia (TCH) 1 0 2 3
13  Poland (POL) 1 0 0 1
 Spain (ESP) 1 0 0 1
15  Finland (FIN) 0 4 1 5
16  France (FRA) 0 1 2 3
17  Canada (CAN) 0 1 0 1
Total (17 NOCs) 36 34 35 105

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Switzerland also collected a total of 10 medals at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, but it won only three golds versus the four obtained in Sapporo.[23]
  2. ^ The Netherlands summed nine medals in Sapporo, just like at the 1968 Winter Olympics, but won four golds, one more than in Grenoble.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics". Olympic.org. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Japan wins first gold medal; Schenk grabs 2nd". The Modesto Bee. Associated Press. 6 February 1972. p. B-1. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "1972 Sapporo, Japan". Vancouver Now (CBC). 18 December 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Kubatko, Justin. "Francisco Fernández Ochoa biography and Olympic results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Russian finish on top again". The Gazette (Montreal, Canada). 14 February 1972. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Chinese Taipei". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Philippines". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Chiharu Igaya biography and Olympic results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Japanese delegation participation at the Olympic Games". Japanese Olympic Committee. Japanese Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 6 August 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "1972 Sapporo". Finnish Olympic Committee. Finnish Olympic Committee. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  11. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Galina Kulakova biography and Olympic results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  12. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Vyacheslav Vedenin biography and Olympic results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "East Germany captures all luge singles". Sarasota Journal (Sarasota, Florida). Associated Press. 7 February 1972. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Both U.S. gold winners entered in 1,000 sprint". The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. 11 February 1972. p. 24. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  15. ^ Stevenson, Jack (10 February 1972). "Russians praise Henning". The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia). Associated Press. p. 8. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Italian wins giant slalom gold". The Gazette (Montreal, Canada). Canadian Press/Associated Press/UPI. 10 February 1972. p. 26. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "Olympics hail Spain". St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida). Associated Press. 13 February 1972. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  18. ^ Stevenson, Jack (8 February 1972). "Nadig wins 2nd event; U.S. fourth in skating". The Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire). Associated Press. p. 16. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  19. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Ondrej Nepela biography and Olympic results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  20. ^ "Storybook finish for Winter Olympics". The Tuscaloosa News (Tuscaloosa, Alabama). Associated Press. 14 February 1972. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
  21. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Netherlands speed skating at the 1972 Winter Olympics". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Kubatko, Justin. "Netherlands". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 28 July 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  23. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Switzerland". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Winter_Olympics_medal_table — Please support Wikipedia.
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