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Top Ten Olympic Controversies-Basketball and the Extra Shot

Updated on September 21, 2011
Basketball High Stakes
Basketball High Stakes

Olympic Basketball

Ever since basketball was introduced into the Olympic schedule at the 1936 Berlin game, teams from the United states had gone undefeated, winning 62 straight games over a 36 year period.... until the 1972 final against the USSR.

This was still the age before professionals were allowed in the Olympic Games,and with the best US college players missing from their squad,the Americans were hard pressed against the Soviets seasoned veterans.

Time Outs

The USA were always behind in the match until the last three seconds of the game where they led by the narrowest of margins at 50 -49. Then two seconds later, the head referee, noting a commotion at the scoring table decided to call for an administrative time out.Mean while all the officials in charge had failed to notice that the Soviet coach, Vladimir Kondrashkin, had called a time out.So with just one second remaining on the clock the USSR were awarded it's time out.When the game finally resumed the Russians inbounded the ball as the clock ran down to zero.The joyous US players began leaping around in celebration of their victory.

Play it Again Sam

After much discussion,the British secretary-general of the International Amateur Basketball Federation,R William Jones, ordered the clock to be put back a full three seconds, the amount of time left when Vladimir Kondrashkin originally tried to call time out for his team.From the re-start the Soviet player Ivan Edsheko threw a long pass up the court to Sasha Belov, who duly scored the winning basket,and now it was the turn of the USSR team to celebrate victory.

Final score
Final score

US Protests and Appeals

Immediately there were protests from the American camp, after the bizarre and confusing ruling from the Olympic officials. Eventually their protest was heard by a five man jury of appeals. Three members of the jury were from communist countries,and not surprisingly all three voted to give the victory to the USSR.This left the final vote at 3-2, the United States lost an Olympic basketball game for the first time in their history.


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