Summer Olympic Games 1972: Opening Ceremony


A new category for my blog has been opened: sport. And this come in the shape of Summer Olympic Games, in a rather mediatic year: 1972, held in Munich, West Germany

A year with big achievements, such as american swimmer Mark Spitz‘s unprecedent run of seven consecutive gold medals, finnish athlete Lasse Viren‘s staggering victories in the 5 000 metres and 10 000 metres and soviet athlete Valery Larzov’s impressive wins in the 100 metres and 200 metres. The mass-media hysteria was never as high as that year: all for soviet gymnast Olga Korbut that cativated the audience with her graciousness (eventhough she failed to win a gold medal in the individual all-around due to a bad exercise on the uneven bars). but also with scandals such as the basketball game between USSR and USA (a game won by the former after several issues with the final time of the game). And a massacre that shocked the world and almost (if not totally) shattered the peacefull image of the Summer Olympic Games 1972:

But the focus for this post is the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games 1972 (a edition that has also made its 40th birthday a couple of months ago), starting with the first part:

It all started with the stadium announcer, Joachim Fuschberger (journalist and TV-presenter), giving the greetings to all the participating countries. Next was the arrival of the german president Gustav Heinemann, as well as the president of the german Olympic Committee, Willy Daume and the president of the international Olympic Comitee, Avery Brundage

After the national hymn of West Germany is heard, one of the greatest traditions of an Olympic Games opening cermony starts: the “Parade of the Nations”. A record breaking number of 121 countries were participating at the time, with countries such as Albania, North Korea and Saudi Arabia making their debuts. Besides the music, professionally played, a big moment in my opinion was to see a few countries, like East Germany and Colombia, having their women athletes not wearing clothes that would ressemble a airplane stewardess (eventhough some of the countries’ formal wearing for women looked nice), but rather more casual clothing for that time

The second part starts with the salute of the youth, preceeded by the Olympic Fanfare. Then the first speeches come from the presidents of the german and international Olympic CommitteesWilly Daume and Avery Brundage (the latter attempting to speak in german, although quite broken. He tried his best, though). From one to another, german president Gustav Heinemann declared officially the opening of the Summer Olympic Games 1972

After another highlight moment in a opening (flying the Olympic Flag), there’s a mix of reminiscence with the present (1972) with a lot of dance and acrobatics done by dancers in a fusion of mexican and bavarian folklore (Mexico was the previous host country of the Summer Olympic Games in 1968) as we see the traditional flag being handed over. The music folklore tradition of Germany is also portrayed by the musicians that come after the dancers. Tender and edgy moments come respectively forward in the sape of the doves flight and to the salute fireworks, before the next highlight of the opening: the lighting of the Olympic Torch, done by Günter Zahn (before that, he was accompained by four athletes from all over the world)

Some minutes left for the ending of the ceremony and there’s still one thing to do: the Olympic Oath. German athlete Heidi Schüller does the oath in the name of the athletes (with a french and english voice-over continuity translating her words), while german refree Heinz Pollay does the oath in the name of the refrees. The ceremony comes to an end after a last act: the appearance of the Apollon Oracle “Ekecheirija”

This opening ceremony might not be the big and elaborated spectacle that is done nowadays (by the way, I might comment the latest Summer Olympic Games’s opening ceremony from 2012 soon), but it’s still an example of what could be done at the time with all the latest technology equipments of the time (something that Germany excelled at that time, together with other european countries and also USA. No wonder: they had colour transmissions since 1967, so it would be expected ) and with all its simplicity, without being too over-the-top

One more rarity – the Olympic Fanfare on the official TV-intro card for the german transmissions of the Summer Olympic Games 1972:

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 8 de October de 2012, in Sport. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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