London 2012

1972 - Munich

Last Updated: 20/06/12 1:42pm

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The tragic events at the Olympic Village completely overshadowed American swimmer Mark Spitz's incredible seven gold medals to go with the two he had earned in 1968.

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The largest Games to date took place in Germany, but ten days into the event eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village, killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine more hostage.

In an ensuing battle all nine Israeli hostages were killed, as were five of the terrorists and one policeman.

Unforgettable images of the event brought shock and horror to the world, and the Olympics were suspended and a memorial service was held in the main stadium.

The International Olympic Committee then ordered the competitions to resume after a pause of 34 hours, insisting that 'The games must go on!' in spite of the terrorist attack.

Those events completely overshadowed what was an historic performance from American swimmer Mark Spitz, who bagged an incredible seven gold medals to go with the two he had earned in 1968.

Media darling of the Games though was tiny Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut, whose dramatic cycle of success in the team competition, failure in the individual competition and renewed success in the apparatus finals captured the attention of fans worldwide.

Britain's Mary Rand (formerly Peters) won gold in the pentathlon after her silver in 1964.

Germany's Ulrike Meyfarth, aged just 16, became the youngest person of either sex to win an individual event when she took gold in the high jump.

Liselott Linsenhoff was the first female to win an equestrian gold with his victory in the dressage, while the archery event returns to the Olympic programme after an absence of 52 years.Olympic Stars:

Olga Korbut had huge highs and massive lows during the Munich Games, with success in the team competition followed by a tearful response to a poor showing on the uneven bars during the individual final.

However, she lifted herself for the apparatus finals where she performed a rare backward somersault on the beam to claim one of three golds. It was the emotion with which she gave performances, something hardly seen from eastern European gymnasts, that shot her to stardom.

Lasse Viren resurrected the performances of the great 'Flying Finns' of the past as he captured both the 5,000 and 10,000m titles - the latter coming after a 12th-lap fall had seem him lose over 30 metres on the rest of the field.

Viren got up to catch the field and launch a stinging attack 600m from home that brought the field to their knees, before following up with the 5,000m title a week later. And for good measure he retained both titles four years later in Montreal.

Mark Spitz is a name everyone remembers after his record-breaking performances in Munich when he landed seven gold medals and also picked up seven world records in the process.

The American, being Jewish, was forced to leave the Olympics early as fears grew that he could be an additional target of any further terrorist act. Despite being just 22, Spitz retired soon after Munich with nine Olympic medals in total.

Sawao Kato is one of the most successful athletes of all time with eight gold medals - three of which came in Munich but the gymnast was undoubtedly overshadowed by Olga Korbut's display in the same discipline.

Kato was part of the Japanese team that defended their Olympic title, while he also claimed all-round and parallel bars gold, while adding silvers on the high bar and pommel horse.

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