The U.S. Olympic boxing team won seven medals on the night of July 31, 1976. The haul for the American fighters included five gold, one silver, and one bronze.
Several members of the 1976 team went on to win professional championships, including Boxing of Fame member Michael Spinks and his brother Leon Spinks. After turning professional, Leon Spinks won the heavyweight championship, defeating none other than Muhammad Ali.
Other gold medal winners on the 1976 U.S. Olympic boxing team include Leo Randolph who won the bantamweight title; lightweight Howard Davis, winner of the Val Barker Tropy (awarded to the Olympic boxing athlete who exemplifies style during competition); and Sugar Ray Leonard, who won the gold as a light welter weight. Leonard had a spectacular professional career and is considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time.
MONTREAL-Digging and blasting like prospectors who know exactly what they’re doing, American boxers shook loose an avalanche of gold tonight in the Olympic finals at the Forum. When the last stick of dynamite had been detonatedby Leon Spinks in the light heavyweight class, the young team many experts thought would be outslugged by East Europeans and Cubans had walked off with five gold medals. They could have used a pack-mule to lug the gold, because no other United States boxing team has ever won any more of it than they did tonight before an appreciative standing room crowd of 20,000.
Steve Cady, NY Times, read more
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Edwin Moses won the gold medal in the 400 meter hurdles at the Montreal Olympics on July 25, 1976. In winning the race, Moses, who at that time was a 20 year old engineering student at Morehouse College, also set a world record for the event, with a time of 47.64 seconds. His 1976 Olympic win would mark beginning of Moses’ domination in the 400 meter hurdles. He reigned virtually unchallenged for more than a decade, winning another Olympic gold medal at Los Angeles in 1984. (The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games, or would have undoubtedly won there as well.) Moses also bested in own record, three more times. His fastest time ever was 47.03, in 1983. The record stood for years. Moses remained unbeaten in his event from 1977 to 1987, winning victories in more than 100 consecutive finals.
Born 31st August 1955, in Dayton, Ohio, the second of three sons, Moses began his athletic career in age group competitions and later in high school in the 180 yard low hurdles and 440 yard dash. Guided by his parents’ influence on him as educators, he accepted an academic scholarship in engineering from Morehouse College rather than an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Although there was no track at Morehouse College, Moses trained for the 1976 Olympic trials using the public high school facilities around Atlanta. He subsequently won the trials in the 400 meter hurdles with an American record of 48.30 seconds, making his first Olympic team. At the summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, he became the Olympic Champion, bettering the Olympic and World Records with a time of 47.63 seconds. For the next decade he dominated the hurdles accumulating the most amazing string of consecutive victories ever amassed by an individual athlete. Over a period of nine years, nine months and nine days, from August 1977 until May 1987, Moses collected 122 straight victories, 107 of these were finals; this winning streak has remained unbeaten and stands in the Guinness Book of Records to this date.
Edwinmoses.com, read more
Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10, competing on the uneven bars at the Montreal Olympics; July 18, 1976. A few months shy of her 15th birthday, barely five feet tall, and weighing in at 88 pounds (soaking wet); the tiny Roumanian gymnast in addition to memorizing the judges, stole the hearts of an international audience that numbered in the hundreds of millions.
However not everybody was so impressed. The Washington Post reported that:
Russian coach Larissa Latynina, upset at the prospect of Comaneci’s stealing the thunder from Soviet stars Ludmila Tourischeva and Olga Korbut, was critical of the judges decision. “I question the performance,” she said, shaking her head in disgust. “1 can see a 9.5, but it should not have been a 10. There Were some flaws. It was not perfect.” “I knew it would come out well and I was very glad,” Nadia said through an interpreter. The Russian’s Olga Korbut, darling of the 1972 Munich games, questioned Comanci’s perfect mark, first in modern Olympic history but Nadia’s 17th. “I question the 10.0 that was given because there were two flaws in the performance,” said Korbut, vying with Nadia for both meals and popularity.
Knowledgeable gymnastics fans were not the least bit surprised by Comaneci’s performance. At the 1975 European Championships, at Skien, Norway. she won four gold medals and a silver. She also introduced the world to a new dismount on the uneven parallel bars, which the International Gymnastics Federation officially named “The Comaneci Come Down”.
After Comaneci nailed her perfect 10, Omega showed a 1.00.
The Swiss company Omega has had responsibility for the timing and scoring of Olympic events since 1932. Before the 1976 Games they contacted the International Olympic Committee with a question about the scoreboards they were constructing for the gymnastics. Would it be better, they asked, to replace the traditional boards, which had room for three digits such as, say, 9.50, or 9.85, with one that could display four digits, such as 10.00?
“I was told, ‘a 10.00 is not possible,'” recalls Daniel Baumat, now the director of Swiss Timing, which like Omega is part of the Swatch Group. “So we only did three digits.”
Guardian, read more