Three Seconds in Munich: The Controversial 1972 Olympic Basketball Final

David A.F. Sweet. Univ. of Nebraska, $29.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-8032-9996-2
Sportswriter Sweet (Lamar Hunt: The Gentle Giant Who Revolutionized Professional Sports) presents this clear-eyed account of the scandalous end to the 1972 Olympic men’s basketball final. Through interviews with many of the members of that team, Sweet recreates the experience of seeming to win the gold medal, only to have it taken away when Olympics official R. William Jones ordered that three seconds be added to the clock, allowing the Russians to score and beat the U.S. team 51 to 50 and end America’s 36-year, 62-game winning streak. In protest, the Americans decided not to accept the silver medal, and the pain of being cheated still lingers for those Sweet interviewed, including forwards Mike Banton and Jim Brewer and center Dwight Jones (“I want my gold. Not no silver. It’s probably sitting around some Russian’s neck right now”). Readers are left with no doubt that the USA team was robbed. Throughout, Sweet weaves in players’ memories of the Palestinian terror attack that decimated the Israeli wrestling team, a tragedy for the 1972 Olympics. Sweet’s excellent reporting sheds light on a controversial, nearly forgotten Olympic decision. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/09/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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