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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1972: Three Second VIOLATION...

Chris Sheridan of has two stories on the USA vs Russia quarter-final match-up at the Men's World Championship in Istanbul, one a preview and the other 'stirring the pot' with USA reaction to Russian Coach David Blatt's view on the '72 Olympic basketball injustice.

Blatt's comments on '72 to "I hate to say it as an American, but it looks like the Russians were right," Blatt said of the Soviet Union's controversial victory in the gold-medal game at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when the final three seconds were replayed three times, with the United States losing for the first time ever in a major international competition after 63 consecutive wins. "The American team was not cheated. Funny things happened, but in reality it was fair. It was fair."

Coach K's reax as told to Chris Sheridan: You know, he coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint, and his eyes are clearer now because there are no tears in them," Krzyzewski said. "So, it's great. Whatever he thinks, he thinks. It really has absolutely no bearing on what we're trying to do tomorrow. Absolutely none. Our bearing is how we guard [Anton] Ponkrashov at point when he comes in, how we defend [Timofey] Mozgov and [Sasha] Kaun inside, that we don't let [Sergei] Monia get shots. That's our goal, so that's what our focus will be. And we've addressed that that game was played 38 years ago, and five of these guys are 21. So I don't think they remember it as well."

For the record, when this story comes up, people can talk and watch video until the cows come home, but the central issue is the actions taken by William Jones.  There is no place for Jones to be anywhere near the court of play.  Case closed. Over and done.  USA would have the medal.

See Sheridan and my quick search and paste on William Jones down below and click HERE to review the controversial finish.

Renato William Jones (October 5, 1906 in RomeItaly – April 22, 1981 in MunichGermany), also known as R. William, or simply William Jones, was a popularizer of basketball in Europe and in Asia. He holds an honorary doctorate from Springfield College.
He was one of the founding fathers of the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA) in 1932 and served as the first Secretary-General from 1932 until 1976. From 1932 he was eager to convince the IOC that an Olympic tournament should be organized in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. After the International Handball Federation (IAHF) renounced on its responsibility for basketball in 1934, FIBA was accepted as autonomous body by IOC and the Berlin tourney could be held under Jones' supervision. Later, he was made secretary general of the International Council of Sport and Physical Education in 1958.
He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1964, FIBA Hall of Fame in 2007 and also as patron of the Amateur Basketball Association of England in 1973.
He is perhaps most widely known for his decision at the 1972 Olympic Basketball Final, where the United States was facing the Soviet Union and had won the game 50-49, to order the officials to put 3 seconds back on the clock for a clock malfunction, allowing the Soviet team to score and win 51-50. Jones had no authority to make a ruling during a game, but his power in the sport was such that the officials complied with the order.He was controversially quoted later as saying "The Americans have to learn how to lose, even when they think they are right."
 The Associated Press' Brian Mahoney wrote a follow-up to the story on Russian Coach Blatt.  Mahoney was able to obtain additional comments from NBA Senior VP Mike Bantom, a member of the 1972 US Olympic team.

Here is the key portion of Brian's story:

NBA executive Mike Bantom, who played for that U.S. team, said he wasn't surprised "that someone employed by the Russian Federation might have a Russian perspective right about now, but I don't think it changes anything."
"We know how wrong it was, what happened there," Bantom told the Associated Press after watching U.S. practice Wednesday. "You watch a film, or you hear reports, you can debate whether or not it was right or wrong. But if you lived it, and you were there, you know that it was wrong what happened."
The U.S. plays Russia on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the world championship on the 38th anniversary of the Soviets' 51-50 victory in Munich. The Americans appeared to have won the game twice, but the Soviets were given a third chance and made the winning basket.
Believing they were cheated, the Americans never accepted their silver medals.
"There's a wonderful film about that, and I hate to say it as an American, but it looks like the Russians were right. The American team was not cheated," Blatt said Monday. "Funny things happened, but in reality it was fair."
Blatt was likely referring to the HBO documentary about the game, :03 from Gold, which Bantom appears in and said he saw. The film shows the confusion that created the multiple do-overs before Aleksander Belov's winning shot.
"You can arrange film to make a lot of things seem that there's some doubt," said Bantom, the NBA's senior vice president of player development. "There was no doubt how that went down."
The Americans had taken a one-point lead on Doug Collins' free throws with 3 seconds left, and seemed to have won when the Soviets inbounded and didn't score.
But the Soviets claimed they'd called timeout, and an official had whistled for play to stop when he saw a disturbance near the scorer's table. Time was put back on the clock, and again the Americans celebrated as the Soviets failed to score after inbounding.
More confusion followed because the clock was still being reset when the ball was put in play. Given a third chance when FIBA's secretary general ordered the final 3 seconds replayed, the Soviets won when Belov caught a long pass over two U.S. players and scored. FIBA denied the appeal of the Americans, who had their 63-game Olympic winning streak snapped and voted unanimously to decline the silver medals. Bantom isn't surprised that none of his teammates has ever decided he wants the medal.
"I don't care how it was depicted in the film," he said. "It was wrong and we felt it was wrong and we stuck by our feelings.
"First of all, all those things about the clock and all that was not known at the time. The referees were handling that game. It was not handled by the clock and what was going on. We were told to play, and we played, and the results of what went on on that court were overturned, and that's not how the game of basketball is decided."

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