“72 – A Gathering of Champions” documentary series on olympics.com revisits Munich 1972 through the powerful stories of its Olympians
On the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games Munich 1972, “72 – A Gathering of Champions”, an emotive four-part series produced by the Olympic Channel and directed by Emmy-award winner Jonathan Hock, revisits the event with the Olympians who experienced first-hand both personal triumphs and unimaginable tragedy, as they return to Munich.
Combining remarkable restored film footage and new personal accounts from the athletes whose lives were deeply touched by the events of this time, each one of the four, one-hour episodes explores different stories and perspectives from Munich 1972.
The documentary revisits the record-breaking sporting action from the likes of Mark Spitz (USA), who delivered one of the greatest performances in Olympic history, becoming the first athlete to win seven gold medals in swimming. Track stars Mary Peters (Great Britain) and Heide Rosendahl (Germany) return to Munich and relive together their incredible rivalry and one of the most exciting finishes in Olympic history, which saw them both break the world record in the Olympic pentathlon and finish with the smallest margin on record separating them. Lasse Virén (Finland), who recovered from a dramatic fall to become 10,000m Olympic champion, also retraces his steps, alongside his son and grandson.
Fifty years later, the series also recounts the personal journeys of athletes affected by the global landscape of the time. Karin Janz (Germany), the most decorated female gymnast at the Olympic Games Munich 1972 with two golds, two silver and a bronze – competing in unique circumstances, with her home nation, the host country Germany, divided into east and west – discusses the mixed emotions it inspires in her to this day. Valeriy Borzov returns to the site of his triumph, a sprint double of 100m and 200m gold, alongside then-Soviet Union team-mate and now wife Lyudmila Tourischeva, who arrived in Munich as the world’s most celebrated gymnast and returned with two gold, silver and bronze medal.