• There were some big names in the 1972 New Zealand Olympic team, but the choice of team captain went to a lesser-known freestyle wrestler, Dave Aspin (OLY#259). He must have done the job well – four years later in Montreal he was again named team captain.

Team Photo from the Games of the XX Olympiad, Munich 1972. Photo: New Zealand Olympic Museum Collection.

Bruce Biddle (OLY#261) achieved an unusual distinction at Munich in 1972 when he was placed third in the cycling road race but was not awarded a medal. Biddle had finished fourth but was promoted to third when one rider ahead of him was disqualified for illegal use of drugs. However, the IOC would not award Biddle a medal because he had not undergone a drugs test, though he had offered to do so after the race.

  • The New Zealand Team were present in the Olympic Village as the terrible Munich massacre unfolded. Members of a Palestinian terror group took young Israeli athletes hostage, killing eleven.
  • The next Olympic Games in 1976 saw New Zealand at the centre of an Olympic boycott where 24 countries, almost all from Africa, walked out of the Montreal Olympic Games because the All Blacks were touring apartheid South Africa at the time. The boycotting nations strongly believed that New Zealand All Blacks should have stood firm and refused to play rugby in the brutal apartheid regime.
  • New Zealand won the men’s hockey gold medal in 1976, the only time we have won an Olympic hockey medal, and the first time the tournament was played on artificial turf.

  • Sailor Hugh Poole (OLY#367) was 51 when he competed in the soling event (three person keel boat) in 1976, New Zealand’s oldest Olympian to that point. He had another unusual distinction. He had twice been New Zealand sailing team manager at Olympic Games (in 1960 and 1968) before being chosen as a competitor.
  • In 1976, rowing coxswain Simon Dickie (OLY#224) became the first New Zealander to win medals at three successive Olympic Games. He coxed the four to gold in 1968 and the eight to gold in 1972 and bronze in 1976.

1980 Lake Placid

  • Skier Stuart Blakely (OLY#326) was the first person to captain the New Zealand team at successive winter Olympic Games, at Innsbruck 1976 and Lake Placid 1980.
  • In 1978 the silver fern was integrated above the five Olympic rings and first appeared on a New Zealand team uniform at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.