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MUNICH OLYMPICS 30 YEARS LATER

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September 02, 2002|John Ortega

SEPT. 2, 1972: DAY 8

Wottle Wins 800;

Seagren Defeated

Dave Wottle, in his typical come-from-behind style, barely won the 800 meters, then raised questions by failing to remove his trademark cap during the medal ceremony. Four years after U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in Black Power salutes on the victory stand, Wottle said he wasn't protesting anything. "I just forgot to take my hat off," he said. "And I'm in the ROTC [at Bowling Green University]. I want to apologize to the American people."

Forced to vault with a pole he hadn't used until two days before the final because his controversial fiberglass Cata-Pole had been declared illegal, Bob Seagren finished second in the pole vault. It was the first time in the Summer Olympics that the United States had failed to win the gold medal in the pole vault. The winner was East Germany's Wolfgang Nordwig, a leader in the protest against the Cata-Pole. Nordwig had vaulted with the new, lighter poles earlier in the season but didn't adjust to them.

*--* MEDALS

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*--* East Germany 16 9 14 39 Country G S B T Soviet Union 21 17 13 51 United States 18 19 14 51

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*--* QUOTE

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"An Olympic gold-medal sprinter is Bob Hayes, right? He's American, probably black, surely from Texas or California. Not KIEV, for crying out loud! There's nobody in that town who could catch a bus if it was stopped. And those heavy shoes."

--Times columnist Jim Murray on 100-meter winner Valery Borzov

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