XI Olympic Winter Games
Emblem of the 1972 Winter Olympics
Host citySapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Athletes1,006 (801 men, 205 women)
Events35 in 6 sports (10 disciplines)
OpeningFebruary 3, 1972
ClosingFebruary 13, 1972
Opened by
Hideki Takada
StadiumMakomanai Open Stadium

The 1972 Winter Olympics, officially the XI Olympic Winter Games (Japanese: 第11回オリンピック冬季競技大会, Hepburn: Dai Jūichi-kai Orinpikku Tōkikyōgi Taikai) and commonly known as Sapporo 1972 (Japanese: 札幌1972), were a winter multi-sport event held from February 3 to 13, 1972, in Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan. It was the first Winter Olympic Games to take place outside Europe and North America.

Host city selection

Main article: Bids for the 1972 Winter Olympics

Sapporo first won the rights to host the 1940 Winter Olympics, but Japan resigned as the Games' host after its 1937 invasion of China. The 1940 Games were later cancelled. All the cities awarded Games that were cancelled due to war have since hosted the Games (London, Tokyo, Helsinki, Sapporo and Cortina d'Ampezzo).

Sapporo competed with Banff, Lahti, and Salt Lake City. The Games were awarded at the 64th IOC Session in Rome, Italy, on April 26, 1966.[1]

In preparation, the Japanese constructed new largescale facilities at Sapporo and conducted a trial run a full year in advance of the Games. An international sport week was held in February, 1971, to assess the city's preparations as well as "to test its civic mettle and hospitality", and this effort was acclaimed by Olympic observers as "a complete success".[2] The development of new infrastructure proved to be a huge boon for the Sapporo economy: by the time of the Games, the national government had invested some US$500 million in upgrades, including a new subway.[2] The Games' organizers themselves turned a healthy profit in part because they arranged a record $8.47 million for broadcast rights with American companies.[3]

1972 Winter Olympics bidding result[4]
City Country Round 1
Sapporo  Japan 32
Banff & Calgary  Canada 16
Lahti  Finland 7
Salt Lake City  United States 7


Official poster for the 1972 Winter Olympics


Main article: Venues of the 1972 Winter Olympics

1 New facilities constructed in preparation for the Olympic Games. 2 Existing facilities modified or refurbished in preparation for the Olympic Games.


There were 35 events contested in 6 sports (10 disciplines).

Participating nations

35 nations participated in the 1972 Winter Olympics. The Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan) and the Philippines participated in their first Winter Olympic Games.

Participating National Olympic Committees

Number of athletes by National Olympic Committees

Medal count

Main article: 1972 Winter Olympics medal table

These are the top eleven nations that won medals at these Games. The host nation Japan finished 11th.

1 Soviet Union85316
2 East Germany43714
3 Switzerland43310
4 Netherlands4329
5 United States3238
6 West Germany3115
7 Norway25512
8 Italy2215
9 Austria1225
10 Sweden1124
11 Japan*1113
Totals (11 entries)33283091

Podium sweeps

Date Sport Event NOC Gold Silver Bronze
6 February Ski jumping Normal hill individual  Japan Yukio Kasaya Akitsugu Konno Seiji Aochi
7 February Luge Women's singles  East Germany Anna-Maria Müller Ute Rührold Margit Schumann
7 February Luge Men's singles  East Germany Wolfgang Scheidel Harald Ehrig Wolfram Fiedler

See also


  1. ^ "Munich, Sapporo Given Olympics Games for 1972". The Albuquerque Journal. April 27, 1966. p. C2. Retrieved December 8, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b Findling, John E.; Pelle, Kimberly D. (1996). Historical dictionary of the modern Olympic movement. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 285. ISBN 0-313-28477-6. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "70 Years, Many Magical Moments: 1972, Sapporo, Japan". The Washington Post. 1998. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  4. ^ "Past Olympic host city election results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  5. ^ www.Olympic.org
  6. ^ Infoplease-Sapporo
  7. ^ "aolhometown". Archived from the original on June 18, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2008.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
Winter Olympics Preceded byGrenoble XI Olympic Winter GamesSapporo 1972 Succeeded byInnsbruck