The 1976 Olympic Winter Games were awarded to the American city of Denver, but the residents of Colorado got cold feet. They vetoed financing the event and rejected the building of Olympic installations for ecological reasons. Innsbruck stepped in and hosted the Games for a second time only 12 years after its successful 1964 Winter Olympics.
1,123 (892 men, 231 women) competitors from 37 nations participated in 6 sports and 37 events over a fortnight. USSR won the gold medal tally with 13, Germany (GDR) 2nd with 7, USA 3rd with 3, Norway 4th with 3 also, Germany (FDR) 5th with 2 gold. The USSR won its fourth straight ice hockey gold medal; for the second consecutive Olympics Canada refused to send a team. Dorothy Hamill of the US won the gold in Figure Skating, and inspired the popular “wedge” haircut.
A new figure skating event, ice dancing, was added to the program and, like the pairs, it was dominated by Russian couples.
Sports technology, in the guise of innovative perforated skis, sleek hooded suits and streamlined helmets appeared in alpine skiing, speed skating and ski jumping, making headlines in Innsbruck.
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