It was the first time that the Games were held in Oceania. Melbourne won the right to host the 1956 Olympic Games by one vote over Buenos Aires. Australian quarantine laws were too severe to allow the entry of foreign horses, so the equestrian events were held separately in Stockholm in June.
The 1964 Games were the first to be held in Asia. The Japanese expressed their successful reconstruction after World War II by choosing as the final torchbearer Yoshinori Sakai, who was born in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 the day that that city was destroyed by an atomic bomb.
The 1972 Games were the largest yet, setting records in all categories, with 195 events and 7,134 athletes from 121 nations. In the early morning of September 5, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village, killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine more hostages.
Our national pride in hosting the world, and in winning more medals than in the previous two Olympic Games combined (11), was tempered by the fact that Canada did not win a gold medal. Swimmers claimed eight of Canada’s medals, with athletics, canoeing and equestrian boasting the other three.
Canada joined the United States and 35 other countries boycotting the Games in protest of the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. Canadian athletes had already been chosen when the boycott decision was announced and they are recognized as Olympians.
Although a boycott led by the Soviet Union depleted the field in certain sports, a record 140 nations took part, with China sending a team for the first time since 1952. Canada fielded its largest team ever in Los Angeles, 273 men and 163 women, second in size only to the U.S. team. Canadians won an unprecedented 44 medals: 10 gold, 18 silver and 16 bronze.