January 18, 2014

1964 Olympics - Innsbruck, Austria

The 1964 Winter Olympic Games were held in Innsbruck, Austria from January 29th through February 9th. Innsbruck was the near-unanimous choice of host, receiving 49 votes compared to Calgary's 9 and Lahti, Finland's 0.

Interestingly, normally snowy Austria was having a mild winter this year. The Austrian Army was called in. They packed 20,000 ice bricks from a mountain top to the bobsled and luge runs, and also carried 40,000 cubic meters of snow to the Alpine skiing courses, packing it all down the slopes by hand and foot!

It should be noted that East and West Germany competed as one united Germany for these games. Also, two tragic deaths marred these games, as an Australian skier and British luger died in competition.

Canada's New Era

In response to the blatant use of professionals by Eastern European teams and the blind acceptance by the politically corrupted governing bodies of international hockey, Canada opted to stop sending senior teams and created a national team that would train together throughout the season. Canada still foolishly hung on to the falsehoods of the amateur ideal though.

Father David Bauer formed a team that combined academics and athletics. Players would be given scholarships for studying and living expenses while attending University. This inaugural team was based out of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and would be transferred to Manitoba the following year. In addition the players would practice and play exhibition games together in pursuit of world championships and Olympic medals.

The inaugural team, pictured below, included the likes of Rod Seiling, Gary Dineen, Brian Conacher, Roger Bourbounnais, Marshall Johnston, Terry Clancy, Terry O'Malley and goaltender Seth Martin.

The Medals Controversy

Canada waltzed by Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, USA and Finland, but were not quite good enough to defeat the professionals from Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union.

The Soviets won the gold medal with their perfect record, but there was a three team tie for second, third and fourth place. Remember, these were the days where there was no gold medal game; the medals were determined by standings.

Protocol called for goal differential to be the first tie breaker, giving Sweden the silver and Canada the bronze. But during the final period of the Sweden-Czech game IIHF directors, led of course by the self-serving Bunny Ahearne, changed the goal differential formula so that Czechoslovakia would finish third.

Canada was screwed again by Bunny Ahearne and his corrupt cronies at the IIHF.

The Perfect Soviets

As mentioned, the professional Soviets easily won the gold medal with a 7-0 record. Notable players on this Soviet team included Anatoli Firsov, Vitaly Davydov, Alexander Ragulin and Vyacheslav Starshinov.

American Brothers

The defending champion United States could do no better than 5th in these Olympics. Notable players included returning 1960 heros Bill and Roger Christian as well as a new set of brothers, David and Herb Brooks.

Here's some YouTube footage of the game between Germany and Czechoslovakia:

GreatestHockeyLegends.com is the home of an extensive history of Olympic hockey. You can view each Olympic hockey tournament (men's and women's) below by clicking on the year of your choice. You can also enjoy my profiles of Olympic Hockey Legends.

1920 - Antwerp, Belgium
1924 - Chamonix, France
1928 - St. Moritz, Switz.
1932 - Lake Placid, USA
1936 - G.P., Germany
1940 - No Games - WWII
1944 - No Games - WWII
1948 - St. Moritz, Switz.
1952 - Oslo, Norway
1956 - Cortina, Italy
1960 - Squaw Valley, USA
1964 - Innsbruck, Austria
1968 - Grenoble, France
1972 - Sapporo, Japan
1976 - Innsbruck, Austria
1980 - Lake Placid, USA
1984 - Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
1988 - Calgary, Canada
1992 - Albertville, France
1994 - Lillehammer, Norway
1998 - Nagano, Japan
2002 - Salt Lake City, USA
2006 - Torino, Italy

2010 - Vancouver, Canada

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