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Relive the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games with these images, videos, and trivia

Relive the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games with these images, videos, and trivia
/ Tony Duffy / Staff / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

It was on this day July 16, 1976, that the Olympic torch arrived in Montreal to kickstart the 1976 Summer Olympics (officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad)!

Montreal became the second French-speaking city to host the Summer Olympics after Paris, over the bids of Moscow and Los Angeles— and it was the first and, so far, only Summer Olympic Games to be held in Canada.

Officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II, Montreal 1976 is remembered as the Olympic Games that saw the 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci become the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 on the uneven bars, leaving the city as the indisputable Olympics darling.

Tony Duffy / Staff / Getty Images Sports / Getty Images

Source: Tony Duffy / Staff / Getty Images Sports / Getty Images

Montreal was also where Bruce Jenner became a household name. Jenner— who now identifies as a transgender woman and goes by Caitlyn— accomplished something hugely significant that year: He won the Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, becoming the unofficial "world's greatest athlete" and inspiring a nation. Jenner's victory was a defining moment of sports for his country, perhaps second in importance only to the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team's "Miracle on Ice" victory against the Soviet Union.

Apart from winning the gold, what happened afterward was, of even more long-term significance:

After crossing the finish line in the 1,500-meter finale, a fan rushed onto the track and handed him a U.S. flag. At first, Jenner didn’t know how to react, but it didn’t take long before he decided to wave the flag, making it a transcendent moment in sports. When you see Olympic champions waving their country flags after their victories, it is because of Jenner.

Focus On Sport / Contributor / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Source: Focus On Sport / Contributor / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The 1976 Summer Olympics also marked the first time women competed in basketball, rowing and handball. Lasse Virén won the 5,000 and 10,000 metres Double Double, while Alberto Juantorema of Cuba became the first man to win both the 400 m and 800 m at the same Olympics. Teófilo Stevenson won his second boxing Olympic gold medal. Shun Fujimoto incredibly overcame pain and performed with a broken knee on the ring events for the Japanese gymnastics team, who won the team gold medal.

Despite not having reached the podium, a few athletes would still have a historical moment in Montreal 1976. Future IOC president Jacques Rogge made his third and final Olympic appearance as an athlete. Queen Elizabeth II's daughter Princess Anne competed in the Equestrian events, while future Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso took part in the Shooting competition.

Canada, meanwhile, finished with five silver and six bronze medals but unfortunately became the first host nation to fail to win a gold medal on home soil, a feat made no less exceptional for being repeated at the Calgary Winter Olympics 12 years later. Oh, Canada.

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By the time the event came to an end on August 1st, the reality of the financial toll began to kick in. The final tally of the cost for the Olympics was $1.6bn, including at least $1.1bn for the stadium alone. The Big O had officially become known as the Big Owe.

Of course, the federal government found a solution for the problem by introducing a nationwide lottery—a controversial idea since at the time, lotteries were seen as a form of gambling. The first of nine draws were held on April 15, 1974, and in the end, they raised millions for the Games, by selling tickets at a $10 a cost across the country.

The Olympic official YouTube channel has uploaded a five-part documentary series about the 1976 Games which we've embedded below. We also recommend this short two-and-a-half-minute highlight package. And this 20-minute documentary on Bruce Jenner. 

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