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Handball Tournaments at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games

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Four years after the men’s comeback under the Olympic rings the first Women’s Olympic Handball Tournament was staged. Eleven men’s teams participated in the tournament – the odd number of teams resulted from the boycott of African countries (among others Tunisia) - but only six in the first women’s tournament. The men’s Olympic champion was established with help of a main round and final matches; the women’s tournament saw a round-robin format. And Montreal also provided the setting for the great triumph of the Soviet Union, as the USSR secured gold in both the men’s and the women’s competitions. The teams of Main Round Group I in the men’s tournament were neck and neck with each other, as the USSR, the Federal Republic of Germany and 1972 Olympic champions Yugoslavia earned 8:2 points to be ranked at the top. However, the Soviets had by far a better goal difference. The second group was not that exciting. Romania remained unbeaten to gain the top rank just one point ahead of Poland, which, fighting hard against Germany, were forced into overtime to prevail 21:18 (11:9, 17:17) and thus to gain the bronze. The final saw the two world handball powers, and the USSR overcame multiple World Champions Romania by 19:15 (10:6). A number of stars who gained global popularity later on formed the squad of coaching legend Anatoli Yewtuschenko: Alexander Anpilogov, Jury Klimov and Vladimir Maximov -who managed to become Olympic Champion as both a player (1976) and coach (2000) and who had been the coach of the Russian national team until January 2012.
The Soviet women proved even more predominant when they secured gold. They made a clean sweep in five matches, and before the final matchday it was already certain that they would be the Olympic champions. The tightest of all results was a 14:11 win over the later silver medallists, the German Democratic Republic. The team of the Olympic champion had a special feature: Coach Igor Turtschin was the husband of Zinaida Turtschina, the world’s best player at that time. The bronze medal was earned by a team from the Eastern Bloc too: Hungary ranked third and had earned the same number of points like the GDR. 
Men’s Final Ranking:
Gold: USSR, Silver: ROM, Bronze: POL, 4. FRG - 5. YUG - 6. HUN - 7. TCH – 8. DEN - 9. JPN - 10. USA - 11. CAN
Women’s Final Ranking:
Gold: USSR, Silver: GDR, Bronze: HUN, 4. ROM, 5. JPN, 6. CAN