1976 olympic games

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Cycling: still the greatest provides a wonderful time capsule of cycling at the 1976 Olympics and the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Thanks to wishicouldbelikedavidwatts for the heads up.

Watch on trackside2012-blog.tumblr.com

1. 1976 Olympic Games final – top four break 1:56

IT is rare a major championships middle-distance final produces a world record and it is a greater rarity, regardless of the setting, a world record is set in a competitive race. However, the 800m final in Montreal met both criteria as the first four ducked under Valentina Gerasimova’s world record of 1:56.0.

The likelihood of a tactical race was lessened as the first 300m was still run in lanes at major championships and indeed, Svetlana Styrkina reached the bell in a lightning-fast 55.05. Unsurprisingly, the tempo slowed in the third-quarter as the field bunched together and Anita Weiss from East Germany held a narrow lead into the home straight.

Weiss, however, began to tire as Tatyana Kazankina timed her effort perfectly. The quick-striding Soviet ran a much more even-paced final as she moved from fifth with 80m remaining to win her first of three Olympic titles in 1:54.94.

The final also concluded what must have been a rather deflating Games for world record-holder Gerasimova who was tamely eliminated in the semi-finals.