Montreal Canada, 1976

Legacy of the Games

The 1976 Olympic Games were a financial disaster for Montreal, as the city ended by facing debt for 30 years after the Games finished. The provincial government of Quebec took over construction of the Olympic venues in 1975 when it became evident that the work would not be completed in time. Construction was still under way just weeks before the opening ceremony, and the tower for the Olympic Stadium was not completed until after the Games. The final debt owed by the City of Montreal to the provincial government was one billion dollars, which it finally paid in full in 2006.

The Olympic flame was transmitted from Athens in Greece to Ottawa, capital city of Canada, by means of an electronic pulse. A sensor was used to detect ionised particles of the flame and turn them into coded impulses. These were then transmitted to Ottawa by satellite where they activated a laser beam which recreated the flame in its original shape.

The Games were subject to several boycotts. The Republic of China (Taiwan) withdrew after being informed by the Canadian government that it could not compete under the name ‘Republic of China’. This led to the 1979 Nagoya Resolution, where the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan agreed that Taiwan would compete in international sporting events under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’. A total of 28 African nations also boycotted the Games in protest at the IOC’s refusal to ban New Zealand from competing, after their All Blacks rugby union team toured South Africa earlier that year. From central and southern Africa only Senegal and the Ivory Coast took part in the Games. The African boycott was a contributory factor in the protests and civil unrest which took place during the reciprocal tour of New Zealand undertaken in 1981 by South Africa’s Springbok rugby union team. Official sporting contacts between South Africa and New Zealand did not occur again until after the fall of the apartheid regime.