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Games of the XXI Olympiad: Montreal 1976

Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics

Last modified: 2023-06-10 by zachary harden
Keywords: olympic games | montreal | canada | ioc | cio |
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[Flag of the XXII Olympiad: Moscow 1980]
image by Zoltan Horvath, 01 March 2014

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The Games

Games of the XXI Olympiad was held between July 17 and August 01, 1976 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games over the bids of Moscow and Los Angeles, which later hosted the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games respectively. These were the first Olympic Games held in Canada. One factor favoring Montreal was that the IOC did not want the Summer games hosted in a superpower during the Cold War for fears of political backlash, which proved well-founded with the Olympic boycotts of 1980 and 1984.
Zoltan Horvath, 01 March 2014

The Flag

Its flag was red with white logo. The logo is made up of the Olympic rings mounted on an Olympic podium, which is also the graphic interpretation of the letter M, the initial of Montreal. In the centre, the athletics track, the focal point of the Games. This emblem invokes the universal fraternity offered by the Olympic Ideal, as well as the glory of the winners, the gallant spirit of their battles and the accession of Montreal to the rank of Olympic city.
Image of its flag:
Zoltan Horvath, 01 March 2014

At is an offer for a small flag of the 1976 Olympics. It's apparently yet another variation, as according to the seller it's approximately 3:5.
Design-wise it's the style with the text underneath, but in this case it's the French text: "Montréal 1976". Also, not mentioned for any of the other flags, there's a copyright mark in the lower right corner of the emblem.
There is a picture of just the flag, Montréal 1976 and the original photograph, scaled, Montréal 1976.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 18 March 2014

More Variants of Flag

At - A table flag, described as ca. 3:5; just the emblem and a copyright symbol.

At - Black and white image of photograph of hostess holding a model flag; text "montréal76" in a stylised font, approximately 1.2.
Contemporary description:
As regards from the collegues from Canada the Organisation-Committee of the XX.Olympic Games in Munich received a model of the new official Olympic flag for the Games 1976 in Montreal. The color of the new flag is red with white symbols. Ops.: a hostess with the model-flag.
KEYSTONE WEST-GERMANY 11.9.72 1/11/74668/w/st"
"11.9.72", 11 September 1972 would be the closing day of the Munich Olympics. The specific font, and the text in lower case (and two-digit year) seem to differ from other version, which may be because this was a model, four years before the actual event. Still, though, early, it's a flag for the games.

At - Described as a 6' x 3' flag, though only a square with the emblem is visible. That would be 1:2. Our page shows a a 1:2 official flag, so that would match, except that our caption says it's 2:3.

At - 3 desk flags. Each flag apparently has the emblem with "Montréal 1976" underneath.

At - Something different: Souvenir pennant. Though it's in English, it does write "Montréal". Since none of the flags in this message show "Montreal" without accent, I'm beginning to wonder whether such flags really existed.

At - Report on the emblem, including the construction. (Note, click page for a pop-ups, but this will actually be another web page. To access just the image representation you have to view just the image.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 28 August 2014

At - Even though a bilingual poster, the name is spelt "Montréal" in both languages.

At - The other well-known one. It has just the name of the city and the year, and it does not show two forms of that name.

The report consistently uses "Montréal" -

Even the model flag shows the name with an accent (of sorts) on the e.
In my opinion, Marc was right that there was a 1:2 version with the name and "76" underneath the logo, being the early version of which a model is in the photograph mentioned above, but wrong in that the name was not written "Montreal", but "montréal". So far, I've seen no other design with just "76", rather than "1976", and no version with the e without the accent. Only an even earlier design might conceivably have had "montreal".
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 29 September 2014

Canadian consideration on Taiwanese participation

That same report includes on Volume I, part 1, page 17:
Inevitably, our fractured society is mirrored in the Games: despite every effort to maintain its impartiality, the Olympic movement is constantly threatened by political wrangling. In the case of Montréal, a point of international diplomacy, which came to a head only sixteen days before the opening ceremony, threatened to cause cancellation of the entire Games.
This was the point at which a disagreement between the IOC and the Canadian government burst into public prominence. The government, which previously had formally recognized the Peking government and severed relations with Taiwan, refused to permit the Formosan athletes to compete under the colors of the Republic of China.
Once again, the IOC was faced with the problem of the two Chinas. (In 1958, Peking withdrew from the IOC over the issue of Taiwan's representation. The IOC has continued to recognize Taiwan as the official representative of China.)
After threatening to withdraw its sanction of the Games, the IOC finally accepted a proposition which would have permitted the Taiwan delegation to use the anthem and the flag of the Republic of China, on the condition they competed under the name of Taiwan.
Coming literally on the eve of the Games, however, the Formosan team found the compromise unacceptable and withdrew.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 29 September 2014