Weather Updates

Sergei Belov, 69, Soviet basketball star scored 20 points in 1972 gold-medal game

Olympics: Summer 1980 Moscow Opening Ceremony

Olympics: Summer 1980 Moscow, Opening Ceremony

storyidforme: 56066527
tmspicid: 20528850
fileheaderid: 9532687
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: November 8, 2013 6:27AM

MOSCOW — Sergei Belov, the Soviet basketball great who helped his team defeat the United States in the disputed 1972 Olympic final in Munich, died Thursday. He was 69.

His death was announced by CSKA Moscow, the team he played with for 13 seasons. The club said Mr. Belov died in the Ural Mountains city of Perm, where he coached a local team. No cause was given.

Mr. Belov scored 20 points in the 51-50 win over the U.S. in Munich, a gold-medal game in which the Russians scored the winning points as time ran out. The clock had been reset in the final seconds after the Americans thought they had won. The Americans refused to accept their silver medal.

Mr. Belov, a shooting guard, was widely considered one of the best non-American players of his generation. He also won three Olympic bronze medals — 1968, 1976, 1980 — and led the Soviets to two world championship titles.

Mr. Belov lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1980 Games in Moscow and coached the Russian national team from 1993-99 before moving to Perm to coach the Ural-Great basketball team.

“World basketball has lost a true legend today,” Jordi Bertomeu, president and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, said. “Mr. Belov was a great figure in European basketball’s history and an example of excellence who helped paved the way for the growth of the sport we all love.”

Mr. Belov won 11 titles with CSKA Moscow and later coached the club for three years, leading it to two titles. In 1992, he became the first international player inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was inducted into basketball’s international Hall of Fame in 2007.

Ivan Dvorny, a fellow Olympic gold medalist, described Mr. Belov as a “man of great will who was fully dedicated to basketball.”

“I’m sure that the entire world mourns him,” said another of Mr. Belov’s 1972 Olympic teammates, Ivan Edeshko, according to Sovetsky Sport.

Mr. Belov’s death on Oct. 3 came on the same date that Soviet Olympic teammate Alexander Belov died in 1978. Alexander Belov, no relation, scored the winning layup against the Americans in Munich after catching a court-length pass with time running out.


© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.