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1972 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.
Alpine Skiing World Cup
Men's overall season champion: Gustav Thöni, Italy
Women's overall season champion: Annemarie Pröll, Austria
23 December - In the first Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game in 25 years (and the franchises first playoff win), rookie Franco Harris salvages and converts into a touchdown a final seconds Terry Bradshaw incomplete pass in what has been called the greatest play in NFL history—The Immaculate Reception—to beat the Oakland Raiders 13-7.
Super Bowl VI – Dallas Cowboys won 24–3 over the Miami Dolphins
Orange Bowl (1971 season):
The Nebraska Cornhuskers won 38-6 over the Alabama Crimson Tide to win the college football national championship
Brazil – Palmeiras wins the Campeonato Brasileiro
England – FA Cup – Leeds United won 1–0 over Arsenal
Europe – Cup Winners' Cup – Rangers FC won 3–2 over Dinamo Moscow
West Germany beat the Soviet Union 3–0 to win the European Championship.
September – Athletics at the 1972 Summer Olympics held in Munich
Victorian Football League
Carlton wins the 76th VFL Premiership (Carlton 28.9 (177) d Richmond 22.18 (150))
Brownlow Medal awarded to Len Thompson (Collingwood)
19 January – The BBWAA elects Sandy Koufax (344 votes), Yogi Berra (339), and Early Wynn (301) to the Hall of Fame.
Sparky Lyle saves 35 games for the New York Yankees, breaking Ron Perranoski's 1970 records for AL pitchers and left-handers. Lyle also becomes the first left-hander to save 100 career games in the American League.
World Series – Oakland Athletics win their first World Championship since the team was based in Philadelphia in 1930, and sixth in franchise history, by defeating the Cincinnati Reds, 4 games to 3.
31 December – The Pittsburgh Pirates' legendary right fielder Roberto Clemente dies in a plane crash near Puerto Rico on his way to bring relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship –
UCLA wins 81–76 over Florida St.
NBA Finals –
Los Angeles Lakers won 4 games to 1 over the New York Knicks
1972 ABA Finals –
Indiana Pacers defeat New York Nets 4 games to 2
26 June – Roberto Durán stopped Ken Buchanan in the thirteenth round to win the WBA Lightweight Championship.
Grey Cup – Hamilton Tiger-Cats won 13–10 over the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Vanier Cup – Alberta Golden Bears won 20–7 over the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks
Giro d'Italia won by Eddy Merckx of Belgium
Tour de France – Eddy Merckx of Belgium
UCI Road World Championships – Men's road race – Marino Basso of Italy
Disc sports are introduced to Canada at the Canadian Open Frisbee Championships in Toronto
Olympic Games (Men's Competition) in Munich, West Germany
Gold Medal: West Germany
Silver Medal: Pakistan
World Figure Skating Championships –
Men's champion: Ondrej Nepela, Czechoslovakia
Ladies' champion: Trixi Schuba, Austria
Pair skating champions: Irina Rodnina & Alexei Ulyanov, Soviet Union
Ice dancing champions: Lyudmila Pakhomova & Alexandr Gorshkov, Soviet Union
1972 in sports Wikipedia
Men's professionalMasters Tournament – Jack Nicklaus
U.S. Open – Jack Nicklaus
British Open – Lee Trevino
PGA Championship – Gary Player
PGA Tour money leader – Jack Nicklaus – $320,542
The European Tour begins its first season of competition.
Men's amateurBritish Amateur – Trevor Homer
U.S. Amateur – Vinny Giles
Women's professionalLPGA Championship – Kathy Ahern
U.S. Women's Open – Susie Berning
Titleholders Championship – Sandra Palmer
LPGA Tour money leader – Kathy Whitworth – $65,063
21 September – Strike Out became the first Canadian owned harness racing horse to ever win the Little Brown Jug.
United States Pacing Triple Crown races –
Super Bowl wins the United States Trotting Triple Crown races –
- Cane Pace – Hilarious Way
- Little Brown Jug – Strike Out
- Messenger Stakes – Silent Majority
Australian Inter Dominion Harness Racing Championship –
Pacers: Welcome Advice
- Hambletonian – Super Bowl
- Yonkers Trot – Super Bowl
- Kentucky Futurity – Super Bowl
SteeplechasesCheltenham Gold Cup – Glencaraig Lady
Grand National – Well To Do
Flat racesAustralia – Melbourne Cup won by Piping Lane
Canada – Queen's Plate won by Victoria Song
France – Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe won by San San
Ireland – Irish Derby Stakes won by Steel Pulse
English Triple Crown Races:
United States Triple Crown Races:
- 2,000 Guineas Stakes – High Top
- Epsom Derby – Roberto
- St. Leger Stakes – Boucher
World Hockey Association (WHA)'s first season. This new league signed several of the top NHL stars including Bobby Hull and Derek Sanderson.
Art Ross Memorial Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer during the regular season: Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Hart Memorial Trophy – for the NHL's Most Valuable Player: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Stanley Cup – Boston Bruins win 4 games to 2 over the New York Rangers
28 September – Paul Henderson scored the "goal of the century" to give Canada the win in the Summit Series, the first ever Canada versus the Soviet Union hockey showdown.
World Hockey Championship
Men's champion: Czechoslovakia defeated the Soviet Union
NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship – Boston University Terriers defeat Cornell University Big Red 4–0 in Boston, Massachusetts
The Long Branch P.C.O.'s win the first Founders Cup.
The New Westminster Salmonbellies win the Mann Cup.
The Peterborough PCO's win the Minto Cup.
Stock car racing –
20 February – A. J. Foyt wins the Daytona 500 in the #21 Mercury for Wood Brothers
28 May – E. W. Baker wins the World 500 in the #6 Dodge for Petty Enterprises
NASCAR Championship – Richard Petty (#43 Plymouth, Petty Enterprises)
30 May – Mark Donohue wins the 56th running of the Indianapolis 500 in the Sunoco Special McLaren-Offenhauser
Joe Leonard wins the season drivers' championship
Formula 5000 – Gijs van Lennep of the Netherlands
Formula One – Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil) wins World Drivers' Champion, driving a Lotus 72D-Cosworth.
24 hours of Le Mans – Henri Pescarolo / Graham Hill win, sharing a Matra MS670
Rally racing – Sandro Munari / Mario Manucci win the Monte Carlo Rally driving a Lancia Fulvia 1.6HF
Drag racing – Don Moody wins Top Fuel at the Supernats.
1972 NSWRFL season
1972 New Zealand rugby league season
1971–72 Northern Rugby Football League season / 1972–73 Northern Rugby Football League season
1972 Rugby League World Cup
78th Five Nations Championship series is undecided after two matches are not played for political reasons
World Snooker Championship – Alex Higgins beats John Spencer 37–32
XX Olympic Games, held in Munich, West Germany (28 August – 4 September)
Grand Slam in tennis men's results:
- Kentucky Derby – Riva Ridge
- Preakness Stakes – Bee Bee Bee
- Belmont Stakes – Riva Ridge
Grand Slam in tennis women's results:
- Australian Open – Ken Rosewall
- French Open – Andrés Gimeno
- Wimbledon championships – Stan Smith
- US Open – Ilie Năstase
Davis Cup – United States wins 3–2 over Romania in world tennis.
1972 Summer Olympics takes place in Munich, Germany
USSR wins the most medals (99), and the most gold medals (50)
1972 Winter Olympics takes place in Sapporo, Japan
USSR wins the most medals (16), and the most gold medals (8)
Seventh Winter Universiade held in Lake Placid, New York, United States
Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year – Mark Spitz, Swimming
Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year – Olga Korbut, Gymnastics
- Australian Open – Virginia Wade
- French Open – Billie Jean King
- Wimbledon championships – Billie Jean King
- US Open – Billie Jean King (first player in Open Era to repeat as singles champion)