1976 Medal protest
Marksman Planning Protest Over Medal L'ACADIE, Canada (UPI) — American marksman Lanny Bassham won the Olympic small bore rifle competition Wednesday, but said he should have shared first place with teammate Margaret Murdock of Topeka, Kan., the first woman to ever win an Olympic shooting medal. Bassham accumulated 1,162 points, the same number awarded to Mrs. Murdock. The bronze medal was awarded to Werner Seibold of West Germany with 1,160 points. Bassham filed a protest with Olympic shooting officials, saying the event should be called a tie, and threatened to stage a mini-demonstration during the award ceremonies Thursday if the protest was rejected. Late Wednesday his protest was, indeed, rejected. "This is arbitrary rubbish about ties," the U.S. Army Captain said after he was named winner of the event. "There should be two Olympic champions this time." Bassham was awarded the victory following more than three hours of recount, lie said the decision to give him the win was based strictly on a technicality and did not take into account the overall score. Bassham was given the victory because he had more points in the final round of shooting, a method used to break deadlocks in Olympic shooting competition. Bassham, of Bedford, Tex., a suburb of Fort Worth, said he would refuse to put his gold medal around his neck, but instead to hold it in his hand, in a public protest during Thursday's presentation ceremony. He said he would ask Mrs. Murdock to join him in the demonstration. During competition at the shooting range 35 miles from Montreal, the running score 1 gave Bassham the final overall victory. But the later provisional results showed that Margaret Murdock had won the gold. Then judges re-examined the competitors' targets for the final third of the event, the shooting from a kneeling position, and declared the American woman the actual winner. Yet another re-examination gave Bassham and Mrs. Murdock, the first woman ever to be selected for the United States Olympic shooting team, the same score. U.S. coach Joe Berry said he was sure Bassham would go through with his plan to hold the medal in his hand at the presentation ceremony. The crucial scores which separated the two rifle specialists were Bassham's final 98 from a possible 100 and Mrs. Murdock 's96 points from the kneeling position. "It would have been better to have a shoot-off, but they've closed the range now and the guns are already on their way back to the states," said Bassham. "I think it would be better if we were awarded the medal together." While Bassham made his comments, Mrs. Murdock, obviously bitterly disappointed, stood along side the winner and stared at the ground. She 'declined comment on the judges' decision.