Vladimir Kondrashin, 70, the basketball coach who led the Soviet Union's team to victory over the United States in the 1972 Olympic Games, died Dec. 23 in a hospital in the village of Pesochnoye, near St. Petersburg, Russia. He had cancer and hypertension.
Under his guidance, the Soviet basketball team captured its first Olympic gold medal, beating the U.S. team in the finals of the 1972 Games in Munich.
In the highly controversial game, the U.S. players took the lead with three seconds left and thought the game had ended when they twice stopped inbounds plays by the Soviets. But officials had the clocks reset to three seconds. In a play designed by the Soviet coach, substitute player Ivan Edeshko threw an inbounds pass the length of the court, over Tom McMillen (who went on to become a Maryland congressman) toward Aleksandr Belov. Belov, after knocking down two American defenders, caught the ball and hit the basket at the buzzer to hand the Americans their first Olympic defeat, 51-50.
The Soviet upset ended a 63-game U.S. Olympic winning streak.
The American team was so angry over the officiating that U.S. officials filed a formal protest. Twelve American players refused to accept their silver medals at the event and have refused to accept them to this day.
With Mr. Kondrashin as its coach, the Soviet team went on to become the gold winner at the world championship in 1974. But after his team took the bronze medal in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, he was fired as coach.
In recent years, Mr. Kondrashin had coached a team in the Russian basketball league.