1972 Olympic Champ Dies: Nicolae Martinescu Dies At 73; Cause Of Death Not Revealed

1972 Munich Games
Symbol from the 1972 Munich Games in which Romanian wrestler Nicolae Martinescu won a gold medal. Creative Commons

Former Olympic champion Nicolae Martinescu has died at the age of 73.

Martinescu won gold at the infamous 1972 Munich Olympic Games, sadly recognized by most for the terrible massacre in which 11 Israeli coaches and olympians were murdered by a group of 8 Palestinian extremists. 

A positive note to an otherwise nightmarish situation was the performance of Martinescu. Advancing to the semifinal's of the Greco-Roman Heavyweight Wrestling Tournament, Martinescu got past Hungary's Ferenc Kiss to advance to the final. With a gold medal on the line in the championship round, Martinescu defeated the Soviet Union's Nikolai Yakovenko, bringing the gold to his home country of Romania.

"Mr. Nicolae Martinescu was a very talented wrestler. All our thoughts are for his family and the Romanian Wrestling Federation," was the statement issued by FILA, the governing body of wrestling.

Thanks to the efforts of Martinescu combined with the performances his fellow Romanian olympians, Romania collected 16 medals including 3 gold medals. Of the 48 nations competing at the 1972 Games, Romania finished 13th in total medals won.

In addition to his 1972 Olympic gold medal, Nicolae Martinescu won a bronze medal at the 1968 Mexico City Games.

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Sports reporter covering the hot topics of the day in Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, Premier League, Spanish Primera League, Liga MX and others. I've also covered 2014 World Cup Qualifying and hosted interviews with high-profile athletes including Victor Cruz and Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants. In my spare time I work as a play-by-play announcer for MSG Networks and the Division I Northeast Conference. Graduate of Monmouth University with a B.A. in Applied Communication.