USSR vs. USA Gold Medal Game
Game: 1972 Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Game
Match-up: USA vs. USSR
Nothing gives Americans a sense of national pride quite like sticking it to the Russians. If you need a reminder, try watching Rocky IV without crying. It's impossible. In the middle of the Cold War, the US was poised to win gold with :03 left in the game and the USSR trailing by a point. On the subsequent inbounds pass, the USSR ran the clock out without getting a shot off. As the buzzer sounded, the American team stormed the court in triumph. Then, things got weird.
The officials—who all spoke different languages—forced the teams to lineup again and play out the final :03, claiming the game clock was started improperly. The teams played out the final :03 again with the same result: goofy play, no shot, buzzer and celebration. Again, the officials colluded to, inexplicably, claim the game clock was rolled improperly for a second straight time. On the third inbounds attempt the Russians completed a full court pass that set up a game-winning lay-in. To this day players on the '72 US men's basketball team have not accepted their silver medals.