Sergei Belov, Guard on ’72 Soviet Gold Medal Squad, Dies at 69

Sergei Belov, a starting guard on the Soviet Union basketball team that won a gold medal over the U.S. at the 1972 Olympics, died today. He was 69.

The first international player to be elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Belov died in Perm, Russia, Euroleague Basketball said today in a release on its website. It didn’t list a cause of death.

Belov scored a game-high 20 points in the Soviet Union’s 51-50 win over the U.S. in the gold-medal game in Munich, which ended on a decisive last-second layup after the clock had been reset. It was the first time since the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics in 1936 that the U.S. didn’t win the tournament and the Americans refused to accept the silver medal.

“World basketball has lost a true legend today with the passing of Sergei Belov,” Euroleague Basketball Chief Executive Jordi Bertomeu said in the release. “Mr. Belov was a great figure in European basketball’s history and an example of excellence who helped paved the way for the growth of the sport we all love.”

Born on Jan. 23, 1944, in Naschekovo, Belov won Euroleague titles in 1969 and 1971 with CSKA Moscow. He also led the club to 11 Soviet league titles in a 12-season span, according to the release.

Belov helped the Soviet Union to world championships in 1967 and 1974, and won four Olympic medals. He later coached CSKA and the Russian national team.

Voted one of the Euroleague’s 50 Greatest Contributors to club basketball in the continent, Belov was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

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