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Some facts from the game relating to one of the referees, Artenik Arabadjan:

Let's start from the moment when there was 3:30 to go. The score is 44:42, and the Soviets are still leading. This is the closest the game has been. From here, the game will be decided.

  1. Starting from this moment until the end of the game, the Soviets were charged with two fouls, and the Americans with five. Righetto called one foul against the Americans, and two against the Soviets. Arabadjan called four fouls, all against the Americans. Every Soviet possession from here ends with a foul, except for the last two Soviet possessions. Look at the Soviet attack that started when there was 38 seconds left, the Americans are so scared of Arabadjan, they don't even try to defend too closely because they know a foul will immediately be called. Another attack without a foul, the very last one, started with three seconds left on the clock.

    Here is a list of fouls:

    Who called a foul

    Foul called against team

    Score before free throws (USSR:USA)

    Score after free throws

    Time left

    Arabadjan

    USA

    44:42

    44:42

    3:21

    Arabadjan

    USA

    44:42

    45:42

    2:58

    Arabadjan

    USA

    45:42

    47:42

    2:32

    Righetto

    USSR

    47:44

    47:46

    1:59

    Righetto

    USA

    47:46

    48:46

    1:28

    Arabadjan

    USA

    48:46

    49:46

    0:55

    Righetto

    USSR

    49:48

    49:50

    0:03

    Here is the video of four fouls called by Arabadjan:

  2. The last foul episode (from the previous video) is notable because of the following events. It happened when there were 55 seconds left in the game.

    During an American attack Bantom (number 7) fouled on Zharmuhamedov (number 7). The foul was called by Arabadjan. After the whistle, all the players started moving towards the American zone - there was less than three minutes left in the game, so every foul was punished by free throws. Arabadjan showed the number of American who had fouled. He then turned back to take the ball from the hands of Sergey Belov, who pointed to himself and slightly nodded at Arabadjan, obviously asking the referee to assign him free throws. Arabadjan went along with this and turned to the table and showed that the thrower would be Sergey Belov.

    At that point, a time-out was called by the Americans. I skipped the time-out, and you can see how Sergey Belov score once out of two attempts.

    It is disputable whether or not Arabadjan made an honest mistake, but obviously Sergey Belov knew that he should not have taken those free throws. Actually, this action of the Soviet team included a risk. According to the rules (read article 68 and comment 8 of the rules), if the Americans had discovered the fact of the free thrower being substituted in time (before they started their attack), the point scored by Sergey Belov would have been disregarded and the ball would be awarded to the American team.

  3. It was Arabadjan who missed a goaltending by A. Belov with three seconds left in the game. Can you believe that a referee at that level can miss that?

  4. Look at Arabadjan's behavior between the Soviet's first and second attempts (main video). When the game was stopped the first time, while Righetto is trying to get everyone from the American bench back to their seats, Arabadjan is just wandering around while the Soviet coach Kondrashin is giving advice to the players. He even passes through them, not saying a word, like he doesn't see them. But time-out was not given, and Arabadjan is very well aware of it, so it's his job to order Kondrashin back to the bench and the players back to the field. Instead, he pretended to be busy wandering around, watching Righetto and talking to one of the officials.

  5. It was Arabadjan who overlooked (or preferred not to see) a silent substitution made by Kondrashin. Watch the video above.
  6. Do you remember how strange Arabadjan's behavior was just before the very last play of the game? All of a sudden, he started making the strangest gestures towards McMillen. When McMillen moved away, Arabadjan handed the ball to Edeshko.

Now you can build your own theory using all of this.