Mikhail served in a Soviet prison shortly after his triumph at the Munich Olympics. The champion passed away too early.
It’s surprising, after all, how much excitement was caused in the Russian society by the film "Moving Up". The film not only grossed the most impressive box office in history, but also made people explore the historical aspects of the Munich 1972 Olympics. The viewers were divided in opinion: some considered the picture to be a genius, while others found many inconsistencies with real events. There were no indifferent people.
The most not indifferent and emotional player of that golden team of Vladimir Kondrashin remained in the background in the film. This is, of course, about Mikhail Korkia. The 23-year-old Georgian basketball player did not spend much time in the main match of his life, but left a big mark and directly influenced the outcome of the match. It was Korkia who got into hand-to-hand combat with the leader of the US national team Dwight Jones, for which both were sent off before the end of the match. A kind of exchange was in the hands of the USSR national team, as head coach Vladimir Kondrashin said after the match.
“Mishiko, it was your best match: you took the main player of the Americans out of the game,” the coach noted.
However, there will be an episode in the life of a basketball player that he will put above the golden triumph of Munich.
It's about a four-year prison sentence, which he received in 1983 for illegal business activities.
After serving in a Soviet prison, Korkia did not hide: “The moment of triumphant jubilation in Munich was for me the moment of truth. So I thought until July 1987, when I was released from prison. Freedom turned out to be more expensive than three seconds."
Although he became a legend of Georgian basketball not only thanks to his performance in 1972. His devotion to Dinamo Tbilisi, with whom he beat CSKA in the USSR Championship, is worth a lot. As part of the blue and white, he played his entire career, and next to him was his best friend and teammate Zurab Sakandelidze, with whom they were very close since childhood.
The entrepreneurial vein of Korkia constantly haunted him. In 1973, he, along with other players of the national team, was caught smuggling at the entrance to the USSR, and this cost him a lifetime disqualification and expulsion from the national team. Fortunately, as is often the case, the life sentence turned out to be temporary. Two years later, Korkia returned to the national team and twice won silver in the European Championship and bronze in the 1976 Olympics.
Outside the basketball court, the hospitality and breadth of Mishiko's Georgian soul (that is what his close friends and teammates called him) were legendary. It is known that it was he who helped Alexander Belov meet his future wife. To which, according to rumors, the author of the legendary "golden" ball in the final of the Munich Olympics answered symmetrically, having gone to a difficult conversation with the parents of the future wife of Korkia.
On top of that, Mishiko was one of the main jokers of the national team. Olympic champion Alexander Boloshev told a story when a very young Korkia, just before his trip to Munich, after another political meeting at a training base, approached the “iconostasis” of the Politburo members and said with feeling: “Well, at least one of them was my uncle! There would be no need to win the Olympics”.
Mikhail Korkia's uncle, Otar Korkia, is a famous basketball player, honored master of sports, three-time European champion and silver medalist at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. The surname Korkia is still considered almost the most basketball in Georgia.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Korkia continued to do business, paying attention to sports in parallel. He was a co-owner of the Torpedo football club from his native Kutaisi, tried to take the post of president of the Georgian Basketball Federation. Unfortunately, a sick heart often reminded of itself, which stopped on February 7, 2004. 13 days after the best friend and team-mate Zurab Sakandelidze, who committed a “golden” tactical foul in the final of the Munich Olympics and became the creator of the very three seconds for which the national team carried out an effective attack, died. Mikhail Korkia left at only 55 years old. Too early, like his close friend Sakandelidze.