After the usual round of pre-judgement day antics, the 12 semi-finalists in this year's Miss.?
After the usual round of pre-judgement day antics, the 12 semi-finalists in this year's Miss. Universe contest lined up before a capacity audience at Hong Kong's historic Chinese theatre on Sunday (11 July) to find out which of them would be crowned as queen of 1976.
The 12 girls who made it through the preliminary rounds to the final judging were Misses Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Curacao, England, Hong Kong, Israel, Norway, Scotland, Venezuela and Wales. It was a tense moment for all of them as the five finalists were announced - among them were Miss. Venezuela 18-year-old Judith Costillo and Miss. Israel - 20-year-old Rina Messinger.
And the others, doing their best to look nonchalent during the last agonising minutes before knowing which of them would take the top prize, were Miss Australia, June Ismay aged 24 from Sydney, who came fifth, Scotland's Carol Grant aged 19, who came fourth and Sian Adey-Jones, aged 18 from Wales, who was a popular third. Sian was the best placed of the three British girls, who all reached the last dozen in the contest.
Which left Miss. Venezuela a hairsbreadth sway from her lifetime's ambition - which is where she stayed, because the judges gave her second place - awarding the Miss. Universe 1976 title to Rina Messinger of Israel. An overwhelming moment of triumph for the pre-contest favourite, who fought back tears as she was crowned. Rina learned to shoot and fly during her two years in the women's corps of the Israeli army and is now studying aerodynamics at Tel Aviv university.