History Podcasts

U.S. Boycotts 1980 Moscow Olympics

U.S. Boycotts 1980 Moscow Olympics

In protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter decided that the United States would not participate in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. In a news report, the would-be U.S. athletes voice their opinions on the boycott.


NBC Recalls Moscow Olympic Boycott

For every athlete adversely affected by the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, there was an NBC Sports employee with a similarly shattered dream.

“It’s history and you can’t change it,” track and field announcer Charlie Jones said. “All you can do is cry in the dark.”

Those who remain at the network have vivid memories of the spring of 1980.

“I remember the day the boycott became official,” said Terry Ewert, then an associate producer. “I was with Bryant Gumbel at the ski jump at Lake Placid doing a pre-Olympic piece. We had heard preliminary reports on the radio that things were looking bad.

“They were going to make me a producer. It was a very dismal day in Lake Placid. The boycott was a blow. The Moscow Olympics were the reason I was hired by NBC. I thought my career was not going to go anywhere. It was disappointing because we had worked so hard for two years.”

Ewert, who was to have produced the late-night segments of NBC’s coverage, is the coordinating producer for the network’s Olympic programming from Seoul, South Korea. His career certainly did not end in 1980 he has received two Emmy Awards for his work at NBC.

“Late-night was to be entirely on tape, so they wanted to throw some entertainment elements into it,” remembers Ewert. “David Letterman was going to host. About the time of the boycott, I was planning a trip out to the West Coast to meet with him. To this day, I have never spoken with David Letterman.”

Among those who were to have prominent roles in the Moscow coverage were Gumbel, Letterman, Bruce Jenner, Donna DeVarona, O.J. Simpson and Joe Garagiola.

“Bryant has an old photo of all the 1980 hosts,” Ewert said. “It’s interesting to see the faces and think about how all the careers have changed.”

Michael Weisman, the executive producer of NBC Sports, was to produce track and field and the opening ceremonies in 1980.

“My wife and I planned a child around Moscow,” Weisman said when asked to reflect on the boycott led by the United States and supported by 54 nations. “We got married in December of 1978. We did not want Carol to give birth during the Games, so when I got back, she’d say, ‘Here’s your child. She’s a month and a half old.’ My daughter, Brett, was born in April. After all of the professional disappointment, it was ironic that I was able to spend time at home with our baby.”

Weisman remembers the office reaction when the boycott became official in the spring of 1980.

“There was a mixture of disappointment and some relief,” Weisman said. “Don Ohlmeyer (then executive producer) was one of the few people who had Olympic experience. Frankly, several of us were concerned about going to Moscow, afraid of plugs being pulled and wondering if we could get out safely. Some were personally relieved they wouldn’t have to be behind the Iron Curtain.

“A lot of people were giving up secure jobs in television to work for NBC during the Olympics. There were no guarantees, no opportunity for work with the network after the Games. There were a lot of personal sacrifices. There were production people who didn’t have glamorous jobs. Their feelings were similar to the athletes, although the losses were not as dramatic.”

Charlie Jones was to have worked track and field at Lenin Stadium in Moscow. He will be get his chance at Seoul.

“It was really disappointing,” he said. “It would’ve been a great moment, probably the number one highlight of my career. Probably because of Moscow, I am looking forward to Seoul more than anybody.

“It’s a chance to be highly visible for a concentrated two-week period. Don Ohlmeyer said everyone was disappointed, but the real impact was to the announcers who were denied prime time, day-by-day coverage by 100 million people.”

Ewert agreed the boycott makes working on the 1988 Seoul Games all the sweeter.

“I feel like it gave us seven more years of preparation to do the 1980 Olympics,” he said. “We’re much stronger and a bigger department now, although that’s not to say we wouldn’t have been successful then. I’ll certainly smile during the Opening Ceremonies. It will be the culmination of the dream to work on the Olympics.

“All of us went into this project thinking Seoul could be another Moscow (because of the frequent unrest in South Korea). But the first few times I went to Seoul and saw how dedicated the people were, I knew that wouldn’t happen. You plan for the worst, you can’t hope for the worst.”

Of the estimated 1,100 people who will work for NBC in Seoul, Weisman said about 25% were involved in the network’s coverage in 1980.

“In the back of our minds, those of us who lived in 1980 are looking forward to the Opening Ceremonies,” he said. “We suffered the loss then. In this world, you keep your fingers crossed. When those ceremonies happen, the biggest smiles you will see will be on our faces. A lot of us will be flashing back.”


40 years later, U.S. boycott of Olympics in Moscow remains ‘horrible’

DENVER — By the time the news filtered to him, Edwin Moses had already left a promising engineering job to focus on a full-time career on the track.

He was lucky. The world-record hurdler already had an Olympic gold medal hanging on his wall from 1976.

Hundreds of other American athletes would never get their chance.

They were part of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team — the team that never made it to the Moscow Games after President Jimmy Carter spearheaded a now-infamous first-of-its-kind decision to boycott the Olympics.

The full board of the U.S. Olympic Committee rubber-stamped Carter’s decision 40 years ago today — April 12, 1980.

“I’d walked away from my career to get ready for the 1980 Olympics, and all was moot,” Moses, 64, told the Associated Press by phone. “So, it was horrible. For me, and for everyone.”

Moses said by the time the USOC’s unwieldy delegation of nearly 2,400 people met at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., on a Saturday morning in April, with Vice President Walter Mondale in attendance, it was all but a done deal that the U.S. team would not be traveling to Moscow.

Carter had begun the push in late 1979, with the Soviet Union pressing a military campaign into Afghanistan.

In his 2010 memoir, Carter called it “one of my most difficult decisions.” Maybe more telling, as former USOC spokesman Mike Moran wrote in a recap of the events leading to the boycott, was an exchange the late 1984 Olympic champion wrestler Jeff Blatnick had with Carter on a plane many years later.

“I go, ‘President Carter, I have met you before, I am an Olympian,’” Moran said in his retelling of Blatnick’s story. “He looks at me and says, ‘Were you on the 1980 hockey team?’ I say, ‘No sir, I’m a wrestler, on the summer team.’ He says, ‘Oh, that was a bad decision, I’m sorry.’”

Forty years later, there is virtually no debate about that conclusion. And the lingering irony of this year’s Games postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic isn’t lost on Moses.

“As an athlete, you lose one of your cat’s nine lives,” he said.

There will be a handful of could’ve-been 2020 Olympians who will not make it to 2021, because of age, injury or a changed qualifying procedure.

Of the 466 U.S. athletes who had qualified for Moscow in 1980, 219 would never get to another Olympics, Moran wrote.

Most of those who did would compete in 1984 against a less-than-full field. The Soviets and a number of Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the Los Angeles Games in a tit-for-tat retribution to the U.S. move four years earlier.

Moses romped to a victory in the 400-meter hurdles at the LA Coliseum in 1984, and he almost certainly would’ve won had the Soviets been there, too. He was the world-record holder and in the middle of a string of 107 straight victories in finals at 400 meters.

If there was any silver lining to the 1980 boycott, Moses believes it was the recalibration of the Olympic model.

During the years of the Moscow and Los Angeles boycotts and massive red ink from Montreal in 1976, the forces that had compelled Moses to quit his job — a profession unrelated to track and field — to retain his amateur status as an Olympian were exposed as unfair and unrealistic. The 1984 Games marked the beginning of the Olympics as a money-making venture and the beginning of the end of the strict rules regarding amateurism that put many Americans at a distinct disadvantage.

All good for those who were able to take advantage of it.

Many from that 1980 team, however, saw their Olympic careers shuttered without ever competing on the biggest stage.

“Nothing was ever done to celebrate the team, and a lot of those members aren’t around anymore,” Moses said. “We made the ultimate sacrifice in a sports world that no one was asked to do — and it was completely involuntary.”


Why Jimmy Carter Ordered the U.S. to Boycott the 1980 Olympics

By late 1979, as he headed into the fourth year of an administration marked by lagging domestic support, President Jimmy Carter found himself facing a new set of challenges from foreign agitators.

In November, more than 60 people were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. Then, in late December, the Soviet Union reignited Cold War tensions by invading Afghanistan to prop up a Communist regime.

Seeking to take a strong stance on the global stage, Carter threatened Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev with a grain embargo and the removal of the SALT II treaty from Senate consideration. He also considered the option of pulling the United States from participating in the Summer 1980 Olympics in the Soviet capital of Moscow, a move that packed a strong public-relations punch but potentially left him vulnerable to a powerful backlash.

Jimmy Carter addresses a group of about 150 U. S. Olympic athletes and officials that the United States will not go to the 1980 summer games in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

Photo: Bettmann Contributor/Getty Images


U.S. Boycotts 1980 Moscow Olympics - HISTORY

WHKMLA : The History of Olympic Boycotts - Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984

The History of Olympic Boycotts - Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
JYJ

Table of Contents

(1) While exhibiting an inability in many instances to effectively implement its policy, the United States nonetheless demonstrated a will to lead and persevere that many had though no longer existed.
Not a quote, so your statement. However, it reads as a pathetic statement by a US American author written for a US American readership. Carter called on the free world to boycott the Moscow Olympics. For every government, every NOC, it was their decision to make. So how do I have to interprete the "will to lead" ? If the result, 62 nations joining the boycott, is to be read as a measure of the US will to lead, then you imply U.S. pressure as that "perseverance". Write in more objective style.
(2) Administration officials could rationalize in whatever manner they desired the embarrassing failure of Western Europe to implement US policy,
not a quote.
It is not the responsibility of Western European governments to implement US policy.
This sentence is unacceptable. Write in more objective style.
(3) but the reality was that the Common Market nations acted with near unanimity in a manner directly opposed to Washington's wishes.
not a quote.
I recall the FRG immediately joining the boycott. Britain, France and Italy did so as well, but individual athletes from these countries attended. So (3a) I do not see unanimity in their action, and (3b) I don't see how the government actions were opposed to Washington's wishes - be more specific, and, where necessary, differentiate.
Overall : This page is too much written from a subjective perspective identifying with an observer from the U.S. If you write from such a perspective, identifying with the U.S. position in 1980, we can end the research project here and now. I am not interested in such a position.

Okay. As the Communist nations boycotting the 1984 Games were non-open societies with unfree media, their governments were in less of a need to discuss / justify their decisions appendix 5 thus is expected to be shorter than appendix 4. Just watch the spelling of appendix.

Much better. Just two points : (1) Suriname (Netherlands Guiana). Suriname was granted independence in 1975 the name Netherlands' Guiana since no longer applied. (2) Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), => Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The Ivorians insist on their name being written in French language.

(1) rephrase "absent from the .. boycott". Confusing absent from a boycott I read as not partaking in the boycott
(2) list of nations : Papua, New Guinea => this is one country called Papua New Guinea
(3) I remember the 1980 Olympics. The United Kingdom NOC declared to participate in the boycott, but individual athletes travelled to Moscow and partook I think the same was the case with France and Italy. This half-boycott should be listed at least in a footnote.
(4) 62 countries and regions did not participated in the 1980 Games:
did not participate. Non-participation does not equal boycott (and, as I listed under (3), participation does not equal non-boycott). Example : First Football (Soccer) World Cup held in Uruguay in 1930. Germany did not participate because the German Football Federation regarded the travel expenses as too high. Your list does not contain South Africa and the Vatican State. So did they send athletes ?

The chapter looks okay. You include a lot of direct quotes I wonder, do you quote these sources directly or indirectly ? If indirectly, you will have to express this in your notes as follows :
U.S. Department of State, Bulletin, vol. 80, Mar. 1980, 52., quoted after (your source)

(1) I like the subdivision of the list.
(2) your list has two double entries (I skipped one each) and a year 981.
(3) - SUCESS OF GAMES IN LOS ANGELES LIKELY TO CHANGE FUTURE OLYMPICS August 10, 1984
contradiction success
(4) This is not the first research paper using historic newspaper articles as a source base. Check http://www.zum.de/whkmla/sp/1011/g2/jisoo2.html she developed a system of grading her sources (newspaper articles). You may want to consider developing grading criteria. G2's method was followed by a number of students in the last semester if you come up with workable grading criteria, your paper is more original and a possible model for future papers to follow.

Much better. Comparison of 1980, 1984 and focus on NYT should be the focus of the paper. Part E - when you try examine the Soviet reasons for boycotting the 1984 LA Games, I assume there will be much less of a variety : simply payback.
Next step : list of articles covering the 1984 boycott

New Boy, the reason why we selected a comparison of the 1980 and 1984 Olympic boycotts and the NYT as a source base was to establish a solid base for you to write a truly original paper. When I look at the table of contents you produce here, I get the following impression : (a) on the 1980 Olympics way too detailed. (b) the restriction on just one Olympic boycott takes out 50 % of the originality of your paper. (c) looking at your table of contents, I get the impression that you completely forgot about the NYT as a base.
When we took this paper, we agreed that the focus of the paper would be the NYT coverage of the boycott, not the boycoytt itself. You have posted a list of NYT articles pertaining to the boycott of the 1980 games. If I look at the very detailed table of contents - do you have articles to cover every single part of it ?
During the last semester you gave a presentation on terminology (U.S. Civil War) where you did use contemporary sources. In that presentation it turned out that you had omitted Confederate sources, which some in your audience found while your presentation still was going on (you did work them into the paper you handed in later.
Looking at this new table of contents, I get the following impression : you let the entire summer vacation pass, not thinking of the paper at all, and alarmed by my email a few days ago you decided, in order to reduce the burden, to give up all originality in your paper and to, instead, follow the ideas / theses expressed in one or two books you read on the topic.

The sole purpose of the books you acquired (secondary sources) was to give you a general background. Your primary sources are the NYT articles.
Check http://www.zum.de/whkmla/sp/0708/eunsol/eunsol2.html Eunsol's paper. You will see, it focusses on the NYT Kazakhstan is just a sample object to establish the NYT bias.
A comparison 1980 vs. 1984 would be just perfect to examine such a bias.

(1) General advice : you are almost a senior. In the coming year you will be busy, April-June APs, SAT IIs, final terms from September to December college application essays. So get as much done as you can in Jan-Feb and June-Sept. Remember, only 30-40 % of research projects actually get completed.
(2) Policy one : collect all articles from NYT first, write a paper based on them, then see if you can handle adding the Times of London articles & fit them in. Policy two : focus on ione boycott in both newspapers, write, then the second, and if there is time, the third. It is up to you, decide on a plan. It is important that you produce partial results at certain stages. So if we can not handle the entire project, we have some result.
(3) There is ONE New York Times archive. What you collect are individual articles from the archive.

Double-check date of the first entry : 1975 or 1976 ?
I think the last entry should be moved into appendix 2 - the Moscow Games.

(1) Today I wrote two letters of recommendation. One of the questions I had to respond to : Do you have any doubt in the academic or personal integrity of the Student ?
If you tell me you want to look things up in the library, and your body language gives me the impression that you want to write on a paper unrelated to our class the deadline of which has passed, you make it more difficult for me to write a letter of recommendation for you one year from now. We have only one hour per week of class I expect you to devote that hour, and more, to your research project.
(2) The fact that you have at present only one extremely short, unorganized list of NYT articles on the boycott, goes to show that lately you have only invested a rather limited amount of attention and effort in your research project.
Your project is of such a limited nature that if you really want to, you can be done with it by the end of the vacation. I expect you to shape up.

In a bibliography delete words such as Inc., Incorporated, Ltd., Limited, "the Free Encyclopedia"
instead of 670-72 : pp.670-672, instead of 69 : p.69
If you refer to one page : p (for pagina) if you refer to more than one page : pp. (for paginae)

(1) C. 1984 Summer Olympics in Soviet Union
in Los Angeles (California, USA)
(2) a. specific sports b. opening ceremony c. media
start with the opening ceremony, then with specific sports, lastly with the media.
Perhaps you want to give a preceding chapter - campaign for boycott.
Overall your oganization makes sense. Get access to the newspapers, focus on one boycott at a time. Compile lists of relevant newspaper articles - date, newspaper, title per boycott.
Such lists we post next. Look into KIH's paper (2008/09) and Choi Eun Sol's paper (2007/08) por samples for such tables. KIH and CES used only one newspaper you need an extra column for NYT or Times.

Bibliography sloppy - place of publication, publisher, year of publication, edition omitted on a regular basis.
Piece of advice : when you make a bibliographic reference, get it right the first time it avoids unnecessary work toward the end when you will be tense and under time pressure.
For the next draft of the bibliography, separate into bibliographic sources, primary sources (f.ex. NYT, Times articles), Secondary sources you are cdertain to use, Secondary sources which are relevant but you may not use.

Times of London online, all issues since 1785 http://archive.timesonline.co.uk/tol/archive/ annual fee for access L 74,95 - reasonable. Alternative to NYT

(1) Caraccioli BOYCOTT : STOLEN DREAMS OF THE 1980 MOSCOW OLYMPIC GAMES 13 USD
(2) Hulme The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. Boycott 48.95 USD
(3) Kanin Political History of the Olympic Games 28.75 USD
(4) Brennan The XXII Summer Olympic Games, Moscow, 1980 1 USD
(5) Killanin The Olympic Games, 1980: Moscow and Lake Placid 1 USD
(6) Chandler The Los Angeles Times Book of the 1984 Olympic Games 1 USD

if you want go go beyond an examination of the boycotts of 1980 and 1984

(7) Ramsamy Apartheid, the Real Hurdle: Sport in South Africa & the International Boycott + THE POLITICS OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES 25 USD
(8) Bachrach Nazi Olympics, The: Berlin 1936: (tagline) United States Holocaust Museum 1.37 USD

I expect 4-6 to be photo albums of the respective olympics, irrelevant to your paper, but as they cost practically nothing .
1 and 2 essential on the boycott of the Moscow Olympics, 3 generally on political influence on the IOC
7 specific if you want to go beyond Moscow and Los Angeles
8 probably on the attempt to boycott the Brlin Olympics as the book issued by US Holocaust Museum

Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Games (twice in your list) : I have that book
Historical Dictionary of the Modern Olympic Movement no author USD 8.17 You may try this one

On Thursday last I had the impression that we agreed on limiting the research project on the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. For your project you have about a year time flows fast. If you lack focus, you may invest a lot of time and effort and fail to get far. If you are able to focus, you will be able, with the investment of the same time and effort, to go much further.
Focus on the Moscow and Los Angeles Olympics alone, and use the NYT as your primary source base.

You found two and probably a half books on the boycott of the Moscow Olympics, and half one on the Los Angeles Olympics (I assume Kanin deals with both). This is about what I expected in English language there will be many publications on the 1980 boycott, but very few on the 1984 boycott.
As your file contains images, I assume you did not use the bibliography in the Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement (in my office) in order to compile this list.
The proper way to compile a bibliography is to go through all relevant accessible bibliographic sources, to compile one list (with complete bibliographic data your list misses the year of publication) and then to take the next step. Copy and paste of image files is inappropriate I will not convert this file into a text file that would have been your job.

Cancelled Olympics Berlin 1916, Tokyo 1940
Boycotted Olympics Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984
Campaigns for Boycotting the Olympics : Berlin 1936, Beijing 2008
Certain Countries Excluded : London 1948 (Germany)
Campaigns to Exclude Certain Countries : PRC / Taiwan early 1970es African Nations / Apartheid South Africa early 1970es ?

Establish a timeline emphasizing the political side of the Olympic games.
Establish a Working Reference List.
What questions do you want to answer in your paper ? Establish Working Table of Contents.


Reconsidering the 1980 Moscow Olympic Boycott: American Sports Diplomacy in East Asian Perspective

Joseph Eaton, Reconsidering the 1980 Moscow Olympic Boycott: American Sports Diplomacy in East Asian Perspective , Diplomatic History, Volume 40, Issue 5, November 2016, Pages 845–864, https://doi.org/10.1093/dh/dhw026

President Jimmy Carter’s attempt to construct a multinational boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics continues to earn the scorn of historians of American diplomacy and sport. While Carter had hoped, as he expressed in his January 23, 1980 State of the Union Address, that the boycott would make the Soviet Union “pay a concrete price for aggression,” historians deem the boycott to have been a foreign policy and sporting “failure of Olympic proportions” that estranged allies, threatened the Olympic movement, and may have ended détente. 1

Carter’s boycott is also perceived as a missed opportunity for sports diplomacy. Soon after the initial discussion of a boycott, dialogue began in the Carter administration, Congress, and American media about the need for alternative.


&bull The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 27, 1979. In January 1980, U.S. President Jimmy Carter issued the Soviet Union an ultimatum: pull out of Afghanistan by February 20 or the United States would refuse to participate in the Moscow games. Canada's government announced its intention to follow suit.

&bull A Canadian election in February 1980 brought a change in government, and the Liberals consulted with athletes before agreeing to the boycott, which affected 211 Canadian athletes.

&bull About 60 nations joined the boycott, including Japan, China, West Germany and Israel. Among the 80 nations that competed in the 1980 Olympic games were France, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden -- and Afghanistan.

&bull Approximately 10,000 athletes had been expecting to compete at the Games before the boycott began about 6,000 attended. That year, the Soviet team collected 80 gold medals, 69 silver, and 46 bronze.

&bull This was not the first time an Olympics had been boycotted by some countries. In 1976, a number of African and Caribbean nations refused to participate in the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand was there. They were protesting the fact that New Zealand had played rugby in apartheid South Africa and gone unpunished. In 1956, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon pulled out of the Melbourne Olympics because of the Suez Crisis.

&bull Athletes from 30 countries participated in an alternate competition promoted by the United States -- a track and field event in Philadelphia called the Liberty Bell Classic by some and the Freedom Games by others.

&bull Whether the boycott accomplished much is dubious. The Soviets remained in Afghanistan for eight years and as many predicted, the Eastern Bloc countries retaliated by boycotting the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Many athletes lost their only chance at Olympic glory.

Also on April 22:
&bull 1964: The Liberals under Ross Thatcher win the Saskatchewan general election, ending 20 years of CCF rule.
&bull 1965: The Rolling Stones start their first tour of Canada in Montreal. They play Ottawa, Toronto and London, Ont. before heading to Albany, New York.
&bull 1998: Gwen Boniface becomes the first woman to head the Ontario Provincial Police, Canada's second-largest police force after the RCMP. She succeeds Thomas O'Grady.


Moscow 1980: Forty years on

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXII Olympiad, in Moscow in 1980.

The first Games to be held behind the Iron Curtain in a socialist country, they were attended by 5,179 athletes (1,115 women and 4,064 men), from 80 National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Among the participating nations, seven NOCs &ndash Angola, Botswana, Cyprus, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique and the Seychelles &ndash made their first-ever appearance at the Olympic Games.

There were some truly stunning performances in the-then Soviet capital, where athletes competed in 203 different events. Home athlete gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin won medals in every men&rsquos gymnastics event &ndash three gold, four silver and one bronze &ndash becoming the first athlete to win eight medals at the same Olympic Games. At the same time, super-heavyweight Teófilo Stevenson of Cuba became the first boxer to win the same division three times, and Gerd Wessig of East Germany became the first male high jumper to break the world record at the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile on the track, Great Britain&rsquos middle-distance runners Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe went head-to-head in what proved a memorable race. Ovett took the gold medal in the 800m ahead of his compatriot. Six days later, the tables were turned when Coe took gold in the 1500m, while Ovett had to settle for bronze. In total, 36 world records, 39 European records and 74 Olympic records were set at the Games.

The Olympic Games Moscow 1980 are also remembered for a boycott as part of a protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. As a result, some 67 eligible nations refrained from participating in the Games. Some explicitly cited the boycott as the reason, with others giving alternative explanations. Other nations left the decision about participation to the athletes themselves, with several participating under the Olympic flag or the flags of their NOCs rather than their national flags.

As a result, Moscow 1980 was a bitter-sweet experience for many athletes under strong pressure to desist &ndash or even banned &ndash from participating. Although some who forewent the Games managed to maintain their training and participate in the Olympic Games four years later in 1984, others who had trained since Montreal 1976 saw their hopes and dreams of repeating the experience dashed. Still others missed out on what was their only opportunity to go to an edition of the Olympic Games.

One athlete who was unable to participate was the current International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, from West Germany, a Montreal 1976 champion in fencing. Reflecting on the boycott 40 years later, he commented: &ldquoThis should never happen again to future generations of athletes. And this is what still drives me today, to give all the clean athletes of the world the chance to participate in the Olympic Games.&rdquo

In the event, despite many athletes making the ultimate career sacrifice, the boycott failed to achieve its aims as the Soviet presence in Afghanistan lasted until 1989.

President Bach added: &ldquoAnybody who is thinking about a boycott should learn this lesson from history a sports boycott serves nothing. It's only hurting the athletes and it's hurting the population of the country because they are losing the joy to share, the pride, the success with their Olympic team. So, what is a boycott for? It's against all the Olympic spirit. It's against all the values we have in sport and what we stand for in sport.


U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics - Political Science bibliographies - in Harvard style

Your Bibliography: 2001-2009.state.gov. 2015. The Olympic Boycott, 1980. [online] Available at: <http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/qfp/104481.htm> [Accessed 21 May 2015].

Arnaud, P. and Riordan, J.

Sport and International Politics

1998 - Spon Press - London

In-text: (Arnaud and Riordan, 1998)

Your Bibliography: Arnaud, P. and Riordan, J., 1998. Sport and International Politics. London: Spon Press.

Biven, W. C.

Jimmy Carter's economy

2002 - University of North Carolina Press - Chapel Hill

In-text: (Biven, 2002)

Your Bibliography: Biven, W., 2002. Jimmy Carter's economy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Caraccioli, T. and Caraccioli, J.

Boycott

2008 - New Chapter Press - [Washington, D.C.]

In-text: (Caraccioli and Caraccioli, 2008)

Your Bibliography: Caraccioli, T. and Caraccioli, J., 2008. Boycott. [Washington, D.C.]: New Chapter Press.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan | 1979

In-text: (Soviet invasion of Afghanistan | 1979, 2014)

Your Bibliography: Encyclopedia Britannica. 2014. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan | 1979. [online] Available at: <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1499983/Soviet-invasion-of-Afghanistan> [Accessed 21 May 2015].

Gibbs, D.

Does the USSR Have a 'Grand Strategy'? Reinterpreting the Invasion of Afghanistan

1987 - Journal of Peace Research

In-text: (Gibbs, 1987)

Your Bibliography: Gibbs, D., 1987. Does the USSR Have a 'Grand Strategy'? Reinterpreting the Invasion of Afghanistan. Journal of Peace Research, 24(4), pp.365-379.

Guttmann, A.

The Cold War and the Olympics

1988 - International Journal

In-text: (Guttmann, 1988)

Your Bibliography: Guttmann, A., 1988. The Cold War and the Olympics. International Journal, 43(4), p.554.

Hartman, A.

'The red template': Us policy in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan

2002 - Third World Quarterly

In-text: (Hartman, 2002)

Your Bibliography: Hartman, A., 2002. 'The red template': Us policy in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Third World Quarterly, 23(3), pp.467-489.

Ḥazan, B.

Olympic sports and propaganda games

1982 - Transaction Books - New Brunswick, N.J.

In-text: (Ḥazan, 1982)

Your Bibliography: Ḥazan, B., 1982. Olympic sports and propaganda games. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books.

The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. Response, 1978–1980 - 1977–1980 - Milestones - Office of the Historian

In-text: (The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. Response, 1978–1980 - 1977–1980 - Milestones - Office of the Historian, n.d.)

Your Bibliography: History.state.gov. n.d. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. Response, 1978–1980 - 1977–1980 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. [online] Available at: <https://history.state.gov/milestones/1977-1980/soviet-invasion-afghanistan> [Accessed 21 May 2015].

Hudson, V. M.

Foreign policy analysis

2007 - Rowman & Littlefield Pub. - Lanham

In-text: (Hudson, 2007)

Your Bibliography: Hudson, V., 2007. Foreign policy analysis. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Pub.

Kanin, D. B.

The Olympic Boycott in Diplomatic Context

1980 - Journal of Sport & Social Issues

In-text: (Kanin, 1980)

Your Bibliography: Kanin, D., 1980. The Olympic Boycott in Diplomatic Context. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 4(1), pp.1-24.

Morrison, R.

Government Documents Relating to the 1980 Olympic Games Boycott. A Contents Analysis and Bibliography.

In-text: (Morrison, 1982)

Your Bibliography: Morrison, R., 1982. Government Documents Relating to the 1980 Olympic Games Boycott. A Contents Analysis and Bibliography..

Reichard, G. W.

Early Returns: Assessing Jimmy Carter

1990 - Presidential Studies Quarterly

In-text: (Reichard, 1990)

Your Bibliography: Reichard, G., 1990. Early Returns: Assessing Jimmy Carter. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 20(3), pp.603-620.

Sarantakes, N. E.

Dropping the torch

2011 - Cambridge University Press - Cambridge

In-text: (Sarantakes, 2011)

Your Bibliography: Sarantakes, N., 2011. Dropping the torch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, A.

Diversionary Foreign Policy in Democratic Systems

1996 - International Studies Quarterly

In-text: (Smith, 1996)

Your Bibliography: Smith, A., 1996. Diversionary Foreign Policy in Democratic Systems. International Studies Quarterly, 40(1), p.133.


1980 Moscow Olympics boycott

Scene from the opening ceremony of the Moscow Olympic Games, 1980. The small New Zealand team marched behind a black flag with a silver fern rather than the national flag.

Boycotting Moscow

In late December 1979 Soviet troops entered Afghanistan to prop up the government it had helped instal in Kabul eight months earlier. In retaliation, US President Jimmy Carter and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher instigated a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. This became larger than that led by black African nations in 1976. While New Zealand was among the 80 countries eventually represented at Moscow, its tiny team had few realistic medal prospects.

From January 1980 Robert Muldoon’s government pressured the Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association to boycott the Games. The Association delayed confirming its attendance, but by mid-April had named a team of over 100. In response Cabinet voted that there would be no official government presence or Olympic brochure, and that public servants would not be granted special leave to attend. The latter had a significant impact on some athletes. Although they could still apply for annual leave, some were told they would lose their jobs if they attended the Olympics. Others were hauled in front of their departmental head or minister and advised of the government’s position.

There was also indirect pressure on athletes and their associations, many of which feared losing future government funding or the withdrawal of sponsorship. The public appeared to support the government’s position and some athletes were abused or received obscene phone calls. Following anonymous death threats against athletes from a shadowy ‘Patriotic New Zealanders Organisation’, the police advised team members on how to handle ‘suspect mail’.

By the end of May all that remained of the Olympic team was canoeists Ian Ferguson, Alan Thompson and Geoff Walker, and modern pentathlete Brian Newth. Rather than marching behind the national flag at the opening ceremony, the small team walked behind a black flag with a silver fern. One American journalist mistakenly suggested that this symbolised New Zealand’s protest against Soviet invention in Afghanistan. He was quickly corrected by an Australian journalist, who told him that black was ‘traditional rather than a protest'.

Among the athletes to miss out was the 1976 star, John Walker. His great rival in the 1500 m, Filbert Bayi, who had himself been unable to compete in Montreal because of a boycott, commented that he missed his old sparring partner. But he added, ‘Now he knows what I felt like in 1976. It’s the same situation in reverse’.

It was not only athletes who suffered. Up to 200 New Zealanders travelled to Moscow for the Olympics, but few saw any Kiwis in action. Prior to the Games, travel agents had organised tickets for track and field, swimming and rowing. Canoeing and modern pentathlon were sold out by the time it became clear which events New Zealanders were competing in.

Brian Newth had problems with his pistol and finished 14th of the 40 competitors in the modern pentathlon, a combination of equestrian, fencing, shooting, swimming and cross-country running. The heat went on the canoeists to prevent New Zealand’s first medal drought since 1948. They too faced difficulties when one of the boats they had leased arrived from Britain without one of its seats. Next day the Russians provided two brand new boats. The canoeists didn’t win a medal but made three out of their four finals. At the following Games, canoeists Ian Ferguson, Alan Thompson, Paul MacDonald and Grant Bramwell won four gold medals.

Many athletes were bitterly disappointed at not being able to compete in Moscow, particularly as the boycott had little practical effect on Soviet policy towards Afghanistan. Its most tangible outcome was probably the ‘tit for tat’ Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.


Watch the video: 1980 Moscow (January 2022).