Until 1992, the Summer and Winter Olympics were still held on the same year. In 1980, the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, New York, while the Summer Olympics were held in Moscow, USSR. The Winter Olympics were famously marked by the US win over the Soviets in hockey, but the Summer Olympics are remembered for something a little different.
The United States boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow due to the fact that the Soviets had just invaded Afghanistan at the end of 1979. In addition to the US, 55 other countries also decided to join the boycott.
The USSR, which had poured so much time and effort into making the city look pristine, was obviously unhappy about the United States basically destroying the Soviets claim-to-fame in the Olympic world. In an article from Pravda in March of 1980, the Soviets go all-out in their criticism of the United States decision, specifically targeting President Carter. They refer to the boycotters as “…enemies of the Olympic movement,” and later go on to say “Certain politicians have brazenly interfered in the international athletic movement, their aim being to wreck the Moscow Olympics to please the personal ambitions of US President Carter.” The Soviets make the boycott out to be an attack on the Olympics themselves rather than strictly for political reasons. They even later write “The clear intention is to carry over the policy of blocs into sports,” meaning that the US is just trying to find another way to work to undermine the Soviets. Whatever the case, the Olympics were still held, and millions of people bought tickets and attended.
On a much lighter note, here is a picture of “Misha,” the mascot of the Moscow Olympics. Now how could anyone boycott something so cuddly?