The Olympics is always a world wide spectacle. It is a way to honor the exceptional psychical talent that men and women across the globe have. It is a way for countries to unite together in friendly competition. It’s a way to bring the world together. People from across the world come together to support their country. It’s a way for the people of the world to mingle and interact with different cultures. Unfortunately, the 1980 Olympics weren’t that. The United States and 55 other nations decided to boycott the games in protest over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. This boycott deepened the atmosphere of the Cold War. This was a strictly political move and it ended up impacting the athletes most of all.
The Carter administration thought that a boycott would be the best non-military approach for protesting the Afghanistan invasion. Don Paige, an American middle distance runner, knew that he had a chance to win gold int he 1800 m run. Unfortunately for him, that dream
of the 1980 Olympics was ruined. When asked about what he thought of the boycott he said the follow:
“And then I heard those words from Pres. Carter: ‘We will not go’. I thought, you got to be kidding me? We’re not going to the Olympics? I was heartbroken that politics and sport had mixed, but they always do, it’s no use pretending otherwise. I got my revenge. I became a Republican that year.”
“The Soviets would also be able to play the role of an aggrieved party before a partially sympathetic international audience and to utilize international disagreements over the boycott to exacerbate tensions between the U.S. and non-boycotting (or reluctantly boycotting) states, probably including some close U.S. allies.”
this boycott would have a devastating and lasting impact on the Soviet Union, it didn’t. 55% of American’s favored the boycott but there was a lot of push back. Many thought that this boycott would give the Soviets a sympathetic edge and some influence on the national stage. Julian Roosevelt, an American member of the International Olympic Committee, said that boycotting wasn’t the way to protest the invasion. Going to the Olympics and fighting those Soviets was!
“I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but the patriotic thing to do is for us to send a team over there and whip their ass.”
“Friends are coming apart,
Tenderness stays in the heart…
We shall cherish the song.
Farewell, we shall meet again.”