Friday, March 21, 2014
President Carter Announces United States To Boycot Moscow Olympics
On March 21, 1980, the President of the United States of America, Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Russia.
Led by the United States, 65 countries boycotted the games because of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, though some athletes from some of the boycotting countries participated in the games, under the Olympic Flag.
This prompted the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics that were held in Los Angeles, Calif.
Some of the later events of the games were also nearly marred by the death and unauthorized mass funeral of the immensely popular and beloved singer-songwriter Vladimir Vysotsky.
Although approximately half of the 24 countries that boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics (in protest of apartheid in South Africa) participated in these games, the 1980 Summer Olympics were disrupted by another, even larger, boycott led by the United States in protest of the 1979 Soviet war in Afghanistan. Many of the boycotting nations participated instead in the Liberty Bell Classic (also known as the "Olympic Boycott Games") in Philadelphia.
Eighty nations participated – the smallest number since 1956. However, the nations that did compete had won 71% of the medals, including 71% of the gold medals, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Of the 80 nations represented at the Moscow Games, six nations made their first Olympic appearance in 1980: Angola, Botswana, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique, and Seychelles. Cyprus made its debut at the Summer Olympics, but had appeared earlier at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Sri Lanka competed for the first time under its new name (previously as Ceylon), Benin had competed previously as Dahomey and Zimbabwe competed for the first time under that name (previously as Rhodesia).
As a form of protest against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, 15 countries marched in the Opening Ceremony with the Olympic Flag instead of with their national flags, and the Olympic Flag and Olympic Hymn were used at Medal Ceremonies when athletes from these countries won medals. Competitors from three countries New Zealand, Portugal and Spain; competed under the flag of their respective National Olympic Committees. Some of the teams who marched under other than their national flags were depleted by boycotts by individual athletes, and others did not march.
The Soviet Union took home the most medals with 195 total medals, including the most Gold medals of any country with 80. They also won 69 Silver medals and 46 Bronze medals.
The East Germans took home the second most medals with 126, including 47 Gold medals, 37 Silver medals and 42 Bronze medals.
The Bulgarians took home the third most medals with 41, including eight Gold medals, 16 Silver medals and 17 Bronze medals.