The Aftermath of the1980 Olympic Boycott

The 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union made president Jimmy Carter issue the ultimatum to boycott the 1980 summer olympic games in Moscow, Russia, if Soviet troops did not withdraw within one month.

As this did not happen, the boycott ensued. The United States were joined by Japan, West Germany, China, the Philippines, Argentina and Canada. The “Olympic Boycott Games” that were held in Philadelphia and were attended by some of these countries. France, Australia, and the United Kingdom supported the boycott but let their athletes participate if they wanted. There are multiple views regarding the impact of the boycott, some saying it did nothing but others saying it was extremely impactful.

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The international sports committee, prior to the games themselves, stated that that boycott was an “improper method to use in trying to obtain a political end, and that the real victims of such an action are the sportsmen and sportswomen of the world” (Associated Press (23 April 1980). “Governments slapped for boycott pressure”. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). However, some say, including my grandma, that the boycott was a weapon against communism. Although the Soviet government tried to block the boycott out, word spread through all of Russia.

People in Russia didn’t agree with the Afghanistan war already, so many didn’t think the boycott was a big surprise. People, especially those living in Moscow,, were the only people allowed to stay near the games, and the rest of the Russian population wasn’t allowed in. People started to realize that the government was trying to make Moscow seem a lot better, through sending gypsies to Siberia, imprisoning any people who protested, putting “better” food on the shelves, and hiding police in civilian clothes to make sure no RUSSIAN said anything “harmful.” People started to realize that the government who told them Moscow is the best city and Russia is the best country is lying. The boycott made the 1980 games a financial failure, due to the fact that many athletes did not come, and was an eyeopener, for the Russian people, that Communism was flawed.

This is why Putin is spending 7 times the amount of money spent in the London games in Sochi, so the mistake of the eyeopener and the financial failure of few countries coming will not happen again. The boycott, according to many, just prevented athletes from being athletes and showed that peace between the Soviet Union and the Western world was far fetched. However, there were far fetched implications of the Boycott on the Russian people which may have contributed to the ending of communism in Russia.