POLITICS AND SPORT: 1980 Summer Olympics Boycott

1980 Summer Olympics Boycott – VulneraSanentur4

The 1980 Summer Olympics were the first Olympic to be held in Eastern Europe, particularly Moscow, Soviet Union (present-day Russia). The games were held at the beginning of the seven year long Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and were therefore boycotted by 66 countries. It was led by the United States at the insistence of the current president Jimmy Carter. Originally, the appeal was discouraged until early January 1980, when Russian nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov called for the boycott. Over the next two weeks, America and Canada set a deadline of the 20th of February 1980 for the Soviet Union to pull out of Afghanistan, before the boycott would happen.

Muhammad Ali was sent by the U.S to Tanzania, Nigeria and Senegal to convince their leaders to join the boycott. He also successfully persuaded the Kenyan government to also join. Japan, West Germany, China, the Philippines, Chile, Argentina and Canada fully joined the boycott, however, the UK, France and Australia supported the boycott, but left it up to their respective NOC’s as to whether the athletes would compete. Those Western World countries that continued to compete did so underneath the Olympic Flag, and the Olympic anthemn was played in any ceremonies. This meant that there was one awards ceremony where three Olympic flags were raised. At the closing ceremony, the Los Angeles flag, instead of the U.S.A flag, was raised to signify the next host, and the Antwerp flag was received by an IOC member of the United States. It would usually be recieved by the mayor.

Sixty-six countries that were invited to the games did not participate for reasons including the boycott and economic crises. Seven countries participated in the games without going to the opening ceremony. Great Britain and Ireland both sent a representative to the opening ceremony, under the Olympic flag.

Many events were re-created at later dates so that the countries that couldn’t participate could do so, but they were not counted in the medal table.


  1. Boutcher Primary School Boutcher Primary School

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  2. Boutcher Primary School Boutcher Primary School

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