Olympic boycott: 35 years later

In the Soviet Union, the Olympic Games were treated as a shrine and an outlet. Do not forget that "for the first time the games are held in the capital of a socialist state." Were proud of the victories of athletes. First of all - team wins in the "unofficial standings". And in the 1970-e big sport in the USSR scored cruising course. After an insulting defeat in Mexico City-68 in Munich-72 managed to win the championship in all respects. In Montreal-76 - almost on the territory of the main rival - the USSR national team took precedence again, while the Americans remained in third place, letting Erry Honecker, the GDR athletes, go ahead with the restless favorites.

Opening Olympics 1980 of the year.
Photo by Sergey Metelitsa / TASS

And after long hesitations, a “limited contingent” of soldiers-internationalists was sent to 1979 in Afghanistan in December to support the communist government. In the US, they immediately began talking about “red aggression” against a sovereign state.

In the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, no one doubted that the Americans would raise a fuss, and they did not even hope for a favorable reaction from the entire diverse world community. But even such experienced politicians as Andrei Gromyko and Yuri Andropov could not predict that Washington would support the Herat uprising on such a large scale, take advantage of the Pakistani outpost, and the campaign in the border state would turn into a funnel.

Carter fully supported those strategists from the CIA who pushed the USSR to aggressive actions in Afghanistan to take rash steps. In mid-January, President Jimmy Carter presented an ultimatum to the USSR: if the troops are not withdrawn from Afghanistan by February 20, the US will boycott the Games. The Kremlin did not give in to pressure, and had no right to give in: one cannot show slack in big politics. Sports committees in many countries did not agree with government directives, called for not to mix sport with politics, not to deprive athletes of the "main start of the four-year period." But Carter went to the end, twisted the nuts to the limit, and the thread did not fall. “Carter,” in this case, is the definition of the whole group of influential supporters of a boycott in the American elite.

After several defeats in the propaganda war, the imperialists outplayed Moscow. With unexpected moves, they, alas, trapped Soviet diplomacy. The declarations of the Soviet Union on the struggle for peace now sounded unconvincing. War in the Olympic year - what could be more rash? Here, even the support of the left forces could not be counted on.

In the USSR, it was assumed that the appearance of a “limited contingent” in Afghanistan would frighten off both the rebels and those who support them from Pakistan and the USA. And - again underestimated the determination of the enemy.

Vein. The visit of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev to Austria for talks with US President Jimmy Carter. Leonid Brezhnev and Jimmy Carter (right to left) during the meeting.
Photo by Eduard Pesov / TASS photo chronicle /

In the first weeks of 1980, the main foreign policy victories of the Brezhnev era were devalued. After all, 70's are detente. These are well-thought contracts with the USA. A “top-level” smile, a meeting in space orbit, “Soyuz-Apollon” cigarettes ... This is the transformation of the USSR into an energy superpower and the beginning of our country's entry into the international trading system as an independent player, from the standpoint of a strong partner. This is a stumbling block in the American expansion after Vietnam and the unsuccessful international struggle of the leftists against the neutron bomb. The systems did not stop the confrontation for a minute, but they also learned how to find common interests. And after the “invasion of Afghanistan”, the Americans firmly stuck the image of the aggressor to the Soviet window.

As a result, more than fifty countries joined the boycott of the Moscow Olympics. Among them are the friendly states for the USSR ... The brutal reality was a little softened by the fact that dozens of bright athletes (including British, French, Italians, Greeks, Dutch!) Came to the competition on personal initiative and performed under the Olympic flag. When they were awarded medals, the anthem of the Olympic Committee sounded instead of national anthems. Moscow met those who broke the boycott with a special affection: they were glorified by journalists, they were bombarded with flowers. This, for example, the English runner Sebastien Coe, the Italian high jumper Sarah Simeoni, the Swiss cyclist Robert Dill-Bundi, the Austrian beauty - rider Elizabeth Max-Toerer ...

Our journalists caught on to such a comforting fact: for the first time in stories Angola, Botswana, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique and the Seychelles participated in the Olympics. But the total number of countries participating in the Olympics-80, alas, was inferior to the 1960 – 1976 Summer Games ...

The opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Photo by Yury Belinsky / TASS

However, the athletes did not have to blush: it was a top-class competition. After all, Moscow managed to beat the 74 Olympic, 39 European and 36 world records. The record of the Soviet shooter Alexander Melentyeva, set on the first day of the Games, was exceeded only in the 2014 year. The highest results were shown by swimmer Vladimir Salnikov, as well as Soviet weightlifters and gymnasts. Four years later, the Summer Olympics will be held in Los Angeles, in the USA. There will be no Soviet athletes and representatives of most of the socialist countries. Boycott again and seemingly less representative than in 1980. But let's look at the sports results: 36 Olympic records, 11 world ... Not enough compared to the Moscow Games.

The Olympiad took place in spite of everything, contrary to the strategic miscalculations of politicians. And took place in Moscow. The organizers of the Games, architects, athletes and coaches could put this great sports festival on the line. And the artist Viktor Chizhikov, who created the unforgettable Bear? And the composer Alexandra Pakhmutova, who composed “Stadium of my dreams” and “Goodbye, Moscow” for the Games? But the choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, who thought out the amazing festive choreography? And the "competent authorities" who did not allow excesses?

Olympic boycott: 35 years later

Soviet athlete Vladimir Salnikov - champion of Europe and the world 1978, a member of the USSR Olympic swimming team.
In the future, he will become a four-time world champion, a five-time European champion, a four-time Olympic champion, during his sports career he overcame a distance equal to the length of the equator.
Photo by Yuri Somov / RIA News

American athletes did not come to Moscow. The USSR national team failed to defeat the main rival in front of the native public. Tourists and TV broadcasts, of course, were significantly less than expected. The most practical officials reasonably talked about wasted money ... Although the Olympic facilities still serve Moscow, and the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the Games became an example for future sports forums ... The warmth inherent in the Soviet people of that time was remembered by all guests of the Games. The successfully found image of the departing Bear will not be forgotten in Russia for a long time: this is one of the symbols of the popular impulse, happy, but with bitterness. If desired, a masterpiece of mass art.

And we all remember how joyful Moscow was in the summer of 1980. The Olympic tale has developed and still remains a happy memory. And on the sports fields, the USSR national team proved superiority at the Goodwill Games in 1986 and at the Olympic Games-88 in Seoul.
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  1. +3
    25 July 2015 06: 36
    ... Politics is now like football
    It is often an own goal ...
  2. +14
    25 July 2015 07: 05
    I remember the Moscow Olympiad well, I’m not a few years old, we only bought a color TV (young people don’t laugh, not everyone had a color family then) and I watched for hours competition, opening, closing ... It was a real celebration and no the boycott did not overshadow him.
    1. +8
      25 July 2015 12: 36
      Likewise. I was 8 years old. Parents bought our first color TV (as I remember - "Electron", still tube). I watched the opening ceremony of the 80 Olympics together with my mother - I don't remember why there were no other family members. And after that I watched all the programs from the Olympics in a row. A strange thing - human memory - I practically don't remember school (especially junior grades), but I remember the Olympics. How proud I was then of the country in which I was born and live! - although these words, I believe, can be heard by many of the generation born in the late 60s - early 70s of the last century.
      I have the honor.
  3. +1
    25 July 2015 07: 44
    When the Olympics was 80, I was 1 year old, but all my childhood my parents told me that this was a very significant event for the people of the Union, I listened but could not realize the feeling of pride in the country that my parents experienced. I was able to realize after the Olympics in 2014, my daughter was 1 year old, and I will try to thoroughly convey that feeling of pride in the country, for the great and powerful homeland of Russia!
  4. +5
    25 July 2015 07: 54
    74 Olympic records. Such a result will never be repeated.
    (by the way, not a single positive doping test)
  5. +5
    25 July 2015 08: 28
    At this time, I had already worked for a year in Moscow, and headed the State Institution of one of the Defense Ministries. Moscow was beautiful, parasites, farmers and criminals were evicted temporarily. The daughter entered the Academy. Plekhanov. They were immediately sent to help with the Games. They sold water, ice cream, were guides. And we worked and enjoyed the success of our athletes. And the fact that there was no team from the United States was even satisfied.
    Militarily, we were already stronger than them. Remember our MiG-25, MiG-31 aircraft, missile systems, the first helicopter carriers, aircraft carriers with vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Then everyone was lost. I have the honor.
    1. +3
      25 July 2015 11: 44
      The criminals were simply not impudent. Shchelokov gathered a crowd of authorities and warned about this. And Moscow has become a closed city for ordinary people.
  6. +1
    25 July 2015 10: 01
    No matter what, the Olympics was worthy, there is something to remember good and still more ..
  7. +2
    25 July 2015 18: 03
    It was a holiday! Those who wanted to participate in this holiday came to him. And everything went at the highest level. It was remembered forever. And the Americans, no matter how hard they tried, could not ruin their impressions of this holiday. Let not continue to try. Only money will be wasted.
  8. +2
    25 July 2015 18: 06
    Quote: mordvin xnumx
    The criminals were simply not impudent. Shchelokov gathered a crowd of authorities and warned about this. And Moscow has become a closed city for ordinary people.

    Moscow has not become any closed city. Thousands of people went to work. I went from Obninsk to watch weightlifting competitions. They were held at the Sports Palace in Izmailovsky Park. But this is so, by the way. Our team won with resounding success.
    But with the boycott of the next, 1984, Olympics, it was interesting. Information about her was minimal. In the newspaper "Soviet Sport", on the 4th page, only technical data were published in small print, without comments; Place, country, time, kilograms, results, etc. etc. It was very interesting to me and the lack of information confused me very much.
    In the 70s, I acquired B. Khavin's book "Everything about the Olympic Games" and scrupulously continued to supplement it with newspaper publications on this topic. Newspapers were collected covering the 1976 Games, winter and summer (they were held in one year at that time), information about the 1980 Games, 1984 Winter Games. (During these events, General Secretary Andropov YV died, the first page naturally honored the memory ...) and very poorly served summer 1984. Then there was 1988. All these newspapers, now, of course, are at the dacha. And then if they are safe. With age, priorities have changed, and with the collapse of the Union, sport has lost its leading positions and the era of survival has come. There was no time for newspapers ...
  9. 0
    25 July 2015 22: 11
    Our senior cadets who were there still remember this business trip as a bright place in life and service. Lucky guys to be involved in the event worldwide!
    PS. For a long time we are all not guys anymore, and not young, and many are no longer there, and a good impression of that young life often rolls over.
  10. 0
    25 July 2015 22: 50
    And what is it that kenguros did not start from the first Olympic Games? Well, at least the first with their participation?
  11. 0
    26 July 2015 00: 05
    You look goodbye to Mishka, even after so many years, tears break through.
  12. 0
    26 July 2015 01: 17
    A couple of points for the attention of Dear Topwar visitors:
    1. Most contracts for tickets / broadcasts / licensed
    program for the countries of the "golden billion" by the Organizing Committee of the Olympics-80
    consisted of 100% prepayment. The motivation was simple:
    "This is the policy of the Organizing Committee of the Games" ... And they paid.
    2. Games were unprofitable. But on two points. Boycott of course prevented
    but not radically. The currency that the Organizing Committee-80 earned was credited
    to the budget at the rate of 1 USD = 57 kopecks. And it was earned by
    There are many times and taking into account external factors - several hundred million
    dollars. The Olympics in Moscow would have gone to zero on expenses already at
    A more honest course is $ 1 = 75 cents.
    And of course, the Olympics 80 was a step towards Sochi 2014 ...
    And Sochi 2014 was a step into the future that we all
    Hope to build ...
  13. +1
    26 July 2015 04: 18
    A traffic police inspector went from our town to the Olympics-80 and returned home with the first car in the city, "Niva" in a police paint. The attempts of the authorities to squeeze the car from the inspector were stopped by a shout from above and the chief rode a simple GAZ-69 for a long time wink