Edited by Gerald Boerner
During the Cold War years, 1947 through 1990, the Olympic games held every four years was not just an athletic competition but another skirmish in the Cold War. But instead of firing guns, these battles pitted the athletic squads against one another. Countries tended to think more in terms of the politics than of the athletes involved, athletes that have spent years preparing for this single opportunity to compete against other world-class athletes.
This all came to a head for the 1980 Olympic Games to be held in Moscow. The previous year the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan in order to prevent a Islamic fundamentalist government from taking over the country. President Jimmy Carter, an advocate for Human Rights, objected to this violation of Afghanistan independence. Rather than confronting the Soviets directly on the battlefield, the U.S. and its Western Allies opted to boycott the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.
While this was not fair to our athletes who had trained for their “shot at the Ring”, it was deemed as an appropriate response by the Carter administration. Of course, behind the scene we were supporting the Afghan mujahideen militants. This was just another of the “proxy wars” that were so typical of this period of time. In his State of the Union address in 1980, President Carter delineated the U.S. intent to counter military activities of any country, e.g. the Soviet Union, who threatened the flow of oil via the Persian Gulf.
In retaliation of the Soviets for our boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics and arming the insurgents in Afghanistan led to the boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The Soviet Union and most of the Warsaw block of Europe to boycott these Olympics. Turn about is fair play, I suppose. Ironically, we apparently didn’t learn any lesson from the disaster experienced by the Soviets in Afghanistan; we still went “blindly” into Iraq and Afghanistan where we still don’t have a face-saving exit strategy in these conflicts.
But it’s time to start our exploration into this whole scenario of Carter, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the west’s boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 3669 Words ]
Quotations Related to OLYMPICS:
“For athletes, the Olympics are the ultimate test of their worth.”
— Mary Lou Retton
“I did pretty well at the Sydney Olympics, but those were my first Games.”
— Marion Jones
“If you don’t try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody’s back yard.”
— Jesse Owens