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The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott was one part of a number of actions initiated by the United States to protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.The Soviet Union, which hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and its allies later boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The Western governments first considered the idea of boycotting the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics in response to the situation in Afghanistan at the 20 December 1979 meeting of NATO representatives. The idea was not completely new to the world: in 1975/1976, proposals for an Olympic boycott circulated widely among human rights activists and groups as a sanction for Soviet violations of human rights.At that moment, not many of the member governments were interested in the proposal. The idea began to gain popularity in early January 1980 when Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov called for a boycott. On 14 January 1980, the Carter Administration joined Sakharov's appeal and set a deadline by which the Soviet Union must pull out of Afghanistan or face the consequences, including an international boycott of the games. On 26 January 1980, Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark announced that Canada, like the US, would boycott the Olympic Games if Soviet forces did not leave Afghanistan by 20 February 1980. Carter also proposed moving the Olympics to Greece on a permanent basis to eliminate the issue of politicisation of the Games' hosting, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rejected this idea.
When the deadline passed a month later without any change to the situation in Central Asia, Carter pushed U.S. allies to pull their Olympic teams from the upcoming games.
In late January, the Soviet regime prepared to face down this "hostile campaign". As Soviet Central Committee documents show, in addition to its own propaganda efforts, it was relying on the IOC and its 89 members to behave as in the past (e.g. after the Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968), and not give in to pressure from national governments. It noted that the government and the National Olympic Committee of France had already stated a willingness to participate.
After its 24 April meeting, the head of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Robert Kane told the IOC that the USOC would be willing to send a team to Moscow if there were a "spectacular change in the international situation" in the coming weeks.
In an attempt to save the Games, Lord Killanin, then president of the IOC, arranged to meet and discuss the boycott with Jimmy Carter and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, before the new 24 May deadline. Killanin insisted that the Games should continue as scheduled, while President Carter reaffirmed the US position to boycott the Games unless the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan.
Several interventions at the late April 1980 Bilderberg meeting in Aachen included discussion of the implications of the boycott. The world would perceive a boycott, it was argued, as little more than a sentimental protest, not a strategic act. An African representative at the Bilderberg meeting voiced a different view: whether there was additional support outside the US or not, he believed, a boycott would be an effective symbolic protest and be dramatically visible to those within the Soviet Union.Some Soviet dissidents expressed an opinion that a boycott would be a strong message to the Soviet Union who breached the Olympic rules (using state-sponsored doping and professional athletes despite the fact that the rules of the time only allowed amateurs) to achieve their political goals. The Carter administration brought considerable pressure to bear on other NATO member states to support the boycott. Their support was not universal.
The IOC protested that the pressures by the US and other supporting countries for the boycott were an inappropriate means to achieve a political end, and the victims of this action would be the athletes.West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said that the American attitude that the allies "should simply do as they are told" was unacceptable, although West Germany did join the boycott.
Boxer Muhammad Ali traveled to Tanzania, Nigeria, and Senegal to convince their leaders to join the boycott.He also successfully convinced the Kenyan government to do so.
Many countries ultimately joined the US in a full boycott of the Games. These included Japan and West Germany, where Chancellor Schmidt was able to convince the West German Olympic Committee to support the boycott. China, the Philippines, Chile, Argentina and Canada also boycotted the Games entirely. Some of these countries competed at the alternative "Liberty Bell Classic" or Olympic Boycott Games held in Philadelphia that same year.
The governments of the United Kingdom, France, and Australia supported the boycott, but left any final decision over the participation of their country's athletes to their respective NOCs and the decision of their individual athletes. The United Kingdom and France sent a much smaller athletic delegation than would have originally been possible. The British associations that governed equestrian sports, hockey, and yachting completely boycotted the 1980 summer Olympics.
Spain, Italy, Sweden, Iceland and Finland were other principal nations representing western Europe at the Games.Of these, Spain and Italy participated under a neutral flag with the Olympic anthem playing in any ceremony. Italian athletes serving in its military corps could not attend the Games, however, because of the national government's official support of the boycott. Many events were affected by the loss of participants, and some US-born athletes who were citizens of other countries, such as Italy and Australia, did compete in Moscow.
A firm enemy of the United States under Ayatollah Khomeini's new theocracy, Iran also boycotted the Moscow Games after Khomeini joined the condemnation by the United Nations and the Islamic Conference of the invasion of Afghanistan.Independently of the United States, the Islamic Conference urged a boycott of Moscow after the invasion; the Ayatollah meanwhile accused Moscow of arming the Baluchis against his regime.
Lord Killanin permitted NOC-qualified athletes to compete at the Games without their national flags or anthems (which allowed NOCs to send athletes in a non-national context), but this did not allow other individuals lacking NOC sanction to participate in the Games, as this was perceived by the IOC as a potential weakening of their authority.Four competitors (including one athlete) from New Zealand competed independently and marched under their NOC flag because the government officially supported the boycott. The athletes of 16 countries did not fly their national flags. Instead, Olympic flags were raised, and the Olympic Anthem replaced their national anthems at the medal ceremonies. There was one awards ceremony where three Olympic flags were raised, that being the men's individual pursuit in cycling.
Other modifications were made to the Games' activities, such as when the boycott prevented Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau from attending the Moscow Games. Sandra Henderson and Stéphane Préfontaine, the final torchbearers at the previous games, were sent in his stead to participate in the Antwerp Ceremony at the opening ceremony, and at the closing ceremony, the Los Angeles city flag (rather than the United States flag) was raised to symbolize the next host of the Olympic Games in a break from tradition that was initiated by the host nation. The Antwerp flag was received by an IOC member from the United States instead of the mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley; there was no handover to Los Angeles ceremony at the closing.
Sixty-five countries that were invited to the 1980 Olympics, plus Qatar, did not participate for various reasons, including support for the boycott and economic reasons. (Qatar's 1980 IOC recognition came too late for it to be invited.) Taiwan refused to participate as a result of the 1979 Nagoya Resolution, in which the People's Republic of China agreed to participate in IOC activities if Taiwan was referred to as "Chinese Taipei". However, China boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games as well.
The sixteen nations that follow participated in the Games under some adjustment to full conventional participation in the Games activities.
Seven countries participated in the Games without taking part in the Opening Ceremony:
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Two nations sent one representative each (Chef de Mission) who entered the Olympic stadium during the Opening Ceremony under the Olympic flag; for each country this was a token gesture, as their governments allowed individual national sports federation and in some cases individual athletes to take part in the Games if they chose to do so. Ireland also competed under the Olympic flag, rather than its own.
At least five national teams participated at the Games under the Olympic flag rather than their respective National or NOC flags, as doing the latter would have denoted that their participation was officially sanctioned by their respective nations.
Some nations competed under the flag of their National Olympic Committee.
Events were staged separately in several sports, including the Liberty Bell Classic for track and fieldand the USGF International Invitational for gymnastics. U.S.–Cuban 12-bout card at the Charlotte Coliseum (on Independence Boulevard, now Bojangles' Coliseum) on February 10, 1980, became the only meeting between Cuban and American boxers and was an important event in boxing; called "one of the prime matches of the year," by U.S. boxing Coach Tom Johnson.
The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period.
The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad and commonly known as Montréal 1976, were an international multi-sport event held from July 17 to August 1, 1976 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam on May 12, 1970, over the bids of Moscow and Los Angeles. It was the first and, so far, only Summer Olympic Games to be held in Canada. Toronto hosted the 1976 Summer Paralympics the same year as the Montreal Olympics, which still remains the only Summer Paralympics to be held in Canada. Calgary and Vancouver later hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 and 2010, respectively.
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Avery Brundage was the fifth President of the International Olympic Committee, from 1952 to 1972. The only American to attain that position, Brundage is remembered as a zealous advocate of amateurism and for his involvement with the 1936 and 1972 Summer Olympics, both held in Germany.
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Somalia sent a delegation to compete at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia from 15 September to 1 October 2000. This was the African country's fifth appearance at a Summer Olympic Games, following their debut twenty-eight years earlier at the 1972 Summer Olympics. The delegation consisted of two athletics competitors: Ibrahim Mohamed Aden and Safia Abukar Hussein, the latter was Somalia's first female Olympic athlete. Neither of the two participants progressed beyond the first round of their respective competitions.
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The Olympic Games ceremonies of the Ancient Olympic Games were an integral part of these Games; the modern Olympic games have opening, closing, and medal ceremonies. Some of the elements of the modern ceremonies date back to the Ancient Games from which the Modern Olympics draw their ancestry. An example of this is the prominence of Greece in both the opening and closing ceremonies. During the 2004 Games, the medal winners received a crown of olive branches, which was a direct reference to the Ancient Games, in which the victor's prize was an olive wreath. The various elements of the ceremonies are mandated by the Olympic Charter, and cannot be changed by the host nation. This requirement of seeking the approval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) includes the artistic portion of opening and closing ceremonies.
The Opening Ceremony of the 1980 Summer Olympics was the official opening ceremony held in the afternoon at 16:00 Moscow Time (UTC+3) on 19 July 1980 in the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium. It was attended by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Leonid Brezhnev, and IOC President Lord Killanin.
The Closing Ceremony of the 1980 Summer Olympics was held at 19:00 Moscow Time (UTC+3) on 3 August 1980 at the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium. It was attended by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Leonid Brezhnev. IOC President Lord Killanin closed the Games for the final time and passed the position on to Juan Antonio Samaranch.
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During the Parade of Nations portion of the 1980 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, athletes from each country participating in the Olympics paraded in the arena, preceded by their flag. The flag was borne by a sportsperson from that country chosen either by the National Olympic Committee or by the athletes themselves to represent their country.
South Africa did not compete at Olympic Games from 1964 to 1988, as a part of the sporting boycott of South Africa during the apartheid era. The South African National Olympic Committee (NOC) was expelled from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1970. In 1991, as part of the transition to multiracial equality, a new NOC was formed and admitted to the IOC, and the country competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona.
During the Parade of Nations portion of the 1984 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, athletes from each country participating in the Olympics paraded in the arena, preceded by their flag. The flag was borne by a sportsperson from that country chosen either by the National Olympic Committee or by the athletes themselves to represent their country.