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Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games
     

Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games

4.4 5
by Jerry Caraccioli
 

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With a thorough exploration of the political climate of the time and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, this book describes the repercussions of Jimmy Carter’s American boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Despite missing the games they had trained relentlessly to compete in, many U.S. athletes went on to achieve remarkable successes in

Overview

With a thorough exploration of the political climate of the time and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, this book describes the repercussions of Jimmy Carter’s American boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Despite missing the games they had trained relentlessly to compete in, many U.S. athletes went on to achieve remarkable successes in sports and overcame the bitter disappointment of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity dashed by geopolitics.

Editorial Reviews

CBS Sports
Uniquely and poignantly captures the impact of American athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. This book . . . becomes their belated, but deserved, Olympic salute.
Anita DeFrantz
It is reassuring that the Caracciolis decided to tackle this story about America and American athletes in a challenging time. (Anita DeFrantz, International Olympic Committee)
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
The book also serves as a poignant tribute to hundreds of American athletes caught in the middle of a geopolitical chess match between super powers."
Wall Street Journal
The strength of Boycott is in the Caraccioli brothers' methodical presentation of the complicated events leading up to boycott.
Athletic Business
In a brief foreword, former Vice President Walter Mondale apologizes to all athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the 1980 Olympics; it's the first of Boycott's many poignant moments.
From the Publisher

"The strength of Boycott is in the Caraccioli brothers' methodical presentation of the complicated events leading up to boycott."  —Wall Street Journal

"The book also serves as a poignant tribute to hundreds of American athletes caught in the middle of a geopolitical chess match between superpowers."  —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Uniquely and poignantly captures the impact of American athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. This book . . . becomes their belated, but deserved, Olympic salute."  —Dick Enberg, CBS Sports

"It is reassuring that the Caracciolis decided to tackle this story about America and American athletes in a challenging time."  —Anita DeFrantz, International Olympic Committee

"In a brief foreword, former Vice President Walter Mondale apologizes to all athletes denied the opportunity to compete in the 1980 Olympics; it's the first of Boycott's many poignant moments."  —Athletic Business

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780942257557
Publisher:
New Chapter Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,116,734
File size:
3 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Boycott

Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games


By Tom Caraccioli, Jerry Caraccioli

New Chapter Press

Copyright © 2015 Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-942257-55-7



CHAPTER 1

Olympian*


The asterisk earned dubious notoriety as a reference mark in 1961. For nearly half a century, the * has continued to dot the landscape of professional and amateur sports with an equally questionable distinction.

In 1961, then-Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick made one of the most controversial rulings ever regarding the history of the game. After watching New York Yankees outfielder and slugger Roger Maris eclipse the immortal Babe Ruth's single-season home run record of 60 on the final day of the 1961 season, Frick convinced baseball historians to list Ruth's and Maris's marks as separate records based on the number of games each player had to accomplish their respective marks.

Frick reasoned, or some say "caved into" his former sportswriter brethren, that Ruth had produced 60 homers in a 154-game season and Maris had recorded 61 in a 162-game season. Therefore, Maris's homer mark should belisted in the record books with an asterisk. From that day on, the * became part of baseball lore and history. And it stayed that way for the next 30 years. Today, the * has become a permanent part of the sports vernacular.

The asterisk in today's sports world continues to denote a questionable achievement and has come into vogue again when talking about baseball's home run records. With the proliferation and accusations of steroids, human growth hormones and other performance-enhancing substances, historians and record keepers continue to be flummoxed when debating the * and its potential use.

For members of the 1980 United States Olympic Summer Games team, the * is a reference mark they would rather not have to invoke when discussing their Olympian status. And though Olympic historians and fans of the Games have never made it an issue, some members of that team feel like that dubious symbol follows them throughout their personal history.

For swimmer Glenn Mills, the * hit him right between the eyes when he was looking through his college alma mater's swimming media guide. "I went to school at the University of Alabama," explains Mills. "In the press guide, Alabama gives its history of all the people that were NCAA champions, Olympians, and things like that. When everything is listed, always next to our names is an asterisk, under the asterisk it reads: 'Made 1980 Olympic team, but country boycotted.' It's very seldom that you see any of our names listed as Olympians without an asterisk. It kind of implies, 'Well, they're Olympians, but maybe not really.'"

Mills suffered further indignity when he traveled to Colorado Springs in the early 1990s to coach at a Select Camp. "We were staying at the Training Center. Some of the coaches were just hanging out, so we decided to go into the gift shop. As we were walking down the hallway into the shop, I saw this kiosk that had a sign that read — 'Find Your Favorite Olympian.' I said cool, let me check this out. I love seeing my name on those things. So I punched up Mills. There were about four or five different Mills on there. I saw my name and clicked on it, and the screen came up. On the top it said, 'Glenn Mills' and under it said, '1980 Swimming.' Where the bio was supposed to be, all it said was, 'Did Not Compete.'

"I just stood there looking at it and actually started laughing. I looked for some of my other friends, like Craig Beardsley, and he had a picture in there, but it said, 'Did Not Compete.' It didn't say anything about being the world-record holder. It was really kind of sad."

Amy Koopman, who was one of the youngest members of the 1980 team at 13 years old, earned her trip to the Olympic Games in Moscow in gymnastics. Even today, though she doesn't dwell on it, Koopman still thinks about being a forgotten part of Olympic history. "I'm disappointed that I never got to compete for the U.S. at the Olympics. Everyone asks, 'Oh ... how did you do?' I tell them, 'We didn't go.' Everyone forgets that we didn't go."

Linda Cornelius Waltman, a pentathlete who, in 1980, had one shot at competing in the Olympics, sits quietly in front of the television every time the Olympic Games are staged. She thinks about what she missed. "The worst was four years after when the Olympics were in Los Angeles. I remember sitting in front of the television watching the Opening Ceremony, just crying and thinking I never really got a chance to be a part of that. It just really hit home. Every time watching an Opening Ceremony of an Olympics — I don't think I've missed one — I always shed a tear. Always."

And those tears always accompany the thought that the 1980 team is special. Though, each member of that team also thinks there's little they wouldn't give for a chance not to be so special, not to have an asterisk next to their name. Instead, this team is left with an indelible mark in Olympic history. A mark that is not easily definable. Not easily accepted. And not easily understood.

U.S. volleyball player Debbie Landreth sums up her Olympic experience and how she deals with questions about her past athletic life in a thoughtful and respectful tone. She still feels the pain of not being able to compete, but has not let the * diminish her career and aspirations as the head coach of the women's volleyball team at the University of Notre Dame. "It was definitely a situation where it was much bigger than a match loss," Landreth says. "You had to pick up and move on in life. I wasn't just going to quit. I had to ask myself, 'All right, what am I going to do now?'"

Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Gwen Gardner, who ran the 400-meter on the U.S. track and field team in 1980, voiced similar displeasure and disappointment when discussing the decision to boycott the Moscow Games. "It was an opportunity that we missed and it didn't change anything by us boycotting that particular competition. It was a great disappointment," she says, her voice trailing off into quiet contemplation that needs no explanation or reference mark.


Don Paige

Track and Field

When the 800-meter race at the 1980 Olympic Summer Games in Moscow came on the television screen in Don Paige's family home in Baldwinsville, N.Y., the United States' most celebrated half-miler couldn't bear to watch. Instead, he went outside and sat in the backyard. "My Dad came out and told me Steve Ovett out-kicked Sebastian Coe," remembers Paige more than a quarter century later. "And then he said, 'Boy, I would've loved to have seen you in that race.'"

Don Paige — now president and founder of Paige Design Group, dedicated to building track and field facilities — was, on that day, a six-time NCAA track and field champion at Villanova University, winner of the 800-meter run at the Olympic Trials, and one of the premiere members of the U.S. Summer Games track and field team.

As a tall, skinny kid growing up in a middle-class, blue-collar suburb of Syracuse, N.Y., Paige was one of five siblings who had sports in his blood. "Growing up, we were all pretty athletic. Starting out in ninth grade it seemed like the thing to do, so I took a look at football," Paige recalls with a chuckle. Because of his slender build, he figured football was probably not a healthy option in high school. "I looked at soccer. Soccer wasn't all that popular but it was beginning to grow at our school. So I took up cross-country and found I had a passion for running. That's how I got involved in running in 1971.

"I had a great high school coach in cross-country, Chuck Wiltse," Paige remembers. "Chuck coached JV cross-country and did one of the single most important things that led me to becoming a good runner. He recognized that I could've run varsity after only four or five weeks into the season, but he kept me in ninth-grade cross-country where I ran against ninth-graders. And it taught me one of those deep-down lessons — learning how to win. I could've gone to varsity and probably wouldn't have won. I won a lot of my races in ninth grade and that had an effect on me and was very valuable."

Not only did Wiltse set the young freshman on a path to success, but he also became his lifelong mentor — one of several who helped set a course for Paige's Olympic dream.

Teaching a gifted athlete how to win was only one facet of Wiltse's influence. Wiltse taught the ninth-grade Paige the fundamentals to build a winning attitude and a killer instinct. "You start learning early from a good coach that the basics of a good foundation are important," Paige says. "The other thing ninth-grade cross-country taught me was how to be competitive. Times never really were that important to me. What meant more was to learn to win. I was fortunate that I had a cross-country coach that truly understood that, and understood me."

Paige's success throughout high school landed him at a crossroads about his future. He welcomed the attention from the nation's top college track and field programs. "My top three were Villanova, Kansas and Georgetown," Paige recalls "Tennessee was really up there on my list, too. I was looking for a school where I could get a good education along with good athletics." It looked as if Tennessee coach Stan Huntsman would successfully woo the Central New York phenom to the Volunteer State after a successful recruiting trip left Paige wondering if he might be happy south of the Mason-Dixon line. But, not for the last time in his life, policy altered fate. "Stan had a policy where he usually waited longer in the season before he offered full scholarships," Paige says. "So, he didn't offer me a full scholarship. I then went on to finish my recruiting trips."

One of those trips included a visit to Villanova and a meeting with the inimitable James "Jumbo" Elliott. After several weeks had passed, Paige returned to Philadelphia for the Penn Relays still not having heard from Tennessee. "Getting a scholarship was very important in my family because we were middleclass, the lower end of middle-class, and college would've been a real hardship," explains Paige. After winning the high school division of the Penn Relays, he called Elliott at Villanova and accepted his invitation to attend school in Philadelphia. Within one week, Huntsman finally offered a full scholarship to attend Tennessee, but Paige had to turn it down.

"The funny part of this story is that we now travel around speaking at different engagements across the country and [Hunstman] tells the story of how he could've had Don Paige on his team, but he didn't offer him a scholarship when he was on campus," says Paige with a chuckle. "And he took it one step further and explained that probably wasn't his biggest mistake, because he didn't offer 'Skeets' Nehemiah, Renaldo Nehemiah, one either."

At Villanova, Paige found a mentor and another future lifelong friend in Elliott. "At Villanova, we called Mr. Elliott, 'Mr. Elliott,'" Paige says. "No one called him 'Coach.' Only his closest friends called him 'Jumbo.' And if anyone ever called him 'Coach,' we knew that guy didn't know Mr. Elliott very well."

In track and field, the Olympic dream evolves in stages, if you have talent and desire. "I think a lot of people don't understand the process of becoming an Olympian," explains Paige. "By the time I got to 11th grade, I was a pretty good high school runner. By that time, you're thinking about running in college. You don't start thinking about the Olympics, but you do say to yourself, 'If I run a little better, I may be able to get a scholarship to college.'"

Paige got the scholarship and, in Elliott, a coach who had guided future Olympians (Marty Liquori, Eamon Coughlin) and knew if one of his runners had talent enough to compete on the world's biggest athletic stage. And Paige saw these same guys — Liquori and Coughlin — and thought it would be great to run in the Olympics someday.

In Paige's freshman season, Elliott inserted the newcomer into a meet at Dartmouth, before which the coach spoke "matter-of-factly" about how he planned to have his 4×1-mile team break the world record. "I was astonished," Paige remembers. "I hadn't even finished a workout and he was putting me on that team. So, Phil Kane speaks up. You almost never challenge Mr. Elliott, but Phil spoke up and said, 'Mr. Elliott, you're putting Don on the team but you're leaving Eamon Coughlin off?' He was one of the premiere milers in college. 'Well,' Mr. Elliott said, 'we're going to break the American record, too.' Eamon, being Irish, would negate the American record. Phil went on and said, 'Don has been struggling here a little bit ...' And Mr. Elliott said, 'Yes. I understand, but he'll be fine.'"

The freshman was more than fine. Paige turned in the second fastest mile split in the event and the fastest on the Villanova team. Elliott was always able to sense how well his runners would run, and he had that confidence in Paige from the very beginning. Injuries followed and Paige missed the outdoor seasons of his first two years in college, but he was making progress — not to mention winning NCAA titles — and began to quietly think about the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow.

If Don Paige wasn't on anyone's Olympic radar before the 1979 NCAA Track and Field Championships, he certainly was following the monumental meet in Champaign, Ill. Elliott tapped Paige for an unthinkable feat: winning the 1500-meter and 800-meter races. This was nearly unheard of because of the proximity in which the 1500 and 800 were run.

Paige recalls it with astonishment still in his voice, as if it were yesterday when his coach told the wiry star he had entered him in both races. "I hung up the phone and looked at my teammate Tony Tufariello and he said, 'What's up?' I told him, 'Mr. Elliott has just entered me in the 1500 and 800.' Tony looked at me and said, 'You can't do both.' I said, 'I know.'

"The NCAA has set the trials, semis and finals in such a manner that it is impractical to double. It is physically challenging to say the least. About 30 seconds after I hung up the phone, our assistant coach Jack Pyrah came in. He said, 'The trials, no problem. On Thursday you'll run the trials, have about two hours rest. That will be no problem. On Friday, you'll have to run a semifinal in the 800 and you can cruise through that. You'll be fine. Now, Saturday, you have to run both on the same day and they are about 30 minutes apart. Mr. Elliott thinks because you're running the mile first, you're coming down from that....' And he's making it sound so easy."

Paige won the 1500-meter. As he sat to bring his heart rate down before the start of the 800-meter run, Elliott tapped him on the bottom of his foot. "Did you bring your sticks [golf clubs]?'" asked the veteran coach.

"It was my senior year and he was teaching me how to play golf," remembers Paige. "He told me, 'Monday we're going to have to go over to the range at the club and hit some balls.'" Elliott then turned away and went back to the stands.

Paige didn't know it then, but later, after winning his second NCAA championship of the day, he realized his coach had just helped him relax enough to take his mind off of what many considered improbable.

The year 1979 was fantastic for Paige as he trained through it injury-free. It was evident to the track and field world that Don Paige was an Olympic contender, and his training verified that notion.

But all that momentum suddenly became irrelevant.

It was in March 1980 that Paige was summoned to the White House to hear a very important announcement: The U.S. had decided to boycott the Moscow Games. "They picked a few athletes in every sport to go down to the White House," recalls Paige. "I still remember the words, the way I heard them. Jimmy Carter said, 'We will not go.' That's the way I heard them. I sat there in shock thinking the United States will not go the Olympic Games in Moscow. I was 23 years old."

Paige had driven from Philadelphia with Elliott, and they climbed back into the car for their trip back to Villanova. As they were leaving Washington, Elliott said, "I'm going to let you cry for five minutes, and you should cry. But when you're done crying, we're going to Plan B.'"

Paige recalls his reaction. "I looked at him and said, 'You've got a Plan B?' He said, 'You've always got to have a Plan B. In life you have a Plan A and Plan B.' So, he let me cry and get it out of my system and then said, 'Do not worry about things you have no control over. You're not going.'"

First, Elliott spelled out Plan A the way he saw it before the White House announcement. Paige would win the indoor nationals in the 1000-meter, and proceed to win the 800 during the outdoor season while foregoing another attempt at a double. That would leave him with six NCAA titles at Villanova entering the Olympic Trials. He would place first, second or third; make the team; march in the Olympic Opening Ceremony; advance to the semifinals of the 800-meter run; and then let the chips fall where they're meant to fall in the finals. An exasperated Paige still remembers, "That was Plan A. Easy, right?"

Elliott's post-boycott Plan B involved proving to the world that Don Paige was the world's best half-miler in 1980 without attending the Olympics. That was not going to be an easy task.

Plan B involved having to win the indoor and outdoor nationals, having to win the U.S. Olympic Trials, running the fastest 800-meter in the world and running undefeated for the entire season — and, to top it off, going to Europe for a post-Olympics race in which he competes against the gold, silver and bronze medal winners, including world record-holder Sebastian Coe. "Plan B was a four to five-month plan that I had to do to prove to myself how good I really was, since I couldn't go to the Olympics," Paige remembers.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Boycott by Tom Caraccioli, Jerry Caraccioli. Copyright © 2015 Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli. Excerpted by permission of New Chapter Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Tom Caraccioli is the president of Lions Roar, LLC, a communications and public relations firm, and a former executive for NBC and USA networks. Jerry Caraccioli is a television network executive in the CBS sports division. They are the coauthors of Striking Silver: The Untold Story of America's Forgotten Hockey Team.

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Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1980, President Carter made the decision for the United States to boycott the summer Olympics which was to be held in Russia. This decision was made because the United States wanted to make a statement protesting the USSR¿s brutal invasion of Afghanistan. For the most part, the United States Olympians were devastated by this decision. Many of them had put in thousands of hours training for the opportunity to represent the United States. Many of the athletes were at their peak and this would be the only opportunity that they would have to participate. ¿Boycott¿ tells the stories of the athletes and how President Carter¿s decision impacted their lives. Information about what was happening at the time is interspersed in between the athlete¿s stories. I felt that the inclusion of this information makes the book unbiased. If I had just read the athlete¿s stories, I would have been very angry that this boycott occurred. Having read the history of what was going on I gained a greater understanding of why President Carter made his decision. I still don¿t agree with it, but I do have a better understanding. After reading ¿Boycott¿ I agreed with many of the athletes who recommended that the United States not be present during the opening and closing ceremonies. I think that this would have made a greater statement to the world. By not participating at all, I felt like the athletes were being punished, and the USSR was being handed medals that could have been won by many of our athletes. In effect, we were handing them the opportunity to achieve greater fame for their country because they didn¿t have us to compete with. The effect of our boycott faded in time on everyone, except the athletes who lost their dreams of participating. I was fourteen years old when this happened and had no memory of it until I read this book. If we had participated in the games, but boycotted the ceremonies, I believe that we would still be seeing the clips from the ceremonies, as a reminder, every Olympic year. The athletes really impressed me. At the time this was happening, most of them were just kids. Some of the insight gained by them is shared in ¿Boycott.¿ I found many of their attitudes to be inspiring to me. I wish that things could have been different for them. My grandfather was a gold medalist in the 1932 Olympics. He had the opportunity to participate in a rowing event. He was proud of his win, but his true passion was in wrestling. After the Olympics, he decided that he would compete in wrestling in the 1936 games. Unfortunately, a serious neck injury ended that dream. While he was proud of his medal, I always felt that he regretted not being able to represent our country in the sport that he was most passionate about. I felt that this was the case with these athletes they had some that they were passionate about and wanted to show the world their abilities. By denying them their opportunity to compete, we denied them their chance to shine and we denied ourselves the gift of showing them off to the world as representatives of the United States. Brothers Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli make a winning writing team. I appreciate their willingness to share both sides of the story. Being that we are in an Olympic year, I was pleased to have the opportunity to learn about an important historical event regarding the Olympics and United States athletes. Considering that the 2008 Olympics took place in a country historically and currently known for its abuse of people, I found the timing of ¿Boycott¿ to be perfect. This is definitely a thought compelling book.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Review A dark chapter in the history of the Summer Olympic Games is remembered in this outstanding book that is one part politics, two parts stories from the athletes who did not get the chance to complete against fellow athletes from other countries and a dash of opinion about the United States-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow. For those who may not know or remember this, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in late 1979 during the height of the Cold War. President Jimmy Carter responded with various actions such as cutting off trade with the USSR and other diplomatic measures. In addition, he also requested that the United States Olympic Committee not send athletes to compete in the upcoming Summer Olympics to be held in Moscow. They did just that and 1980 became the only year in which the United States failed to send athletes to the Summer Olympics. The book interviews 30 athletes of various sports who made the Olympic teams in their sports and tells their stories. The athletes came from various places and backgrounds and the stories reflect the variation. Some are still bitter 30 years after the boycott that they were denied the chance to compete over circumstances they could not control. Some backed the boycott fully and understood why it was done. Some addressed it with indifference. The stories also included their lives after their experiences with the Olympic team. . What I really liked about these stories is that many different sports were represented and not all the athletes were the stars in their games. There was a gymnast who was 13 years old who was not considered ready for international competition yet won a spot on the team. There were two basketball players who were not upset with the decision because for them, the Games were merely a stepping stone on the way to the NBA. (Note: one of these players, Isaiah Thomas, went on to become one of the best point guards in NBA history). There was a wrestler who was very bitter and outspoken about the boycott. These all made for great reading. A chronological timeline of the decision to boycott the Games was included, starting with the invasion and ending with the opening ceremonies in which the United States and 57 other nations were absent. Some of the nations who decided to participate still protested the invasion in other ways, such as carrying the Olympic flag in the opening ceremony instead of their national flag. This helped the reader not only understand why the boycott was demanded by the President, it also illustrated the actions taken by the Olympic Committee and other organizations leading up to the historic vote for the boycott. Overall, the book is an outstanding work of research, interviews, writing and recollection. Anyone who enjoys the Olympic Games, reading about political maneuvering to get an action done, or good yarns from years past will enjoy this book. Did I skim? I did not fully read and digest the lists included, such as the complete results of the Games after they took place. I did fully read each athlete’s story and the political chapters. Did I learn something new? Yes, many things. There are too many to list here since most of the athletes were not known outside of the sport in which they competed. Also, the chapter on the build-up and politics of the Soviet Union’s invasion into Afghanistan was revealing. Finally, a little known fact was revealed that was never told during that year. A ceremony was held at the White House about a month before the Games to honor the US Olympic athletes. A medal was given to each one of them, but many felt it was just a token to try to make them feel better. Later on, it was revealed that this was the Congressional Medal that is the highest honor given to non-military citizens. Why that was not told to the athletes or the press was never fully explained. Pace of the book: Excellent. With the format of beginning each chapter on the political actions taking place, then the stories of two athletes before the next chapter, it was the perfect mix of stories and research. Positives: There were a lot. I loved everything about this book. The stories, research, history, politics – everything was researched and written well. Negatives: I did not believe any part of this book was less than excellent. The closest that could be considered a negative is that in some of the writings on the politics, the authors did let their opinions be known at times. Some readers may not appreciate that, but I felt it helped strengthen the writing. Do I recommend? YES! Read this book if you like sports, politics or history. Book Format Read: Ebook (Nook)
AeriahnaGlaub More than 1 year ago
The book, BOYCOTT STOLEN DREAMS OF THE 1980 MOSCOW OLYPIC GAMES, lends insight on the events leading up to the 1980 Olympic boycott, by telling the controversial story of why America, as a country, pulled out of the Olympics. This is done by telling the stories and by sharing the personal testimony’s of 18 Olympians* and all the politics and pain never before brought into the Olympic arena, due to the Afghanistan war. On December 27th, 1979, Soviet army tanks along with ground force divisions of between 30,000-50,000 troops, rolled into Afghanistan and assassinated the Afghanistan president, Hafizullah Amin. At that point with many other events not included, the Soviets successfully took control of the Afghanistan government. The seizure of the Afghanistan government, by the Soviets, had been seen favorably both in Moscow and Washington D.C. It was seen as a revitalization of a long-standing Soviet investment of a client-state relationship with Afghanistan. This was revolutionary because the invasion of Afghanistan was the largest single military action taken by the Soviet Union since 1945, and was a major turning point in the history of the cold war. During this time, the United States found itself in a bit of a policy dilemma with the Soviet force supported, Afghanistan communist led Marxist people’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s (the PDPA’s) accession to power. “We need to take into account the mix of nationalism and communism in the new leadership and seek to avoid driving the regime into a closer embrace with the Soviet Union than it might wish,” as said in a memorandum to secretary of state Cyrus Vance, expressing the administrations early concerns. Also expressing the concern of anti-regimen forces in Afghanistan, “Anti Regime elements in Afghanistan will be watching us carefully to see if we acquiesce in or accept the communist takeover…” With the valid points at hand the U.S. compromised by maintaining a relationship with the government while keeping channels open to opposition. With tensions rising, due to the previous Herat uprising, U.S. intelligence reports of significant increase in Soviet military activity in and around Afghanistan rose eyebrows, so America kept its intelligence on alert. In July of 1979, the Soviets deployed an airborne battalion combat unit to the Bagram airbase north of Kabul, along with a few airborne battalions attached to the newly artillery flourished Afghan army, engaging in combat. These events marked the beginning of America’s involvement in the war. As demonstrated, “It was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of pro- soviet regime in Kabul,” said President Carters national security advisor, Brzezinski. Meanwhile in the U.S., many potential Olympians fought with the whispering rumors of the supposed “Boycott” and the reasons involved. At the present time the international response to the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan was severe. “United states officials called it one of the grossest displays of international behavior that had occurred in a long time,” (Caraccioli 57.) With a deadline set on a far off date many anxiously awaited. When the deadline passed with no sure news of a boycott there was still hope. But in the upcoming months that hope faded, and the dream of competing in the 1980 Olympic Summer Games in Moscow vanished. This news came with an iron assault when Vice President Mondale announced on April, 12, 1980 t
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
In the summer of 1980, President Jimmy Carter made the choice to boycott the Summer Olympics, which were being held in Moscow, Russia.

After a vote by the USOC (United States Olympic Committee), about 650 athletes' Olympic dreams were gone. The controversy and personal stories from the athletes themselves are gracefully put together by Tom and Jerry Caraccioli.

This unique book gives readers two viewpoints about the controversial 1980 Summer Olympics. Both of the Caraccioli's give the historical background and the reasons for the boycott. Then the personal stories from many 1980 Olympian athletes provides the personal impact this event in history had on real people who had real dreams.

This interesting book is a great read for people who aren't aware of the boycott and the controversies that surrounded the sporting tradition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1980, The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and Jimmy Carter called for a boycott of the Olympic Games to be held in Moscow. The U.S. Olympic athletes sacrificed their dreams for their country they are the unsung heroes of the era. They trained for years in hopes of winning a gold medal but were not allowed to participate. Twin brothers, Tom and Jerry Carraccioli, shed light on the events leading up to the boycott and the heroic effort of the U.S. team. In the words of former Vice President Walter Mondale, ¿The Soviet Union would¿ve loved it if American athletes had made a big issue against our policy. They would¿ve grabbed on to that and said, `See, America is putting its own athletes down and the athletes are mad about it and want to come to Moscow.¿ The facts are stated in a professional manner. Boycott is a well written and fascinating look back at history.