Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games [NOOK Book]

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.

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Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games

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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.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780942257557
  • Publisher: New Chapter Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 740,137
  • File size: 3 MB

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    An Unbiased Story about the Boycott of the 1980 Olympics

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Review A dark chapter in the history of the Summer Olympic Game

    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)

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  • Posted May 9, 2012

    Recommended-Very Insightful!

    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

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Steph for TeensReadToo.com

    In the summer of 1980, President Jimmy Carter made the choice to boycott the Summer Olympics, which were being held in Moscow, Russia. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>This interesting book is a great read for people who aren't aware of the boycott and the controversies that surrounded the sporting tradition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2008

    The unsung heroes of the 1980 Olympics¿

    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.

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