Olympic Boycott History
1976 Summer Olympics
The 1976 Summer Olympics were celebrated in 1976 in Montreal, Quebec, Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games in May 1970 over the bids of Moscow and Los Angeles, which later hosted the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games respectively.
In protest at a tour of South Africa by the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team early in the year, Congo’s official Jean Claude Ganga led a boycott of 28 African nations as the IOC refused to bar the New Zealand team.
Some of the nations (including Morocco, Cameroon and Egypt) had already participated, however, as the teams withdrew only after the first day. From Southern and Central Africa, only Senegal and Ivory Coast took part. Both Iraq and Guyana also opted to join the Congolese-led boycott.
Because of the Munich massacre, security at these games was in evidence, as they it been earlier in the year at the Winter games in Innsbruck, Austria, though far lower than the norm for today’s Olympic games.
The organization of the Olympics was financially terrible for Montreal, as the city faced debts well after the Games had finished. The Olympic Stadium, a daring design of French architect Roger Taillibert, remains a lasting monument to the huge deficit, as it never had an effective retractable roof, and the tower was completed only after the Olympics. The Montreal games of 1976 are the most expensive Games ever organized to date.
The boycott was due to the participation of New Zealand national rugby union team (the All Blacks) continued to play rugby South Africa. (South Africa had been banned from the Olympics since 1964 due to its apartheid policies).
1980 Summer Olympics
The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott of the Moscow Olympics was a part of a package of actions to protest against the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Though the Games have aimed to be an arena free of politics, the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spurred United States President Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum that the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops had not withdrawn from the country by February 20, 1980; the official announcement confirming the boycott was made on March 21.
The United States was joined in the boycott by some other countries including Japan, West Germany, China and Canada.
Some of these countries competed at the Olympic Boycott Games at Philadelphia. Notably, the United Kingdom, France, and Greece supported the boycott but allowed their athletes to participate if they wished (the U.S. did not).
The United Kingdom and France sent a much smaller delegation of athletes than usual. Nevertheless, the delegation of the United Kingdom was the largest among Western Europe, with 170 athletes applying to compete. Spain, Italy, Sweden, Iceland and Finland were other principal nations representing western Europe, though Italian athletes belonging to military corps did not attend the Games, due to the government’s support of the boycott. The boycott severely affected many events.
The Olympic Boycott Games (titled the Liberty Bell Classic) was an event held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1980 by 29 of the boycotting countries of the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Participating nations included the United States, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Egypt, Thailand, West Germany, Sudan and Kenya. It began on July 16, shortly before the 1980 Summer Olympics opened on July 19.
Earlier in the year, the United States had previously considered holding an alternate games in the Ivory Coast, Italy, Japan, West Germany or China.
1984 Summer Olympics
The 1984 Summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles, United States of America, with 14 nations missing due to the Soviet-led boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics, and several others for other reasons.
On May 8, 1984 the Soviet Union issued a statement, that the country would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles due to “chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States”. 13 Soviet allies joined the boycott. Iran was the only country to boycott both Moscow and Los Angeles.
The Friendship Games or Druzhba Games or Druzhba-84 Competition was an international multisport event that was held in 1984 in nine different countries under the motto: “Sport, Friendship, Peace”.
An alternative to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, it was organized by the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries (constitutionally socialist states) which had boycotted that event. Some 2,300 athletes from almost 50 countries took part in the competition. The opening ceremony was held at the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, as at the 1980 Summer Olympics, during which the flame in the cauldron was lit.
The Soviet Union proposed that CNN televise the Friendship Games, an offer rejected by Ted Turner. Turner said that the network would simply give spot coverage to the Friendship Games, “as we would any other sporting event.”