February 5, 2010
Thirty years after President Carter declared the U.S. Summer Olympic Team would likely boycott the Moscow Games, isn't it ironic when we look at the cause?
The Carter Administration took its action because the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan. Like today, this part of the world is key to U.S. foreign policy because of America's dependence on oil. Carter viewed the Soviet invasion as a movement toward trying to squeeze America's oil supply, thus debilitating our way of life.
Today, there is no talk of boycott of Olympic Games because of nations at war. Mainly, the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. For just, or unjust reasons, the U.S. is engaged in war during the fifth Olympic Games (including one in Salt Lake City) since invading Iraq and Afghanistan following 9/11.
There are no serious discussions about boycotting Olympic Games as a result. Thank goodness for that. The Olympics are for bringing the world's youth closer together in order to MAYBE someday understand our differences and live peacefully. Idealistic...yes, but that seems to be my understanding of the original implied intent of the Games.
That intent is vastly different today for sure.
January 21, 2010
If there was one U.S. athlete who was most likely destined for gold at Moscow (assuming he stayed healthy) it had to be 114 1/2 pound wrestler Gene Mills.
"Mean" Gene Mills was a four-time All-America at Syracuse University and amassed 1,356 wins throughout the span of his wrestling career.
It wasn't a matter of IF he would win the gold, it was more like HOW would he win the gold. His intention was to pin every opponent on his way to the gold medal podium - something that had never been done before. He was confident he could do it...and would've done it if he had had the chance.
Thirty years later, Mills is still deeply affected by the boycott and the "what might have been" if he had accomplished what he set out to do.
Mills profile in the book is one of the most emotional, earnest and wrenching displays of disappointment that still haunts him to this day.
January 19, 2010
It was 30 years ago on January 23, 1980 during his State of the Union address that President Jimmy Carter first formally introduced the world to the idea that the United States would likely boycott the 1980 Olympic Summer Games in Moscow.
The following words were spoken and not entirely believed by the hundreds of U.S. athletes training for their future date with Olympic destiny. Little did they realize at the time that their destiny would become an asterisk next to their names.
"...While this invasion continues, we and the other nations of the world cannot conduct business as usual with the Soviet Union. That's why the United States has imposed stiff economic penalties on the Soviet Union. I will not issue any permits for Soviet ships to fish in the coastal waters of the United States. I've cut Soviet access to high-technology equipment and to agricultural products. I've limited other commerce with the Soviet Union, and I've asked our allies and friends to join with us in restraining their own trade with the Soviets and not to replace our own embargoed items. And I have notified the Olympic Committee that with Soviet invading forces in Afghanistan, neither the American people nor I will support sending an Olympic team to Moscow."