1980 &1984 Summer Olympics Boycotts

Complications between the U.S. and Russia

The 1980 Summer Olympic Boycott

What happened?

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 spurred President Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on 20 January 1980: if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics in summer 1980. After its 24 April meeting, the head of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Robert Kane told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the USOC would be willing to send a team to Moscow if there were a “spectacular change in the international situation”.

The 1984 Summer Olympic Boycott

What happened?

The boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles was a follow-up to the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The boycott involved 14 Eastern Bloc countries and allies, led by the Soviet Union, which initiated the boycott on May 8, 1984. The boycott affected a large number of Olympic events that were normally dominated by the absent countries. Boycotting countries organized another major event, called the Friendship Games, in July and August 1984.

How it happened

The USSR announced its intentions to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics on May 8, 1984, citing security concerns and stating that “chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria were being whipped up in the United States.” A US official said the country had ignored suggestive comments by the Soviets in the weeks building up to the announcement and that, in spite of all the indications, the United States was “absolutely dumbfounded” when the official announcement arrived. After the announcement, six more nations joined the boycott, including Bulgaria, East Germany (on May 10), Mongolia and Vietnam (both May 11), and Laos and Czechoslovakia (both May 13). China formally confirmed that it would be present at the games in Los Angeles, while the Laotians and Czechoslovaks announced their decision to boycott the event.

This is an map of Olympic Boycotts, showing the nations boycotting the 1980 games in blue and the countries boycotting the 1984 games in red

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Sources used:

"Carter Announces Olympic Boycott." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.


"Soviets Announce Boycott of 1984 Olympics." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 02 May 2016.


"1980 Summer Olympics Boycott." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 May 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_Summer_Olympics_boycott

"1984 Summer Olympics Boycott." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Mar. 2016. Web. 02 May 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_Summer_Olympics_boycott

Olympic Boycotts 1976 1980 1984. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons, 31 Dec. 2014. Web. 2 May 2016. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olympic_boycotts_1976_1980_1984.PNG