The bear that conquered the world. 43 years ago, the symbol of the best Olympics flew into space

Exactly 43 years ago the Games of the 22nd Olympics opened in Moscow. The first Olympics, which took place in Eastern Europe and the first, which took place in a socialist country. At that time, these were the most unusual games in modern post-war history, because most Western and not very countries announced a boycott of the USSR due to the introduction of a military contingent in Afghanistan. Our sports officials, of course, were upset, but they were not going to cancel the Games, and the then IOC president was no match for the current touchy-feely people. Juan Antonio Samaranch absolutely did not want international politics to enter into his economy in any way. The games were supposed to take place at the appointed time and had a logical start.

The decision to choose the capital of the 1980 Olympic Games was made by the IOC at the 75th session on October 23, 1974 in Vienna – Afghanistan was still 5 years away. But we weren’t the first. The boycott has already been declared. 29 African states have said their resolute “no!” The 1976 matches in Montreal, thus protesting the rugby match played the day before between South Africa and New Zealand.

Photo source: RIA Novosti

On January 4, 1980, the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, exploded with an ultimatum: if the “Soviets” do not withdraw troops from Afghanistan, then the United States will boycott this planetary sporting event in order to achieve universal peace (how?). In the Soviet Union, of course, all threats were ignored, after which Carter announced a boycott. He reminds me of something, but quite the opposite.

But then the stars were thus formed, and we could dictate the conditions, because the funds invested and the years spent on construction could not be written off right away. It was impossible, by magic, to transfer the Games to another country. Therefore, the ball was still on the side of the USSR and nothing could be done about it. Suppose if Los Angeles hosted the 1980 Olympics (and this American city competed for the right to host a sports forum with Moscow), then everything that we have the honor of observing today would have happened. The rhetoric doesn’t change, but the political officials, what then, what now he frankly spat on the crippled fate of athletes who had been deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Games for reasons other than sport.

Photo source: Getty Images

A boycott of the Moscow Olympics has been announced by 65 countries. True, and everything was not so simple here. Under the banner of the Olympic Committee (before the 2024 Paris Olympics, Russia is not even guaranteed such a banner) and at its own expense, some athletes from the boycotting countries still managed to get to the Games (mostly they were representatives of Italy). Surprisingly, this general madness seemed super hypocritical, given that the US team participated in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany and everything was decent and noble, no claims to the host.

The Soviet Union had a wonderful Olympics, albeit without the level of resistance it could have been. The athletes who arrived did not experience any inconvenience, and at that time the Games in Moscow were almost the best in history. Moscow itself and other large cities of the USSR republics have changed markedly. People had fun and also learned a lot, tried Pepsi and Fanta, tasted wacky hot dogs, saw state-of-the-art buses and cars for the first time, and got to gape at the overhead security cameras. In the USA, three days before the official opening of the Games at the Luzhniki stadium, their competition called “Olympic Boycott Games” began, in which 29 countries took part.

Subsequently, the USSR, as part of Alaverda, refused to participate in Los Angeles in 1984 and held their Friendship-84 games. After a while, “perestroika” began in the Union. Relations between the warring countries were warming up, and against this background, another analogue of the Olympics appeared, albeit already with a smile of American private business (the organizer was US billionaire Ted Turner) – the Goodwill Games. Everything was good, great, fervent, but it was not a penny of the very spirit of the Olympic Games, about which Baron de Coubertin composed verses a century before all of the above events.

Photo source: RIA Novosti

After 43 years, we can say that although the world has moved forward with the forces of progress and new technologies, it has remained exactly the same level in terms of various boycotts. The history of world politicians, who repeat almost word for word the same threats and claims of their ancestors, teaches nothing. And if you think about the problem of current attempts to prevent Russian athletes from participating in the Olympics under any pretext, then you can even state the degradation of the Olympic movement and the significantly increased influence of various external factors on the fate of the unfortunate athletes.


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