40 Years Later: Remembering Moscow 1980

(ATR) USOPC CEO says 1980 U.S. Olympic team will have permanent tribute in new Olympic & Paralympic Museum.

(ATR) The U.S. Olympic team for Moscow 1980 will be honored with a permanenttribute when the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum opens in Colorado Springs on July 30.

USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland also announced the launch of an online archive in an open letter to the athletes who missed out on the 1980 Games thanks toa U.S.-led boycott in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.

"It’s abundantly clear in hindsight that the decision to not send a team to Moscow had no impact on the global politics of the era and instead only harmed you," Hirshland wrote.

"We can clearly state you deserved better. You deserved the support of an inspired nation, to be celebrated for representing our country with pride and excellence."

There were 470 athletes on Team USA for the 1980 Summer Games.

Sixty-seven eligible nations declined to participate. Some countries joined the boycott while others provided alternative reasons for skipping the Moscow Games. Some countries allowed their athletes to make the decision for themselves. Many athletes participated under the Olympic flag or NOC flag instead of their national flag.

IOC President Thomas Bach was unable to attend the Games representing Germany in fencing.

"This should never happen again to future generations of athletes. And this is what still drives me today, to give all the clean athletes of the world the chance to participate in the Olympic Games," Bach says.

A total of 5,179 athletes from 80 NOCs did take part in Moscow 1980. This was also the year seven NOCs - Angola, Botswana, Cyprus, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique and the Seychelles - made their Olympic debuts.

The Soviet Union and its allies would boycott the 1984 Los Angeles Games in retaliation.

Tickets for theU.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum go on sale on July 22.

Reported by Greer Wilson

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