Caraccioli, Tom and Caraccioli, Jerry. “Boycott” Stolen Dreams and the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games”, New Chapter Press, 2008.
The 18 Elite
It is almost that time again as we gear up for the Beijing Olympics and I always get hooked on them. In 1980, however, we had another reason to be prepared for Olympic fever and that had to do with the American boycott of the Moscow games. American athletes were not given the chance to compete in the Moscow Olympics and many complained that Americans, as individuals, had the right to make their own decision as to whether or not they would participate.
The Caraccioli twins used excellent research and in-depth interviews to look at the decision that then American President, Jimmy Carter, led the impetus to convince our athletes and the United States Olympic Committee to boycott the Moscow games in 1980.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is what led to that decision and it is the merging of politics and athletics that is the backdrop of this extremely interesting books. The authors discovered the real stories of the eighteen athletes who were scheduled to attend the games and we feel their emotions and their pain yet the main character here is the then vice president of the United States, Walter F. Mondale who gives us an outstanding forward to the book. He explains the position of the administration but that policy just seems to be unfair as we look back 30 years. Here was a group of athletes that had spent much of their lives so that they could participate and that chance was taken from them. The book is about those athletes that missed their chance at Olympic glory. They became political pawns on a political stage and we owe them the respect that they so deserve.