Soviet Union withdraws athletes from Los Angeles Olympics

The withdrawl of the Soviets Tuesday from the Olympic Games in Los Angeles marks the second straight time a super power has boycotted the Summer Olympics.

The United States pulled out of the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a protest against the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.


President Carter announced the boycott in January, 1980. The United States also imposed a grain embargo on the Soviet Union.

The President was backed on his decision by the House of Representatives, which voted overwhelmingly to boycott the Games.

Carter called for the transferal, cancelation or boycott of the Games unless Moscow pulled its troops out of Afghanistan by Feb. 20. Despite outcries by the U.S. Olympic Committee and American athletes that a boycott would destroy the modern Olympic Games, the Carter Administration said that the Soviets were the culprits in this case, not the United States.

'This invasion (of Afghanistan) and the threat that it imposes to the rest of the world would certainly be viewed as a violation of the Olympic theme,' Carter aide Lloyd Cutler said at the time.

Cutler also said that the Soviets were planning to use the Games as a propaganda vehicle.


Carter put a call out to other Western bloc nations to follow the United States' lead, which led to another 57 nations pulling out of the Games. Despite the massive boycott, 81 countries did send delegations to Moscow.

The U.S. Olympic Committee endorsed the Carter Administration's decision when it voted in April, 1980, to boycott the Moscow Games. The USOC still picked teams in each sport but the boycott prevented 500 American athletes from competing in the Olympics.

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