LOS ANGELES -- A record-142 nations will attend the Summer Games despite the Soviet-led boycott that took 14 countries from the field, Olympic organizers said Monday.
Peter Ueberroth, president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, called the Soviet boycott a 'big failure' that hurts only the athletes of the Communist Bloc nations.
He said 7,800 athletes will arrive for the 23rd Olympiad July 28-Aug. 12. More than 9,500 were expected before the boycott was announced last month.
The last 10 countries to formally accept invitations were Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Jordan, Lesotho, Madagascar, Seychelles, Somalia, Tonga, Upper Volta and Angola.
The LAOOC received a telex from the Angolan delegation Monday - nearly 36 hours after the deadline -- but Ueberroth said every effort was made to beat the clock.
'The boycott has a single success -- it's ability to hurt athletes,' Ueberroth said at a news conference. 'But otherwise the boycott is a big failure. You only have to meet one athlete of a boycotting country to understand the pain.'
Ueberroth said the Soviet Union, which withdrew May 8 accusing the United States of violating the Olympic charter and failing to provide adequate security for its athletes, has continued to pressure African nations to pull out.
'There will be Soviet efforts to force countries to change their mind, which would be against Olympic rules,' he said.
Ueberroth did not know what sanctions the International Olympic Committee might impose against such late withdrawals.
The 14 boycotting countries are the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopa, East Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Poland, Vietnam and South Yemen.
'You only have to meet one athlete of a boycotting country to understand the pain,' Ueberroth said.
The LAOOC listed two countries as not responding to Olympic invitations -- Albania and Iran. Both announced long before the boycott they would not participate.
Bolivia announced Sunday it will not attend the Olympics because of its severe economic crisis and the low quality of its athletes. But Ueberroth listed Bolivia as a participant, saying the LAOOC would help the country seek funds.
'There are countries from time to time who have finanical difficulties,' he said. 'Six of their athletes are paid for out of the solidarity funds. That money comes directly from the IOC. It comes from the sale of television rights primarily.
'We'll be meeting to explore ways to help Bolivia with their financial problems.'
In Managua, Nicaraguan Olympic officials said they asked for an extension for paying housing fees for their athletes.
Harry Usher, LAOOC executive vice president, said officals began completing village assignments for the various delegations on Monday.