August 3, 2010

(1980 Summer Olympics - Sports and Politics - nobody won)

If you were an athlete in the U.S., training for years for the Olympics, the news that your country boycotted the games in 1980 and you couldn't participate in them came as a shattering career-ending blow. The controversy surrounding the Carter decision for the U.S. to boycott the games based on the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan has raged for years. Some said sports and politics had nothing to do with each other. Others blamed the Soviets and their strategy for bringing this on themselves. To this day there are arguments over what might have been and was America right to have imposed political sanctions over an athletic event.

But the ones who lost were the athletes, on both sides.

So on this day, August 3rd 1980, the Moscow Olympics closed and Radio Moscow broadcast the event, especially to North America. And I am sure most people didn't get to hear it.

Since this was shortwave, and long before the days of streaming audio via the Internet, the sound is what we took for granted at the time, dim, distant and almost from another planet. Fading in and out and sometimes garbled.

News starts the broadcast and a commentary ends it - but in the middle, and for the better part of a half hour, you get to hear what we all missed that summer, when Politics and Sports played the most awkward of bed fellows.

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