Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kenneth Aslakson




cold war, 1980 Summer Olympics, Afghanistan


When President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, it was the largest act of political interference in the history of the Olympics. It began in December of 1979 when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. Carter was having a difficult time getting the hostages back so in response to the invasion of Afghanistan, Carter gave the Soviets one month to withdraw their troops or the United States would boycott their Olympics. Since the Soviets did not respect the demands of the President, Carter stuck to his threat and the United States did not participate in the 1980 Moscow games as well as 65 other nations. Although this was not the President’s decision to make, overwhelming support from the public as well as pressure from Congress made the United States Olympic Committee respect the government’s actions and officially boycotted the 1980 Olympics. This was an extreme case of Cold War politics.