I hope you’ve been enjoying the Olympics, and 80s Olympic week! To finish off the week, here are the top 5 80s Olympic moments and scandals from the 3 games held in the decade!
5. Greetings From Space!
1980: During the opening ceremony in Moscow, Russia, crew of the Russian space station Salyut 6 sent their greetings and best wishes to the Olympians in a live communication between the station and the Central Lenin Stadium.
4. King Carl
1984: At the Los Angeles games, Carl Lewis dominated the track events. Hard to believe these days, but back then track and field wasn’t very well publicized – that is, until Carl won 4 gold medals. He dominated in the 100m run, the long jump, the 200m run and the 4x100m relay, equaling the great Jesse Owen with the amount of gold medals won in a single Olympics.
3. Queen FloJo
1988: World records get broken in every Olympics, but the record set by Florence Griffith Joyner in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, still stands. FloJo set a time of 21.34 in the 200m run, and no runner to this day has been able to beat her. She won 3 gold medals and one silver at these games, and then announced her retirement shortly after.
2. When the US Wins, You Win!
1984 – During the Los Angeles games, McDonald’s ran a promotion entitled “When the U.S. Wins, You Win”. Customers received a scratch-off ticket with the name of an Olympic event and if the U.S. received a medal in that event then the customer would be given a free menu item (including a Big Mac for gold). Seems like a good idea, right? Well, when the Soviet Union boycotted the games the U.S. won far more medals than expected, and the promotion cost the company so much it was nearly a financial disaster.
The 80s were a highly political time. The Cold War still raged and the choice of host cities meant that more than a few noses were out of joint. At the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Russia, President Jimmy Carter issued a Boycott to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and many other countries followed. 29 of the boycotting countries participated at a substitute event called the Liberty Bell Classic (or the Olympic Boycott Games), held in Philadelphia, USA.
The next games in 1984 were held in Los Angeles, and this time the Soviet Union and 14 of its allies declared they were boycotting. They stated it was due to a lack of security for their athletes and officials, but it is generally regarded as a direct response to the Moscow boycott. These countries also organized their own event, the Friendship Games.
In 1988 North Korea boycotted the games held in South Korea, due to ongoing conflict between the two nations.