The XXII Olympiad took place in Moscow in the Soviet Union between 19 July and 3 August 1980.
The Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 led to the largest boycott in the history of the Olympic movement. American President Jimmy Carter took the lead in the call for a boycott of the 1980 Olympics, and more than 60 other countries joined the US in staying away from Moscow.
Some Western countries did not observe the boycott, notably Great Britain, France, Italy, and Sweden.
In all, about 5,000 athletes representing 81 countries did attend the Games.
Protests against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan continued, however, with several of the participating countries – including Great Britain – refusing to attend the opening ceremony, and the Olympic hymn was played at several medal ceremonies rather than the appropriate national anthem.
Just 80 countries competed in the Olympics (the fewest since 1956), and the level of competition clearly suffered from the boycott.
The Soviet team won 87 gold medals, and 195 medals in all, in the most lopsided final tally since the US domination of the 1904 Games.
The track and field competition produced several disappointing winning times.
The 800 and 1,500-metre events boasted the world’s two best performers – Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe, both of Great Britain – and although Ovett won the 800-metre run and Coe the 1,500-metre, both races were characterised by overly cautious running and unimpressive times.