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Interesting Stories of Olympics Boycotts till Now

1956 Melbourne Olympics

  • Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden boycotted the games in protest of the USSR’s invasion of Hungry, Lebanon and Egypt.
  • Iraq boycotted the games in protest of the Suez Crisis.
  • China refused to participate because Taiwan was included in the Olympics participation.

1964 Tokyo Games

  • South Africa was banned by the International Olympic Committee from taking part because of its oppressive racist discrimination policy. The ban was lifted in 1992.

1976 Montreal

  • In this 1976 Montreal Olympics 26 African countries had boycotted it. It was in response to the New Zealand’s participation in the games. Because despite the ban the New Zealand team took three month long rugby tour of South Africa. Although Egypt participated for the first 3 days of the games, but then it also joined the boycotting African nations.
  • The Taiwanese contingent was asked not to participate other than ‘the Republic of China’ which was unacceptable to Taiwan and they also withdrew from the games.

1980 Moscow Games

  • Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the then US President Jimmy Carter asked the US Olympic Committee to boycott the Moscow Games. Despite against the soul of The Olympic Charter, which doesn’t allow any pressure consists of political, religious or economic nature. As the Americans boycotted the games Japan and West Germany along with 62 other countries also boycotted the games. From 122 nations in Munich it all came down to 80 nations. USSR won 195 medals with allegations of cheating.

1984 Los Angeles Games

  • Although the Russians official gave the security or lack of it, as the reason to boycott it was widely seen as the revenge taken by them against USA the previous time. The interesting part of it that China finished its absence from the game after 32 years in Los Angeles only.

1988 Seoul Games

  • The North Koreans boycotted the games because they were not given the co-hosts recognition by the IOC. This was again purely a political decision by the North Korea because they are always at the loggerheads with the South Korea. Only Cuba and Ethiopia showed solidarity with the North Koreans, but it was the first time after 1972 that there was no widespread boycott of the games.

No More Boycotts of Olympics

 The 1992 Barcelona Olympics were unique in the sense that there was no boycott by a single country, instead it shows the unification of Russia after the USSR was broken up. The former USSR took part as a Russian Unified Team. The Berlin Wall too was demolished and East and West German became one country as Germany. South Africa too returned to the games after it threw away its racist policy after 32 years of isolation.

  • The 2008 Beijing Olympics had a scare of a boycott by some countries because of some of the human rights activists were pleading to boycott the games because of China’s poor human rights record in Tibet.


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