1980 Summer Olympics

Games of the XXII Olympiad, in Moscow, USSR

The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad, were held in Moscow, Soviet Union from July 19 to August 3.

Games of the XXII Olympiad
Host cityMoscow[1], Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Athletes5,179 (4,064 men, 1,115 women)
Events203 in 21 sports (27 disciplines)
Opening19 July
Closing3 August
Opened by
StadiumGrand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium
Montreal 1976 Los Angeles 1984
Lake Placid 1980 Sarajevo 1984
Nations that participated

Concerns and controversies

countries boycotting the 1980 Games are shaded blue
  • 1980 Summer Olympics boycott: U.S. President Jimmy Carter instigated a boycott of the games to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as the Games were held in Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union. Many nations refused to participate in the Games. The exact number of boycotting nations is difficult to determine, as a total of 66 eligible countries did not participate, but some of those countries withdrew due to financial hardships, only claiming to join the boycott to avoid embarrassment.[source?] Iran also boycotted the Moscow Games owing to Ayatollah Khomeini's support for the Islamic Conference's condemnation of the invasion of Afghanistan.[3] Only 80 countries participated in the Moscow games, fewer than the 92 that had joined the 1976 games and the lowest number since the 1960 Rome Games which had also featured 80 countries. A substitute event, titled the Liberty Bell Classic, often referred to as Olympic Boycott Games, was held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia by 29 of the boycotting countries.

Sixty-five countries that were invited to the 1980 Olympics, plus Qatar, did not participate for various reasons, including support for the boycott and economic reasons. (Qatar's 1980 IOC recognition came too late for it to be invited.) Taiwan refused to participate as a result of the 1979 Nagoya Resolution, in which the People's Republic of China agreed to participate in IOC activities if Taiwan was referred to as "Chinese Taipei".[4] However, China boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games as well.

  • A 1989 report by a committee of the Australian Senate claimed that "there is hardly a medal winner at the Moscow Games, certainly not a gold medal winner...who is not on one sort of drug or another: usually several kinds. The Moscow Games might well have been called the Chemists' Games".[6] A member of the IOC Medical Commission, Manfred Donike, privately ran additional tests with a new technique for identifying abnormal levels of testosterone by measuring its ratio to epitestosterone in urine. Twenty percent of the specimens he tested, including those from sixteen gold medalists would have resulted in disciplinary proceedings had the tests been official. The results of Donike's unofficial tests later convinced the IOC to add his new technique to their testing protocols.[7] The first documented case of "blood doping" occurred at the 1980 Summer Olympics as a runner was transfused with two pints of blood before winning medals in the 5000 m and 10,000 m.[8]
Kozakiewicz (pictured in 2016) was disqualified for failing a drug test
  • Polish gold medallist pole vaulter Władysław Kozakiewicz showed an obscene bras d'honneur gesture in all four directions to the jeering Soviet public, causing an international scandal and almost losing his medal as a result. There were numerous incidents and accusations of Soviet officials using their authority to negate marks by opponents to the point that IAAF officials found the need to look over the officials' shoulders to try to keep the events fair. There were also accusations of opening stadium gates to advantage Soviet athletes, and causing other disturbances to opposing athletes.[9][10][11][12][13]

Medals by country


These are the 10 countries that won the most medals in the 1980 Summer Olympics.

  Rank   Nation   Gold     Silver     Bronze     Total  
  1   Soviet Union (URS) (Hosts)   80    69   46   195
  2   East Germany (GDR)   47    37   42   126
  3   Bulgaria (BUL)   8   16   17   41
  4   Cuba (CUB)   8   7   5   20
  5   Italy (ITA)   8   3   4   15
  6   Hungary (HUN)   7   10   15   32
  7   Romania (ROU)   7   6    13   25
  8   France (FRA)   6   5   3   14
  9   Great Britain (GBR)   5   7   9   21
  10   Poland (POL)   3   14   15   32

Other websites



  1. Moscow was not a federal city in 1980. It became a federal city in 1993, two years after the Soviet Union broke up.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Factsheet – Opening Ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad" (PDF) (Press release). International Olympic Committee. 9 October 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  3. Golan, Galia; Soviet Policies in the Middle East: From World War Two to Gorbachev; p. 193 ISBN 9780521358590
  4. Eaton, Joseph (November 2016). "Reconsidering the 1980 Moscow Olympic Boycott: American Sports Diplomacy in East Asian Perspective". Diplomatic History. 40 (5): 845–864. doi:10.1093/dh/dhw026. JSTOR 26376807. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  5. Ramos, Gerry (7 March 2019). "Former swimming chief Mark Joseph dies 'peacefully in his sleep' age 56". Spin.ph. Retrieved 5 December 2022. Joseph himself qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but failed to compete as the country joined the US-led boycott of the Games.
  6. "Doping violations at the Olympics". The Economist. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  7. Wilson, Wayne (PhD); Derse, Ed (2001). Doping in Élite Sport: The Politics of Drugs in the Olympic Movement. Human Kinetics. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-0-7360-0329-2. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  8. Sytkowski, Arthur J. (May 2006). Erythropoietin: Blood, Brain and Beyond. John Wiley & Sons. p. 187. ISBN 978-3-527-60543-9.
  9. "Kozakiewicz Sets World Pole Vault Record". Star-Banner. Ocala, Florida. 31 July 1980.[permanent dead link]
  10. Barukh Ḥazan (January 1982). Olympic Sports and Propaganda Games: Moscow 1980. Transaction Publishers. p. 183. ISBN 9781412829953. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  11. Jesse Reed. "Top 10 Scandals in Summer Olympic History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  12. "Style, Love, Home, Horoscopes & more - MSN Lifestyle". Living.msn.com. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  13. "Polanik English". Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  1. IOC records say that Brezhnev opened the Moscow Games as "President". At the time, this title was used by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, or the de jure head of state. (The office of President of the Soviet Union was not created until 1990, a year before the nation broke up.) Although Brezhnev was also the de facto ruler of the Soviet Union as the General Secretary of the Communist Party, that title is not listed in the IOC's records.