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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic history: Moscow 1980






Nostalgia-Inducing Soviet Olympic Posters



In 1980, the Soviet Union hosted the Summer Olympics in Moscow. Times were different back then. Athletic shorts were shorter. And the posters were… awesome! We’ve dug up a few of these rare specimens for you to flip through, lightly annotated for context. Behold the wonders of their minimal design, awkward tangent propaganda, and bears. Meet Mishka, the Soviet Olympic Mascot, the definitive bear of all of USSR. He’s like Paddington Bear, but he comes in a giant floating balloon. Yeah, take that, London.

Best wishes  from MISHKA.Misha dominates all of the pictograms. 

 
“Olympian year — not just for Olympians.” Keep working, comrades.
Give us a good quality work!

Naturally, the international community will respond positively to posters that look like SlavicDECORATIVE TOWELS

These are “welcome flowers” for the foreign visitors. They are red, naturally.


Names of different countries... Misha is back and he stole several children from different countries.


This is when housing project-style architecture was really, really hot.
statue-inspired Soviet sport: Mixed gymnastic synchronized torch-running.

Ah, minimalism. Also, don’t forget to harvest your wheat at the communal farm this season. Never forget about the communal farm.


“From the depths of time, to the Olympics of today.” Now, with more wheat.
Best ice cream cone ever?
COURTESY OF 

The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spurred Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on January 20, 1980 that the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month.
The pros and cons of the boycott were further discussed in several interventions at the 1980 Bilderberg meeting held towards the end of April in Aachen. The debate partly surrounded the perception that the action could be perceived on the worldwide stage as a sentimental rather than a strategic act. An African representative at the event stated that a boycott would be an effective symbolic protest because of its dramatic visibility to the citizens of the Soviet Union, regardless of whether or not the action provoked a response.
The United States was joined in the boycott by some other countries – including Japan, West Germany, China, the Philippines, Argentina and Canada. Some of these countries competed at theOlympic Boycott Games in Philadelphia. Notably, United Kingdom, France and Australia supported the boycott but allowed their athletes to participate if they wished and left the final decisions to participate in the Games to their respective National Olympic Committees and the individual athletes of the countries concerned. The United Kingdom and France sent a much smaller delegation of athletes than usual. Nevertheless, the delegation of the United Kingdom was the largest among Western Europe, with 170 athletes applying to compete.
Spain, Italy, Sweden, Iceland and Finland were other principal nations representing western Europe, though Italian athletes belonging to military corps did not attend the Games, due to the government's support of the boycott, which severely affected many events. Some American-born athletes who were citizens of other countries, such as Italy and Australia, did compete in Moscow.
At the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletes from a number of countries, including Australia, Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Spain, and Switzerland, marched under the Olympic Flag, instead of their national flags, a fact that the Soviet TV coverage alternately ignored. Moreover, although the government of New Zealand officially supported the boycott, four athletes from that country competed independently and marched under their NOC's flag. Altogether, the athletes of 16 countries were not represented by their national flags, and the Olympic Anthem replaced their national anthems at medal ceremonies. As a result, there were a few ceremonies where three Olympic Flags were raised.
Because Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau was unable to travel to Moscow due to the boycott, Sandra Henderson and Stéphane Préfontaine, the final torchbearers at the previous games, were sent in his stead to participate in the Antwerp Ceremony at the opening ceremony, and at the closing ceremony, the Los Angeles city flag – rather than the United States flag – was raised to symbolize the next host of the Olympic Games.
Even though only 80 nations participated, more world records were set in Moscow than in 1976 in Montreal.

 Moscow 1980

The Kremlin makes an appearance at the opening ceremony
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was the trigger for the boycott of the Moscow Olympics the following year. Estimates of the impact in terms of numbers vary, and reports suggest some nations used the boycott as a convenient excuse to stay away because of economic issues.Mischa the Olympic bear - the cuddly side of Moscow 1980
The significance has less to do with the quantity of absentees — possibly as low as 45, maybe as high as 60-plus — than with the quality. The United States led the boycott and were supported by Canada, West Germany, Japan, China, Kenya and more.
A total of 80 nations competed — the lowest since 1956 — and some did so under the Olympic flag rather than their own.
So the scene was set for some unfamiliar names to make their mark, and none more so than Zimbabwe. As Rhodesia, the African nation had been banned from the previous two Games. It returned with a new identity, free of apartheid and good enough to win the inaugural women's hockey gold medal, albeit in something of a makeshift competition.
The hosts won at least one gold medal for every sport except hockey, in which India won the last of their men's gold medals, and football, won by Czechoslovakia.
Duncan Goodhew powers to 100m breaststroke gold for Britain
Weightlifting legend Vasily AlekseyevEvery gymnastics medal went to eastern Europe. Nadia Comăneci won two golds and two silvers for Romania in her last Games and there were two golds for Soviet star Nellie Kim. Nikolai Andrianov won two golds, two silvers and a bronze to take his medal total to 15 from three Games, a men's record beaten only by Michael Phelps. His team mate Alexander Dityatin won a medal in each of the gymnastics events, his record of eight medals in one Games again matched only by Phelps.
East Germany won 11 out of 14 rowing golds and all but two of the women's swimming gold medals.
In boxing the Soviets were beaten into second place by Cuba, literally in the case of Téofilo Stevenson, the big-hitter who defeated Piotr Zaev to become the first fighter to win three consecutive heavyweight gold medals. The next boycott, of Los Angeles in 1984, would deny him the chance of a fourth success.
Viktor Saneev came up short in his bid for a fourth consecutive triple jump gold, but there were suggestions it took some dubious "foul" calls against his opponents, by Soviet judges, for the champion to even achieve silver.
Alan Wells (lane eight) wins gold for Britain in the 100m final
Steve Ovett beats Sebastian Coe at 800mWaldemar Cierpinski of East Germany won a second successive marathon. Allan Wells became the first British winner of the 100m since Harold Abrahams in 1924 and two great rivals provided further British success, Steve Ovett at 800m and Sebastian — now Lord — Coe at 1,500m.
Coe gains revenge in the 1,500m
Miruts Yifter, who was denied the chance to improve on his 10,000m bronze in Munich by Ethiopia's boycott of Montreal, returned to win that event and the 5,000m.
There were a number of twin successes. Sergei Beloglazov won freestyle wrestling gold at bantamweight and twin Anatoli conquered the flyweight class. Walter and Ullrich Diessner were members of East Germany's successful coxed four. Their compatriots Jörg and Bernd Landvoigt beat the Soviet twins Yuri and Nikolay Pimenov to win the coxless pairs.
They would be followed by a twin disappointment when the Soviets responded to the American-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics by leading east European nations and a few other sympathisers in their own boycott when the 1984 Games went to Los Angeles.
Top three performances
1-Miruts Yifter (ETH) - Doubled up with golds in the 5000m and 10000m.
2-Teofilo Stevenson (CUB) - The Cuban amateur boxing legend won his third heavyweight gold.
3-Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe (GBR) - Split the glory at 800m and 1500m, each winning the other's stronger event.
Did you know?
The USA led a boycott of the Games in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. British athletes were allowed to compete, but only under the Olympic Flag.
21 per cent of the competitors were female, more than at any previous Olympics.
Austrian rider Elisabeth Theurer was ordered not to compete by her national federation. However, F1 star Niki Lauda flew her to Moscow in his private jet and she duly won gold.








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