Champions Without Medals -- August 15, 2000
By Jim Lutz
INDIANAPOLIS, August 14. During finals last night a single representative of the 1940 Olympic team was introduced along with the members of the 1980 team.
The 1940 team never got to compete due to World War II.
The 1980 Olympic alums respresented a mulitude of world and American records but limited Olympic experience.
Now you may wonder how an entire Olympic team could have limited experience. If you'll recall, President Jimmy Carter decided the US would boycott the 1980 Games, held in Moscow, as a protest over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. It was a decision the athletes bitterly fought, but the Carter
Administration pressured the USOC until it buckled under.
The United States did not send these deserving athletes to compete in Moscow...and young dreams
were shattered, young lives forever changed because of politics.
Forget about the thousands of hours of training and sacrifice these athletes put in to earn their place among America's elite. Goverments decide to mercilessly use these innocent individuals as pawns in their political chess match.
As the Olympians marched across the pool deck, the crowd rose to their feet and gave them a long deserved standing ovation. None of them received any medals from the Olympic Games but in the hearts of over 5000 in attendance, all of these great athletes were champions.