Video: 1980 Olympian Sue Walsh Recalls Pain of Missing Moscow Games

SOCHI, Russia, February 10. THE Sochi Winter Olympics taking place now in Russia are bringing back memories of an Olympics that didn’t happen for hundreds of American athletes in 1980, and an NBC News report gives four Olympians the chance to voice their opinions over the U.S. boycott of those Games.

Among those in the report is Sue Walsh, who won the 100 backstroke at the Olympic Trials and was on pace to take home multiple medals. But after hearing President Jimmy Carter announce that the American athletes would stay home, she thought more of her parents than herself.

“My parents had bought flights to go to Moscow that were not going to be refunded,” Walsh told NBC News recently. What Walsh, a current Masters world record holder, said next caused her to become very emotional.

“Now, as a parent, what you … what your hopes for your children are, and then knowing that my parents wouldn’t get to experience that, I think that was the hardest thing.”

Neither of the four athletes featured in the report – Walsh, volleyball player Debbie Landreth, gymnast Ron Galimore and runner Don Paige – were not able to keep their athletic prowess for the 1984 Games, and were four of the hundreds who did not get the opportunity to compete in Los Angeles. Some of the notable swimmers who were able to find a second wind and reap gold in 1984 include Rowdy Gaines, Mary T. Meagher and Tracy Caulkins.

Watch the emotional video report in the video player below.

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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