Swimming World Presents – Highlights From The International Swimming Hall of Fame’s 1980 Olympic Exhibit

Swimming World November 2020 Highlights From The International Swimming Hall of Fame 1980 Moscow Olympics Exhibit
Some of the most popular items of interest from the 1980 Moscow Olympics Exhibit at ISHOF

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Highlights From The International Swimming Hall of Fame’s 1980 Olympic Exhibit

By Bruce Wigo

 

As we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Olympic Games, much has been written and discussed about the impact on the athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete in Moscow. Lost in most of these discussions is the significance of the boycott to the Olympic movement, which is why, in 2014, the International Swimming Hall of Fame made it the subject of one of the largest permanent exhibits in its museum. This exhibit is one that consistently generates the most interest and questions from visitors of all ages. It is the goal of this article to share the essence of this exhibit at a time when the museum is closed to visitors during reconstruction of its facilities.

Forty years ago, the Olympic movement was at a crossroads. The myth that the Games were a non-political festival of youth ended with the Berlin Olympics of 1936. The Games got a boost in 1952 when the Soviet Union joined the Olympic movement in Helsinki and brought the Cold War to the pool. But in 1964, the threat of an African nations boycott led to the exclusion of South Africa and Rhodesia. During the Munich Games of 1972, Arab terrorists kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes.

Two years after that incident—and two years before the financial catastrophe of the Montreal Olympic Games—the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1980 Olympic Games to Moscow. Clearly, the Olympic movement needed the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Summer Games in Moscow to be successful.

Lake Placid did its part. But lost in the success of the Games and the euphoria of “the Miracle on Ice” (when the U.S. ice hockey team upset the heavily favored Soviet Union) was that four days before the hockey gold medal game was played, U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced that America would not send a team to the Moscow Summer Games as a protest of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

It is a gross understatement to say that the decision was a painful one for the athletes—and their families. But as the ISHOF exhibit makes clear, the Olympic Games are and always have been about politics. Just as Hitler used the Games to showcase National Socialism (Nazism), the Soviets joined the Olympic movement and bid to host the 1980 Games for their propaganda value in the Third World. It surely wasn’t for the ideal of international peace, sportsmanship and brotherhood. That may have been the idea of the sportsmen, but not the politicians.

In the hindsight of 40 years—and America’s current predicament in Afghanistan—the decision to boycott the Games was clearly wrong-headed and ineffective. And if it wasn’t for the leadership of Peter Ueberroth and the commercial success of the Los Angeles Games in 1984, the modern Olympic movement may have ceased to exist—just like the ancient Games did in the year 393.


To see more highlights from ISHOF’s 1980 Olympics Exhibit,
check out the November 2020 issue of
Swimming World Magazine.
Click here to download now!

Swimming World November 2020 Cover - Allison Schmitt - A Legacy Much More Than Gold Medals[PHOTO CREDIT: CONNOR TRIMBLE]

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Swimming World Magazine November 2020 Issue

FEATURES

010 OPEN WATER SWIMMERS OF THE DECADE (2010-19)
by Andy Ross
Since the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Swimming World from naming Open Water Swimmers of the Year for 2020, the magazine, instead, takes a look at the top marathon athletes over the last 10 years.

015 HIGHLIGHTING ISHOF’S 1980 OLYMPIC EXHIBIT
by Bruce Wigo
As we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Olympic Games, much has been written and discussed about the impact on the athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete in Moscow. Lost in most of these discussions is the significance of the boycott to the Olympic movement, which is why, in 2014, the International Swimming Hall of Fame made it the subject of one of the largest permanent exhibits in its museum.

018 OLYMPIC HISTORY WITHIN REACH
by David Rieder
Despite the global pandemic, the Olympic postponement and a coaching change, Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri put together some of the best swimming of his career last summer in the 800 and 1500 meter freestyle as well as the 10K marathon. Come Tokyo 2021, he’ll be trying to become the first swimmer ever to capture Olympic gold in both the pool and open water events.

021 STILL SWIMMING STRONG
by Dan D’Addona
Throughout Allison Schmitt’s illustrious swimming career, the three-time Olympian and eight-time Olympic medalist has experienced success and has dealt with her share of struggles. Now 30, she remains goal-oriented and continues to be one of the world’s elite athletes.

026 THE TRUE OLYMPIC SPIRIT
by John Lohn
Pierre de Coubertin developed the Olympic motto that stressed athletic prowess, but he also said, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part.” That description fit Eric the Eel Moussambani perfectly when he swam all by himself in Heat 1 of the men’s 100 meter freestyle at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and finished in slightly less than two minutes!

COACHING

012 TOUGHEST WORKOUTS (Part 1)
by Michael J. Stott
Here’s a painful—but productive—sampling from yesteryear of some coaches’ toughest workouts ever.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: DEVELOPMENT OF AN OPTIMAL MODEL FOR TECHNIQUE: PART IX—BODY BASE OF SUPPORT FOR BACKSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
An optimal backstroke body base of support (BOS) depends on first mastering a level torso and then mastering torso rotation. An optimal BOS facilitates the arm motion to maximize propulsion.

038 SPECIAL SETS: A REALLY SPECIAL SET
by Michael J. Stott
Nov. 21, 1975: Mike Bruner’s 100 x 100 on 1:00!

042 Q&A WITH COACH LORI RIEGLER
by Michael J. Stott

043 HOW THEY TRAIN JACK ALEXY AND MEREDITH RIEGLER
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: LET’S RACE
by J.R. Rosania
With COVID-19 being managed somewhat and new protocols being put in place, racing is slowly coming back. Here are some exercises that will help get your body ready to race.

JUNIOR SWIMMER

046 UP & COMERS: ALANA BERLIN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

014 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT HYDROMANIA?

029 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

045 THE OFFICIAL WORD

047 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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