1980  Moscow Summer Olympics

1980 Summer Olympics - About the Games

1980 Summer Olympics


Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union (July 20, 1980 to August 3, 1980)
Opening Ceremony: July 19, 1980 (opened by President Leonid Brezhnev)
Lighter of the Olympic Flame: Sergey Belov
Takers of the Olympic Oath: Nikolay Andrianov (athlete) and Aleksandr Medved (official)
Closing Ceremony: August 3, 1980
Events: 203 in 23 sports

Participants: 5,259 (4,135 men and 1,123 women) from 80 countries
Youngest Participant: ANG Jorge Lima (13 years, 8 days)
Oldest Participant: BUL Krasimir Krastev (70 years, 193 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): URS Aleksandr Dityatin (8 medals)
Most Medals (Country): URS Soviet Union (195 medals)



In late December 1979, Soviet tanks invaded Afghanistan. On 26 July 1980, [Volker Beck] (GDR) won a gold medal in the 400 metre hurdles at the Moscow Olympics. Unrelated events? Hardly.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, United States' President [Jimmy Carter] called for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics if the Soviets did not withdraw before 20 February 1980. They did not. Carter pressed his efforts, attempting to enlist other countries to join his boycott. But American allies Britain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and Sweden all competed at Moscow.

Carter made his announcement public to the IOC via Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who rather rudely addressed the IOC at the [Lake Placid Games] in February. Many U.S. athletes protested Carter's idea, but Carter was adamant, threatening to withdraw U.S. passports, and putting political pressure on many American businesses that supported the U.S. Olympic Committee. The United States government, which has never officially helped the U.S. Olympic Movement in any way, but enjoys basking in its limelight every four years when it is politically expedient, thus stopped U.S. Olympic participation for the only time ever.

Approximately 63 countries eventually boycotted the Moscow Olympics – it is actually difficult to be precise because some nations stated that they would not compete, but that they were not boycotting (See the lists below). Notable among these were the United States, Canada, West Germany, Japan, China, Kenya, and Norway. Several countries that did not boycott protested at the Olympic ceremonies. Ten countries elected not to march at the [opening ceremonies], while six other nations marched behind flags of their national Olympic committees, or the Olympic flag, rather than their national flag. Several countries chose not to have their national anthems played at victory ceremonies, substituting instead the Olympic hymn. Finally, at the closing ceremony President Carter refused to allow the American flag to be raised as the host country of the next Olympics. The flag of Los Angeles was raised instead.

The Moscow Games were scheduled to be televised by NBC (National Broadcasting Company). Once the boycott took effect, NBC withdrew its cameras and its money, showing only short clips and daily summaries of the events. The loss of the American television money would have been a crippling blow for most Organizing Committees, but it had little effect on the Moscow committee as it was completely state-supported.

The Games suffered in level of competition but they were marvelously run, although spectators spoke often of the military atmosphere as Soviet soldiers were on every street corner with automatic weapons. The most awaited races matched two Brits in the [800] and [1,500 metres] in the track and the boycott had no effect on them. [Sebastian Coe] was favored in the 800 and [Steve Ovett] in the 1,500. They each won a gold medal, but in the "other man's" event.

The absolute prohibitive favorite in the [men's 400 metre hurdles] on the track would have been [Edwin Moses] of the United States. In his absence, Volker Beck won what may constitute the most de-valued gold medal in Olympic history. Beck's time was one that Moses would have only posted in an early round heat, while warming up for the final to come.

In 1980, President Carter was defeated in his re-election bid. Nine years later, in mid-1989, Soviet troops finally left Afghanistan. The Olympic Movement was on the ropes, now staggering from the haymaker punches of Munich, Montreal, and Moscow.

The 1980 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXII Olympiad (Russian: И́гры XXII Олимпиа́ды, tr. Igry XXII Olimpiady), was an international multi-sport event held in Moscow, Soviet Union, in present-day Russia.

The 1980 Games were the first Olympic Games to be staged in Eastern Europe, and remain the only Summer Olympics held there, as well as the first Olympic Games to be held in a Slavic language-speaking country. They were also the first Olympic Games to be held in a communist country, and the only Summer Games to be held in such a country until 2008 in Beijing, China. These were the final Olympic Games under the IOC Presidency of Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin.

Eighty nations were represented at the Moscow Games – the smallest number since 1956. Led by the United States, 66 countries boycotted the games entirely because of the Soviet–Afghan War. Some athletes from some of the boycotting countries (they are not included in the list of 66 countries that boycotted the games entirely) participated in the games under the Olympic Flag. The Soviet Union would later boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics.


Host city selection

The only two cities to bid for the 1980 Summer Olympics were Moscow and Los Angeles. The choice between them was made on 23 October 1974 in the 75th IOC Session in Vienna, Austria. Los Angeles would eventually host the 1984 Summer Olympics.

1980 Summer Olympics bidding result
City Country Votes
Moscow  Soviet Union 39
Los Angeles  United States 20


The preparations for the Olympic Games in Moscow were supported by the highest body in the state and party leadership. As the president of the organizing committee, Ignatius Novikov was appointed expert in construction and energy supply and former companion of Leonid Brezhnev .

The financing of the games was based on three pillars. About half of the revenue was generated by an Olympic lottery held in other socialist countries besides the Soviet Union. Another source of money was royalties for various articles and broadcasting rights, including the skilful marketing of the mascot Mischka, which also gained enormous popularity in the Western countries during the games. The third pillar of funding was a coinage program consisting of 45 commemorative coins with Olympic motifs of gold, silver and copper-nickel and 45 percent of which were sold in Western Europe alone.

In half of the Olympic downs could be resorted to existing competition venues, which only had to be extended or renovated. However, costly new buildings were needed, which in the end caused more than half of the total expenditure of 862.7 million rubles. This was offset by revenues of 744.8 million rubles, leaving a deficit of 117.9 million rubles. In addition, billions of dollars of "non-Olympian spending" were used primarily as investments in infrastructure, such as: As the extension of the ring road around Moscow or the new building of the airport Sheremetyevo II , so that the deficit can be estimated much higher.

In order to solve the transport problem and to prevent a traffic chaos, one resorted mainly to buses. The Ministry of Transportation of the USSR delegated about 4000 buses and drivers from all over the Soviet Union to Moscow. It also identified special connecting roads between sports facilities and accommodation as "Olympic routes", on which a lane of the lane could only be used by vehicles with accreditation . Truck traffic was largely banned from these routes during the Games.

Logo and mascot

The emblem of the games was created by the Latvian graphic artist Vladimir Arsentyev and won in 1975 from a competition in which 8500 people had submitted a total of 26,000 proposals. It shows a stylized tower in the style of socialist classicism and at the same time symbolizes the career in a stadium. The cartoonist and children's book illustrator Victor Chizhikov's mascot was a brown bear with the official name Misha , but Mekhnka's mischievous form prevailed as a common name. In addition, there was a mascot of sailing competitions in Tallinn with the seal called Vigri . The pictograms were developed by Nikolai Belkov , a modern pentathlete and graphic artist from Leningrad, and differed from the designs of Otl Aicher for the games of Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976 by their rounded corners. In addition, the pictograms gained momentum through their image edges cut twice by the characters.

Mascot "Mischka" in Kiev (2010)

List of participating countries and regions

In the following list, the number in parentheses indicates the number of athletes from each nation that competed in Moscow. Nations in italics competed under the Olympic flag (or, in the cases of New Zealand, Portugal and Spain, under the flags of their respective National Olympic Committees):  
Number of athletes sent per nation
Participating National Olympic Committees
  •  Afghanistan (11)
  •  Algeria (59)
  •  Andorra (2)
  •  Angola (13)
  •  Australia (126)
  •  Austria (89)
  •  Belgium (61)
  •  Benin (17)
  •  Botswana (7)
  •  Brazil (109)
  •  Bulgaria (295)
  •  Burma (2)
  •  Cameroon (26)
  •  Colombia (23)
  •  Republic of the Congo (23)
  •  Costa Rica (30)
  •  Cuba (216)
  •  Cyprus (14)
  •  Czechoslovakia (216)
  •  Denmark (63)
  •  Dominican Republic (6)
  •  Ecuador (11)
  •  Ethiopia (41)
  •  Finland (124)
  •  France (125)
  •  East Germany (362)
  •  Great Britain (231)
  •  Greece (42)
  •  Guatemala (10)
  •  Guinea (9)
  •  Guyana (8)
  •  Hungary (279)
  •  Iceland (9)
  •  India (74)
  •  Iraq (44)
  •  Ireland (48)
  •  Italy (163)
  •  Jamaica (18)
  •  Jordan (4)
  •  North Korea (50)
  •  Kuwait (58)
  •  Laos (20)
  •  Liberia (7)Note[›]
  •  Lebanon (17)
  •  Lesotho (5)
  •  Libya (32)
  •  Luxembourg (3)
  •  Madagascar (11)
  •  Mali (7)
  •  Malta (8)
  •  Mexico (45)
  •  Mongolia (43)
  •  Mozambique (14)
  •  Nepal (11)
  •  Netherlands (86)
  •  New Zealand (4)
  •  Nicaragua (5)
  •  Nigeria (44)
  •  Peru (30)
  •  Poland (320)
  •  Portugal (11)
  •  Puerto Rico (3)
  •  Romania (243)
  •  San Marino (17)
  •  Senegal (32)
  •  Seychelles (11)
  •  Sierra Leone (14)
  •  Spain (159)
  •  Sri Lanka (4)
  •  Sweden (148)
  •  Switzerland (84)
  •  Syria (69)
  •  Tanzania (41)
  •  Trinidad and Tobago (9)
  •  Uganda (13)
  •  Soviet Union (506) (host)
  •  Venezuela (38)
  •  Vietnam (30)
  •  Yugoslavia (162)
  •  Zambia (40)
  •  Zimbabwe (46)
^ Note:  Liberia with seven athletes, withdrew after marching in the Opening Ceremony and took part in the boycott.

Participation overview and boycott

Eighty nations were represented at the Moscow Games – the smallest number since 1956. Of the eighty participating nations, eight nations made their first appearance at this Games – Angola, Botswana, Cyprus, Laos, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Seychelles. None of these nations won a medal.

Although approximately half of the 24 countries that boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics (in protest against the IOC not expelling New Zealand who sanctioned a rugby tour of apartheid South Africa) participated in the Moscow Games, the 1980 Summer Olympics were disrupted by another, even larger, boycott led by the United States in protest at the 1979 Soviet–Afghan War. The Soviet invasion spurred Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on 20 January 1980, that the US would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month. 65 countries and regions invited did not take part in the 1980 Olympics. Many of these followed the United States' boycott initiative, while others cited economic reasons for not coming. Iran, under Ayatollah Khomeini hostile to both superpowers, boycotted when the Islamic Conference condemned the invasion.
Participating nations Countries boycotting the 1980 Games are shaded blue

Many of the boycotting nations participated instead in the Liberty Bell Classic, also known as the "Olympic Boycott Games", in Philadelphia. However, the nations that did compete had won 71 percent of all medals, and similarly 71 percent of the gold medals, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. This was in part because of state-run doping programs that had been developed in the Eastern Bloc countries. As a form of protest against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, fifteen countries marched in the Opening Ceremony with the Olympic Flag instead of their national flags, and the Olympic Flag and Olympic Hymn were used at medal ceremonies when athletes from these countries won medals. Competitors from three countries – New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain – competed under the flags of their respective National Olympic Committees. Some of these teams that marched under flags other than their national flags were depleted by boycotts by individual athletes, while some athletes did not participate in the march.

The impact of the boycott was mixed. Some events, such as swimming, track and field, boxing, basketball, diving, field hockey and equestrian sports, were hard hit. Whilst competitors from 36 countries became Olympic medalists, the great majority of the medals were taken by the host country and East Germany in what was the most skewed medal tally since 1904.

Countries boycotting the 1980 Games
  • Albania Albania
  • Antille Olandesi Netherlands Antilles
  • Arabia Saudita Saudi Arabia
  • Argentina Argentine
  • Bahamas bahamas
  • Bahrein Bahrain
  • Bangladesh Bangladesh
  • Barbados Barbados
  • Belize Belize
  • Bermuda Bermuda
  • Bolivia Bolivia
  • Canada Canada
  • Ciad Chad
  • Cile Chile
  • Cina China
  • Taipei Cinese Chinese Taipei
  • Corea del Sud South Korea
  • Costa d'Avorio Ivory Coast
  • Egitto Egypt
  • El Salvador El Salvador
  • Emirati Arabi Uniti United Arab Emirates
  • Figi Fiji
  • Filippine Philippines
  • Gabon Gabon
  • Gambia Gambia
  • bandiera West Germany
  • Ghana Ghana
  • Giappone Japan
  • Haiti Haiti
  • Honduras Honduras
  • IndonesiaIndonesia
  • Iran Iran
  • Isole Cayman Cayman Islands
  • Isole Vergini americane US Virgin Islands
  • Israele Israel
  • Kenya kenya
  • Liberia Liberia
  • Liechtenstein liechtenstein
  • Malawi malawi
  • Malaysia Malaysia
  • Marocco Morocco
  • Mauritius mauritius
  • Monaco Monk
  • Niger Niger
  • Norvegia Norway
  • Pakistan Pakistan
  • Panama Panama
  • Papua Nuova Guinea Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay Paraguay
  • Qatar Qatar
  • Rep. Centrafricana Central African Republic
  • Singapore Singapore
  • Somalia Somalia
  • Stati Uniti United States
  • Sudan Sudan
  • Suriname Suriname
  • Swaziland Swaziland
  • Thailandia Thailand
  • Togo togo
  • Tunisia tunisia
  • Turchia Turkey
  • Uruguay Uruguay
  • Zaire Zaire
80 nations then competed at the Moscow Games. At first it was 81 but Liberia abandoned the Olympics after marching during the opening ceremony. Six nations made their debut in this edition of the Olympic Games: Angola , Botswana , Jordan , Laos , Mozambique and the Seychelles . Three countries presented themselves for the first time with a new name: Sri Lanka (previously called Ceylon ), Benin (had participated in Munich in 1972 under the name of Dahomey ) and Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia ). Here is the list of participating nations.

Events, records and drug tests overview

There were 203 events – more than at any previous Olympics.

36 World records, 39 European records and 74 Olympic records were set at the games. In total, this was more records than were set at Montreal. New Olympic records were set 241 times over the course of the competitions and world records were beaten 97 times.

Though no athletes were caught doping at the 1980 Summer Olympics, it has been claimed that athletes had begun using testosterone and other drugs for which tests had not been yet developed. 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".

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. 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.

Media and broadcasting

Major broadcasters of the Games were USSR State TV and Radio (1,370 accreditation cards), Eurovision (31 countries, 818 cards) and Intervision (11 countries, 342 cards). TV Asahi with 68 cards provided coverage for Japan, while OTI representing Latin America received 59 cards and the Seven Network provided coverage for Australia (48 cards). NBC, which had intended to be another major broadcaster, canceled its coverage in response to the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, and became a minor broadcaster with 56 accreditation cards, although the network did air highlights and recaps of the games on a regular basis. (ABC aired scenes of the opening ceremony during its Nightline program, and promised highlights each night, but the next night, the show announced that they could not air any highlights as NBC still had exclusive broadcast rights in the USA). The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation almost canceled their plans for coverage after Canada took part in the boycott and was represented by nine cards. The television center used 20 television channels, compared to 16 for the Montreal Games, 12 for the Munich Games, and seven for the Mexico City Games.

During the opening ceremony, Salyut 6 crew Leonid Popov and Valery Ryumin sent their greetings to the Olympians and wished them happy starts in the live communication between the station and the Central Lenin Stadium. They appeared on the stadium's scoreboard and their voices were translated via loud speakers.

Spectators and commemoration

The Games attracted five million spectators, an increase of 1.5 million from the Montreal Games. There were 1,245 referees from 78 countries. A series of commemorative coins was released in the USSR in 1977–1980 to commemorate the event. It consisted of five platinum coins, six gold coins, 28 silver coins and six copper-nickel coins


According to the Official Report, submitted to the IOC by the NOC of the USSR, total expenditures for the preparations for and staging of the Games were US$1,350,000,000, total revenues being US$231,000,000.

The Oxford Olympics Study established the outturn cost of the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics at US$6.3 billion in 2015 dollars. This includes sports-related costs only, that is, (i) operational costs incurred by the organizing committee for the purpose of staging the Games, e.g., expenditures for technology, transportation, workforce, administration, security, catering, ceremonies, and medical services, and (ii) direct capital costs incurred by the host city and country or private investors to build, e.g., the competition venues, the Olympic village, international broadcast center, and media and press center, which are required to host the Games. Indirect capital costs are not included, such as for road, rail, or airport infrastructure, or for hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games. The cost for Moscow 1980 compares with costs of US$4.6 billion for Rio 2016, US$40-44 billion for Beijing 2008 and US$51 billion for Sochi 2014, the most expensive Olympics in history. Average cost for the Summer Games since 1960 is US$5.2 billion.

Closing ceremony

Because of the U.S. boycott, changes were made to the traditional elements of the closing ceremony that represent the handover to the host city of the next Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Among them, the flag of the city of Los Angeles instead of the United States flag was raised, and the Olympic Anthem instead of the national anthem of the United States was played. There was also no "Antwerp Ceremony", where the ceremonial Olympic flag was transferred from the Mayor of Moscow to the Mayor of Los Angeles; instead the flag was kept by the Moscow city authorities until 1984. Furthermore, there was no next host city presentation.

Both the opening and closing ceremonies were shown in Yuri Ozerov's 1981 film Oh, Sport – You Are the World! (Russian: О спорт, ты – мир!).

Misha, the mascot, formed in a mosaic at the moment when a tear runs down his face during the iconic scene part of the closing ceremony.


  • Central Lenin Stadium area
    • Grand Arena² – opening/closing ceremonies, athletics, football (final), equestrian (jumping individual)
    • Minor Arena² – volleyball
    • Swimming Pool² – water polo
    • Sports Palace² – gymnastics, judo
    • Druzhba Multipurpose Arena¹ – volleyball
    • Streets of Moscow – Athletics (20 & 50 km walk, marathon)
  • Olympiysky Sports Complex
    • Indoor Stadium¹ – basketball (final), boxing
    • Swimming Pool¹ – swimming, diving, modern pentathlon (swimming), water polo (final)
  • CSKA (Central Sports Club of the Army) Sports Complex
    • CSKA Athletics Fieldhouse, Central Sports Club of the Army¹ – wrestling
    • CSKA Football Fieldhouse, Central Sports Club of the Army¹ – fencing, modern pentathlon (fencing)
    • CSKA Palace of Sports¹ – basketball
  • Venues in metropolitan Moscow
    • Dynamo Central Stadium, Grand Arena² – football preliminaries
    • Dynamo Central Stadium, Minor Arena² – field hockey
    • Young Pioneers Stadium² – field hockey (final)
    • Dynamo Palace of Sports¹, Khimki-Khovrino – handball
    • Trade Unions' Equestrian Complex¹ – equestrian, modern pentathlon (riding, running)
    • Izmailovo Sports Palace¹ – weightlifting
    • Sokolniki Sports Palace² – handball (final)
    • Dynamo Shooting Range², Mytishchi – shooting, modern pentathlon (shooting)
  • Krylatskoye Sports Complex
    • Krylatskoye Sports Complex Canoeing and Rowing Basin², Krylatskoye – canoeing, rowing
    • Krylatskoye Sports Complex Velodrome¹, Krylatskoye – cycling (track)
    • Krylatskoye Sports Complex Cycling Circuit – cycling (individual road race)
    • Krylatskoye Sports Complex Archery Field¹, Krylatskoye – archery
  • Venues outside Moscow
    • Moscow-Minsk Highway – cycling (road team time trial)
    • Kirov Stadium², Leningrad, Russian SFSR – football preliminaries
    • Dinamo Stadium², Minsk, Byelorussian SSR – football preliminaries
    • Republican Stadium², Kiev, Ukrainian SSR – football preliminaries
    • Olympic Regatta in Tallinn¹, Tallinn, Soviet-occupied Estonia – sailing

¹ New facilities constructed in preparation for the Olympic Games.

² Existing facilities modified or refurbished in preparation for the Olympic Games.


The 1980 Summer Olympic programme featured 203 events in the following 21 sports:

  • Aquatics
    • Diving (4)
    • Swimming (26)
    • Water polo (1)
  • Archery (2)
  • Athletics (38)
  • Basketball (2)
  • Boxing (11)


  • Canoeing (11)
  • Cycling
    • Road (2)
    • Track (4)
  • Equestrian
    • Dressage (2)
    • Eventing (2)
    • Show jumping (2)


  • Fencing (8)
  • Football (1)
  • Gymnastics (14)
  • Handball (2)
  • Field hockey (2)
  • Judo (8)
  • Modern pentathlon (2)
  • Rowing (14)


  • Sailing (6)
  • Shooting (7)
  • Volleyball (2)
  • Weightlifting (10)
  • Wrestling
    • Freestyle (10)
    • Greco-Roman (10)

color Legend

  • opening ceremony
  • Competition day (no decisions)
  • Competition day (x decisions)
  • closing ceremony
discipline Sat.
July August
Olympic rings without rims.svg opening ceremony                                 66076
Basketball pictogram.svg basketball                       2         305667
Archery pictogram.svg archery                             2   18468
Boxing pictogram.svg boxing                             11   359287
Fencing pictogram.svg fencing         1 1 1 1 1 1 1   1       55959
Football pictogram.svg Soccer                             1   1821624
Weightlifting pictogram.svg weightlifting   1 1 1 1 1   1 1 1 1 1         73096
Handball pictogram.svg handball                     1 1         100493
Field hockey pictogram.svg hockey                     1   1       177880
Judo pictogram.svg judo                 2 1 1 1 1 1 1   125410
Canoeing (flatwater) pictogram.svg canoe                           6 5   137630
Athletics pictogram.svg athletics           3 3 5 4 5   5 3 10     1102706
Modern pentathlon pictogram.svg Modern pentathlon           2                     25399
cycling Cycling (track) pictogram.svg train       1   1   2                 22703
Cycling (road) pictogram.svg Street   1               1            
Equestrian Equestrian Dressage pictogram.svg dressage                         1 1     120689
Equestrian Jumping pictogram.svg Jump                     1         1
Equestrian Eventing pictogram.svg versatility                 2              
wrestling Wrestling Freestyle pictogram.svg freestyle                     3 3 4       105594
Wrestling pictogram.svg Greco-Roman.       3 3 4                    
Rowing pictogram.svg rowing               6 8th               119411
Shooting pictogram.svg shoot   1 1 1 1 1 1 1                 11004
Swimming sport Swimming pictogram.svg swim   2 4 3 4 4   4 5               89165
Water polo pictogram.svg water polo                     1          
Diving pictogram.svg diving     1   1     1   1            
Sailing pictogram.svg sailing                     6           2346
Gymnastics (artistic) pictogram.svg do gymnastics       1 1 2 10                   106700
Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg volleyball                     1     1     103377
Olympic rings without rims.svg closing ceremony                                 69652
    5 7 10 12 19 15 21 23 10 17 13 11 19 20 1  
July August

Medal count

This is a list of all nations that won medals at the 1980 Games.

  *   Host nation (Soviet Union)

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Soviet Union (URS)* 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) 6 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
11  Sweden (SWE) 3 3 6 12
12  Finland (FIN) 3 1 4 8
13  Czechoslovakia (TCH) 2 3 9 14
14  Yugoslavia (YUG) 2 3 4 9
15  Australia (AUS) 2 2 5 9
16  Denmark (DEN) 2 1 2 5
17  Brazil (BRA) 2 0 2 4
 Ethiopia (ETH) 2 0 2 4
19  Switzerland (SUI) 2 0 0 2
20  Spain (ESP) 1 3 2 6
21  Austria (AUT) 1 2 1 4
22  Greece (GRE) 1 0 2 3
23  Belgium (BEL) 1 0 0 1
 India (IND) 1 0 0 1
 Zimbabwe (ZIM) 1 0 0 1
26  North Korea (PRK) 0 3 2 5
27  Mongolia (MGL) 0 2 2 4
28  Tanzania (TAN) 0 2 0 2
29  Mexico (MEX) 0 1 3 4
30  Netherlands (NED) 0 1 2 3
31  Ireland (IRL) 0 1 1 2
32  Uganda (UGA) 0 1 0 1
 Venezuela (VEN) 0 1 0 1
34  Jamaica (JAM) 0 0 3 3
35  Guyana (GUY) 0 0 1 1
 Lebanon (LIB) 0 0 1 1
Totals (36 nations) 204 204 223 631


  • The US boycott favored many other states, first of all the historic rival: the USSR host nation won the beauty of no less than 195 medals, achieving first place in the medal count and followed by East Germany with 126 medals. Italy clearly improved its position by quadrupling the gold obtained in the previous edition and going from 14th to 5th in the medal table, the best performance of a western bloc country.
  • 21% of the competitors were female, the highest percentage compared to the other 22 previous Olympics, which had not suffered (excluding Montreal ) from the boycott of so many states.
  • In this Olympics 203 events took place.
  • 36 world records, 39 European records and 74 Olympic records were stable, some of which are still unbeaten.
  • Prince Alexandre de Merode of Belgium, president of the IOC Medical Commission, said: There were 9,292 drug tests. No one was positive .
  • The impact of the boycott with sporting events was different from sport to sport. Some events, such as field hockey and equestrian sports, were hit hard. Others, such as boxing, judo, rowing, swimming, athletics and weightlifting had many more participants than the previous Olympics, although many medals lost some of their value.
  • Eight nations appeared for the first time at an Olympiad: Angola , Botswana , Laos , Nicaragua , Seychelles , Mozambique and Cyprus . The Zimbabwe made its first appearance under this name, but he had already competed as Rhodesia .
  • The main broadcasters of the Games were Gosteleradio for the Soviet Union (1370 accreditation cards), Eurovision (31 countries, 818 accreditations) and Intervision (11 countries, 342 accreditations). Asahi TV had 68 credits of which the cover for Japan, while the Organización Iberoamericana de Televisión representing the Spanish-speaking world had 59.
  • The television center used 20 TV channels, compared to 16 for the Montreal Games, 12 for the Munich games , and 7 for the Mexico City games .
  • According to the official report, presented to the IOC by the CNO of the Soviet Union , the total expenses for the preparation and staging of the Games were 862.7 million rubles , total revenues 744.8 million rubles.
  • A series of coins were commemorated in the Soviet Union between 1977 and 1980 to commemorate the event. The collection consisted of five platinum coins, six gold coins, 28 silver coins and six bronze coins.
  • The Games attracted 5 million spectators, an increase of 1.5 million compared to the previous edition of the Games.
  • At this edition, 1,245 referees from 78 countries took part.
  • During the opening ceremony a funny misunderstanding occurred during the entry of the Italian team : since it came under the aegis of the IOC, the acronym of the Italian National Olympic Committee appeared in the placard, that is CONI in Cyrillic characters. This word in Russian means horse, and this aroused the hilarity of the Soviet public when the Azzurri paraded.
  • During the closing ceremony, it was hoisted to symbolize the next host city of the Olympic Games, the flag of the city of Los Angeles, and not the flag of the United States: the flag was then delivered by the Russian authorities to the President of the IOC, and not to the mayor of Los Angeles. This was the only clear reference to the boycott throughout the duration of the Olympics.
  • Both the opening and closing ceremonies are shown in Yuri Ozerov 's 1981 film O sport, ty - mir! ( О спорт, ты - мир! ).


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