In 1977, the mayor of Moscow proclaimed his nation's pride in the International Olympic Committee's decision to have the Soviet Union host the 1980 Games. Vladimir Promoslov said, "It is a welcome recognition of the Soviet Union's notable contributions to the promotion of peace and international friendship."
Last week, the Soviets made their latest "contribution," as Soviet tanks, attended by a committee of 50,000, paid a call on the folks in bordering Afghanistan.
But President Carter said in a speech Friday night that it was not the act of a good neighbor, an angel of peace. He said it was an outright armed invasion by the Soviets and contemptible, and the U.S. was taking a very serious view of it.He would crack down on the Soviets in many ways, and one possibility was that the U.S. would pull out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and ask other nations to do the same.
And that's what the United States should do: pull out of the Olympics. It would be no great cause for heartbreak. The games aren't as important as self-perpetuating Olympic officials think.
The Olympics have long been over-rated as a festival of international harmony that would make the whole world just peachy in future years. The Games have bred more ill will than good will. Their image of friendly strife is a hoax and the amateurism of the athletes, particularly in the Soviet bloc, a complete sham.
Olga Korbut was bankrolled by the Soviet Army. Their supper weight-lifter, Vassily Alexyev, used to get $1,500 from the minister of finance for every record he broke, and one night he broke eight.
The 1936 Berlin Olympics were used by Hilter as a showpiece to glorify the Nazi party, with displays that exceeded all previous pageantry. He had already invaded the Rhineland, was meddling in Spain and had Austria and Czechoslovakia in mind. The Olympics were supposed to give him some kind of international dignity.
And now 44 years later, the Games are being given over to another totalitarian tyranny, which already has begun to get its dissenters off the Moscow streets and into hiding, while trying to showcase itself as a worthy member of the family of nations.
They should have called off the 1972 Olympics at Munich after masked Arab terrorists climbed the fences at dawn, snuck into the Israeli compound with Soviet made guns, and murdered 11 Israeli athletes. But at a memorial service the next day in the huge Olympic stadium, the late Avery Brundage brushed off the shocking massacre of Israelis with a mere 28 words in a long speech that in the main defended his position on the attempt to oust Rhodesia from the Games. The Olympics must go on, after a one-day haitus, he ruled in the best tradition of obsessed Olympic chiefs.
On the last day of those Olympics the Soviets won the basketball gold medal by browbeating timid officials into putting two more seconds onto the game clock after the United States team walked off the winner in regulation time.
They went on and the Games finished in an armed camp atmosphere. Four years later at Montreal security was so heavy it seemed a war was about to begin, rather than another Olympics.
Are the Games, held in that climate, and now a certain attraction for terrorists, worth it? No. The security in Moscow can be conjectured. One armed soldier for every visa issued.
President Carter said in his speech that Premier Brezhnev told him falsely that those Soviet troops in Afghanistan were there by that country's request. In other words, Brezhnev lied to Carter. People who lie also cheat, and that's what the Soviets did in the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
Boris Onishchenko is an Honored Master of Sport in the Soviet Union. He won medals in two previous Olympics as a fencer. In Montreal, he cheated. He rigged his epee, which electrically records hits so that it would register hits even when there was no contact. When a Swedish opponent complained, officials agreed that Onishchenko had doctored his epee. They booted him out of the Games.
As for the American athletes, all the good counsel that parents give them about keeping good company, is jeopardized in the Olympic Games when the Soviets are present.
They tried to fix the Olympic springboard diving event at Montreal, according to Tom Goff, U.S. diving team manager.
Goff reported that the Soviets came to him with a deal. They wanted support for their woman diver, Irina Kalinina, in the judging of her event, and in return they would have the Soviet judges vote for Phil Boggs in the men's diving. "The Russian judges can be the biggest cheaters in the world," Goff said.
The Soviets are asking that the International Olympic Committee ban reporters representing organizations "hostile to the spirit of peace and friendship," from coming to the Moscow Games. Among those they have in mind are correspondents for Voice of America and Radio Liberty but by the same premise, the Soviets could bar their own correspondents.
To hold the 1980 Games in Moscow would be an honor for the Soviets. To have the United States team there and competing would be a dishonor to America.
President Carter had an opportunity, when he spoke of possible U.S. withdrawal from the Olympics to fire another shot to be heard 'round the world. He could have said, finally and positively, that America had scorn for Olympics in Moscow, for reasons well known.