I have just finished a book by Lisa Forrest called Boycott which tells of Australia’s controversial road to the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Certainly it was worth the read. I had only a vague idea of the politics behind the boycott but this book gives the background and the political manoeuvring that went on behind the scenes.
From the book jacket:
In 1980, in response to the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan, the Fraser government asked the Australian Olympic Federation to Boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. The AOF refused. By the time the Austalian team marched in to the Opening Ceremony, the controversy had split Australia in two. The Olympic team had defied pressure from the highest levels – as well as unprecedented public criticism – and Australian sport would never be the same.
The tragedy of it all was the psychological damage the whole affair had on many of the possible participants in the Games. When you consider that Lisa herself was only sixteen years of age and was captain of the swimming team, having to cope with the assault by the public and the media must have had such an impact on her. Tracey Wickham was one of the main victims of the boycott and Michelle Ford was never really given the recognition for the gold medal she won.
I really can’t do justice to describing the book but you will have to read it if you are at all interested in the Australian Olympic Federation and the Olympic Games. The book also gives good background history on leading Australian officials in the Olympic movement.
Australia, other than Greece, is the only country to have participated in all the games of the modern Olympiad.