Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1980 Olympic Boycott

Three Villanova runners were to compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Eamonn Coghlan ran the 5000 meters in that Olympiad, finishing fourth. The two Americans -- Dick Buerkle and Don Paige -- stayed home with the rest of Team USA as President Jimmy Carter issued a boycott of the Games in response to the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But Carter did throw a bone to the 1980 American team: he invited them to a picnic on the White House lawn. Below are two photos from that White House event: Dick Buerkle and his wife and baby in the first, and Don Paige and his parents in the second. Interestingly, Don Paige finished that 1980 olympic year ranked #1 in the world at 800 meters (the Brit Sebestain Coe lost an 800 race only 4 times between 1978 and 1984, but he lost two of those four in 1980: to Steve Ovett in the Moscow final and to Don Paige in Viareggio, Italy. Controversially, Track & Field News ranked Don Paige #1 that year, ahead of Ovett and Coe).

1 comment: