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Athens 2004

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At the turn of the decade the Cold War turned chillier and the future of the Olympics became increasingly problematic.

After U.S. President Jimmy Carter led a western boycott in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous year, the Moscow events, particularly on the track, were devalued.

Britain's outstanding middle-distance duo Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett won gold medals in ostensibly their weaker events with Coe triumphing in the 1,500 after running a tactically naive 800 to finish behind his compatriot.

Ethiopian Miruts Yifter, 35 years old according to the record books although he was believed to be even older, won the 5,000-10,000 double and East German Waldermar Cierpinski successfully defended his marathon title.

Cuban heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson, acclaimed as a fighter with the potential to challenge Muhammad Ali if he were tempted to leave the amateur arena, became the first boxer to win three titles in a row in the same division.

At the end of the Games the future of the Olympic movement was shrouded in doubt with the financial chaos of the Montreal Games now succeeded by the political impasse between the two superpowers.



** The 1980 Olympic Games at Moscow was boycotted by the non-communist countries led by the United States, when the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Interestingly, no boycott was imposed on trade or any other economic activities.

** Soviet Union gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin won the greatest number of medals - eight - by any athlete at any sport at one Olympics Games in 1980.

** Soviet Union gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin during the 1980 Games became the first male to be awarded a "10.00" during the 1980 horse vault.

** Soviet Union gymnast Nikolay Andrianov took his medal tally to a record 15 in three Games during the 1980 Games.

** In the triple jump event in the 1980 Games Soviet Union's Viktor Saneyev ended his remarkable career with a silver to add to his three gold medals he won in 1968, 1972 and 1976.

** The East German girls during the 1980 Games won 26 of the available 35 medals.

** Zimbabwe competing in the Olympics for the first time in the 1980 Games were the first winners of the women's field hockey event.

** India won the men's hockey event after a gap of 16 years in the 1980 Games. It was its eighth gold medal.
** Soviet Union's Vladimir Parfenovich in 1980 was the first canoeist to win three gold medals in the same Games.

** Cuban Teofilo Stevenson who won the 1980 heavyweight gold medal became the first boxer to win three golds in the same event in three Games.

** In the 1980 rowing event, the East German twins Jorg and Bernd Landvoigt retained their coxless pairs title by defeating another pair of twins from Soviet Union - Yuriy and Nikolay Pimenov.

** In the 1980 Games, Soviet Union's Anatoly and Sergey Beloglasov - both twins - won the 52kg and 57kg freestyle events respectively in wrestling.

** North Korea's female gymnast Myong Hui Choe in 1980 became the smallest competitor in Olympic history at 1.35m (4ft 4 in). She also weighed just 25 kg.


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