Saturday, April 13, 2013

The 1980 Summer Olympics 1.11.1979

The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott of the Moscow Olympics was a part of a package of actions initiated by the United States to protest the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. It preceded the 1984 Summer Olympics boycott carried out by the Soviet Union and other Communist-friendly countries.
The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spurred Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on January 20, 1980 that the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month.
At the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletes from a number of countries, including Australia, Andorra, Belgium, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal,Puerto Rico, San Marino, Spain, and Switzerland, marched under the Olympic Flag, instead of their national flags, a fact that the Soviet TV coverage alternately ignored. Moreover, although the government of New Zealand officially supported the boycott, four athletes from that country competed independently and marched under their NOC's flag. Altogether, the athletes of 16 countries were not represented by their national flags, and the Olympic Anthem replaced their national anthems at medal ceremonies. As a result, there were a few ceremonies where three Olympic Flags were raised.
These two covers are pre release and re-release covers with one of the stamps issued in 1979. It was rumoured that the stamps were withdrawn after the boycott of the games. This however, is strongly debated. The 1979 cover has a Colorano “silk”Cachet.
The 1980 cover was postmarked well after the boycott came into force, and honours Jesse Owens and the 1980 US Olympic Team that never participated. James Cleveland "JesseOwens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team. He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
The Jesse Owens Award, USA Track and Field's highest accolade for the year's best track and field athlete, is named after him, in honor of his significant career.
Thank you Hemant for these two covers.

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