Shattered Hopes

Shattered Hopes: Canada's Boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games
March 2012

On December 27, 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, a distant land unknown to most Canadians. Knowledge would come quickly over the coming months, particularly to the dozens of Canadian athletes who were entering the final stages of training for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. The invasion set off a chain of events that dominated the headlines of the day. A crucial fall-out was the American-led boycott of the Games, which Canada eventually joined, forcing 212 Canadian athletes to shelve their Olympic dreams, some temporarily, many more permanently. Shattered Hopes is an oral history of key players, including eight decision makers, five national team coaches, two senior administrators, two personnel from the Canadian team, and 27 of Canada's athletes. For many, memories of the boycott are painfully clear; for others, the details have faded, but anger and disappointment remain. For all, there is sadness at a missed opportunity to excel on the Olympic stage and disappointment that their sacrifice was but a token response and remains largely unacknowledged.