In 1980, Raelene Boyle withdrew from the Australian Olympic team for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Many countries and some individual athletes around the world decided to join the US led boycott of the Games, as a protest against the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
First published in The Age on May 27, 1980
‘Crushed’ Raelene Boyle pulls out of Olympics
Raelene Boyle yesterday pulled out of the Australian Olympic team to Moscow.
The champion sprinter, a triple Silver medallist, said part of her had been “slowly crushed and stamped into the ground” and she had been emotionally destroyed by confusion.
Raelene Boyle celebrates victory in the 400m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.Credit: Vic Sumner
Her letter to the Australian Olympic Federation did not spell out whether the confusion was linked to the Federal Government’s pressure on athletes to boycott the Games.
The Australian Volleyball Federation yesterday joined the equestrian and women’s hockey teams in withdrawing from the Games. The yachting federation will make its decision today.
Two AOF executives have also withdrawn, and the body controlling athletes has been asked to consider a boycott.
Tasmania’s delegate to the AOF, Mr Eric McRae, yesterday announced his resignation from the Moscow team.
“I don’t believe the Games should be held in a country at war and an invading nation,” he said.
The general manager of the 1976 Olympic team, Mr Jack Howson, previously quit the team.
The president of the national athletic body, Mr Allan McDonald, said athletes should not go to Moscow. He has asked the executive of the Amateur Athletic Union of Australia and affiliated State associations to consider a boycott.
Australian Athletes sit in Lenin Stadium in Moscow watching the opening of the XXII Games.Credit: AP
“The public backlash to the AOF decision on Friday has been very strong and there may be a change of heart,” Mr McDonald said.
He said his personal stand since January had been one of heeding the Government decision and not participating in Moscow.
Two Federal Ministers continued the Government’s pressure on athletes by urging athletes to boycott the Games and avoid being seen as a pawn of Moscow.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. Lynch, said athletes who went to the Games would be seen as siding with the Soviet Union in its conflict with the West and as pawns in Moscow’s “game” of trying to humiliate the United States and its allies. “There is still time for our athletes to do the right thing,” Mr. Lynch said. “The world is watching them.”
The Minister’s comments are firmer than those expressed by the Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, on Sunday night when he urged all Australians to consider the national interest. Mr Lynch said it was time for conscience and realism. He said the Moscow Games were a charade.
“Surely Australia’s best sportsmen do not want to be part of this phony Olympics,” he said.
The Minister for Health, Mr Hunt, said it was outrageous that the federation was sending a team. The president of the AOF, Mr Syd Grange, rejected Mr Fraser’s suggestion that the Games decision could be reversed. It was possible that many athletes would not go, but that was their decision.
The general manager of the Olympic team, Mr Phil Coles, said he had had a “gutful” of the controversy. It had reached the stage where he did not care whether Australia was represented.
The ACTU president, Mr. Hawke, said Mr. Fraser should accept the umpire’s decision. The Opposition Leader, Mr Hayden, said the Prime Minister’s conduct was disgraceful. The NSW Premier, Mr. Wran, will help finance athletes going to the Games, but the Queensland Premier, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, has changed his mind.
He had earlier supported an Australian team, but he now believed the AOF had put itself against the well-being of Australia.
The New Zealand men’s hockey team – Gold Medal winner at the last Olympics – will not compete in Moscow.
The team’s management committee resolved last night that the standard of competition had altered considerably and the team should not attend.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article